Mixing Tourism and Piety, Here Are 7 Must Visit Churches In Naga City
Choose Philippines | October 10, 2019
Story and photos by Mae Pulvinar
Filipinos are undeniably religious. In fact, one of the many traditions in the Philippines is to visit 7 churches during Lenten Season, particularly during the Holy Week, in a single day – a sacred vow of the laity also known as the Visita Iglesia. Most Catholics believe that by doing so, their fondest wishes will be granted.
Naga City has one of the most numbers of churches in the Bicol region. Just within the city, Filipino Catholics may accomplish the Visita Iglesia in less than a half-day. In fact, Naga is also the destination of the largest Marian pilgrimage, an annual celebration in honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia
1. Naga Metropolitan Cathedral
Located in Jacob, Naga City, the Parish of Saint John the Evangelist, also known as the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Caceres. The cathedral is one of the most used venues for significant events and the main venue for liturgical celebrations in the Archdiocese. Founded in 1595, the interior and exterior design of the church is undeniably jaw-dropping. Its high-arch entrance is really a good area to photograph while the black facade and smooth curvature of the church add to its appeal.
2. Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine
The Peñafrancia Shrine was the former home of the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia before it was transferred to the Basilica Minore to accommodate the sheer number of devotees visiting the image. Today, the shrine is the starting point of the Traslacion Procession of the Peñafrancia Festival.
Tracing back the history of the Shrine, it was Reverend Miguel Robles de Covarrubias who brought the devotion to Ina from his native Spain to the Philippines. Most Reverend Teopisto Alberto, DD decreed the erection of the parish on October 1973. As a nod to the origins of the devotion to Ina, the patio of the church was named Plaza de Covarrubias. The architecture of the building is also reminiscent of period housing during the Spanish period, with the combination of light and dark brown hues adding to the serenity of the place.
[related: In Naga City, A Whole Food Vegan Mecca]
3. Basilica Minore
Basilica Minore is also known as the Peñafrancia Minore Basilica. It was originally dedicated as The Church of Nuestra Señora de Peña Francia. In 1985, upon the request of Archbishop of Caceres Leonardo Legaspi, OP, DD, the church was given the title of 'Basilica Minore.’ It enjoys the distinction of being the only Basilica in the Bicol region as well as being the home of the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. Visitors may rest in the wide grassy area in front of the church while enjoying the fresh view of the Basilica Minore's facade and its massive stained glass windows, making it one of the most peaceful places to be in.
4. San Francisco Parish
Right at heart of the central business district of Naga City, the San Francisco Parish is considered as one of the oldest churches in the Bicol region. Built in 1578, it is said that first Franciscan missionaries established the Convento de San Francisco as a staging point for missionaries in the Bicol region. Aside from its heavily-built exterior design and ash gray color that speaks its age, the belfry of the church is worth checking out. Its gate can be seen on its side instead of the usual location in the center.
5. Saint Jude Thaddeus Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish
Upon the recommendation of Rev. Msgr. Juan Alarcon, Saint Jude Thaddeus was canonically erected on June 1997. This church is located along Almeda Highway, in Concepcion Grande Village, Naga City. Recognized for its minimalist, graceful interiors surrounded by lush trees, this is a must-visit church for its peaceful ambiance!
6. Holy Cross Parish
Canonically erected in 1985, this church located just along Biak na Bato Street, Barangay Tabuco, Naga City, does not seem like a Catholic place of worship at first glance, owing to its unusual design. The patron of the parish is the Holy Cross. However, it also celebrates the feast of the Black Nazarene, beginning 1995 through the efforts of the late Mr. Olimpio Colambo of the Hijos de Nazarenos Association and Atty. Nestor Barbosa. Through this initiative, an image of Black Nazarene from Bula, Camarines Sur is brought to the parish annually at least three days before the feast day. Healing priests also hold masses in this church during feast of the Nazarene.
7. Immaculate Concepcion Parish
Located along Concepcion Pequeña in Naga City, this blue and white parish church was built in December 1964. It was Most Rev. Teopisto Alberto, DD, the Archbishop of Caceres who issued the decree of erection officially establishing the parish. The church is the seat of celebrations in Naga during the feast of the Niño Jesus or the Child Jesus. Currently under renovations, regularly scheduled daily masses still continue to serve the needs of its parishioners.