Thursday, May 10, 2007


Naga City is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines in the same league as Cebu, Manila and Vigan. Several fine churches dot its landscape, the most famous of which is of course the Shrine of the Nuestra Senora de Pena de Francia. A walk away is the ruins of the San Francisco Church which is acknowledged to be the oldest church in the Bicol region. It once served as a quarter for Franciscan priests and was the surrender site of the last Spanish governor to serve the province of Ambos Camarines. The church was completely destroyed in 1915 and was not rebuilt until 1957. It has just undergone a major restoration work and only the base of the bell tower remained of the old structure.

Also within walking distance is the Cathedral of San Juan Evangelista whose first structure was built when the Diocese of Nueva Caceres was established in 1595. This was razed by fire in 1768 and probably replaced by a makeshift church. A bigger and stronger structure was built until 1843 under the supervisions of Bishop Bernardo de la Concepcion and Msgr. Tomas Ladron de Guevara. It was repaired from 1862 until 1879 during the term of Fr. Francisco Gainza after it was damaged by a typhoon, and again in 1890 under the supervisions of Bishop Arsenio Campo and an Engineer Ricardo after it was damaged by an earthquake. The cathedral has just undergone a general restoration work. Beside it is the imposing Seminary of Nueva Caceres that was founded in 1797 by Bishop Domingo Collantes. It is the only remaining Spanish era seminary building in the Philippines. Across the street is the Colegio de Santa Isabel that was established by Bishop Francisco Gainza in 1870 as the first normal school for girls in the Philippines.

After this visita iglesia, a refreshing serving of kinalas is a most welcome refreshment. This noodle dish is similar with the everyday mami except for a topping of what looked like a Pansit Palabok sauce, and the meaty dark soup made from boiling a cow or a pig’s head until the flesh fell off. Hence, the name kinalas. Then off to another visita iglesia of quaint small towns along the Metro Naga loop starting with Milaor.

CHURCH OF NUESTRA SENORA DELA ASUNCION (CANAMAN, CAMARINES SUR). The Franciscans established the mission of Canaman in 1599. The church is probably the last of a series of churches built in the town during the Spanish era.

CHURCH OF SANTA ANA (MAGARAO, CAMARINES SUR). Magarao was a visita of Canaman until 1750. The first parish church was destroyed during the earthquake of 1811. A makeshift church was built that lasted until 1826 when the present church was started to be constructed. This was finished in 1849. Repairs were initiated by Fr. Vicente Rojo (OFM) and Fr. Higinio del Alamo (OFM) after the church was damaged during the 1877 earthquake.

CHURCH OF SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA (CAMALIGAN, CAMARINES SUR). The Franciscans established the mission of Camaligan in 1795. The church was probably built in the 19th century.

CHURCH OF NUESTRA SENORA DEL ROSARIO (BOMBON, CAMARINES SUR). The Franciscans established the mission of Bombon in 1804. The church which features a bell tower leaning to one side was probably built afterwards.

CHURCH OF THE LA IMACULADA CONCEPTION (CALABANGA, CAMARINES SUR). The Franciscans established Calabanga in 1578 as a visita of Quipayo until 1749. When it was established as an independent parish, the first church was built and was damaged during the 1811 earthquake. Another church was built in 1849 and was also probably destroyed. The present church was built from 1874 until 1897.


Efren Abarientos said...

That's a pic of the old Ambos Camarines (Now Camarines Sur and Norte) and of Nueva Caceres (Now Naga City).

Efren Abarientos said...

Here are some old pictures from Ambos Camarines and Nueva Caceres. :D