Oldest Church of Mindanao Set to Evangelize Again
Choose Philippines | July 15, 2020
Story by Berchan Louie Angchay
Photos by Provincial Government of Davao Oriental
The oldest church of Mindanao has a newly clothed façade in white. Its windows and door, dated back to the 1980s, have regained its vibrancy. Inside, the walls, ceiling, and the altar get a new life in white and gold. These were a few things that the Catholic devotees of Caraga, Davao Oriental should expect as San Salvador del Mundo Parish unmasks its beauty after two years of renovation. On the 16th of July, the historied church will mark its 137th Parochial Fiesta. Its door will be open once again for the faithful and continue its mission of evangelization.
Limestone blocks, corals, and wood comprise the historic church. It has been standing for about 137 years since its construction in 1883 by the Jesuits, serving as a beacon of the Catholic faith in the region for countless devout Filipinos. San Salvador del Mundo Parish was declared National Historical Site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in July 2012.
In December 2012, when typhoon Pablo severely hit the province of Davao Oriental, thousands of lives were claimed and countless livestock was damaged. Transportation and communication were down. Fortunately, the church stood its ground in the midst of trees banging, winds howling, and more. In a time of calamity, it served as a symbol of resilience, that strong faith can weather any storm that would come to pass. Given the current situation today, it seems as if Divine Providence is once again making its timely presence felt with the reopening of the church. “People look forward to the day when they can again come and pray inside the church and continue the rich tradition that their forefathers have practiced for long, long years,” said Most Rev. Bishop Abel Apigo of the Diocese of Mati.