The Pilgrim Churches of Batangas
“Pagiging Maka-Diyos” (being a religious) is one of the best characterics of a Batangueño. Such trait is manifested through the various churches that can be found throughout the province. Indeed, Batangas is a pilgrim’s abode. Worth visiting are the centuries old colonial churches, each one marvelously awe-inspiring.
Here in Batangas we have Lipa City dubbed as the “Little Rome of the Philippines”. It was called as such because it is a home to a plentiful number of churches and religious congregations. It is also the Seat of the Archdiocese which recently celebrated its centennial anniversary.
For those who want to know about these various churches, here is the list of some of the most visited and declared Pilgrim churches found in our very own province of Batangas:
1. Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian, Lipa City
The seat of the Archdiocese of Lipa was then administered by the Augustinians beginning April 30, 1605 (and until the end of the 19th century) under the name “Convent of San Sebastian in Comintang”. The first church building was made of light materials. The present building of “serious architecture, proven solidity and great proportions” began its construction in 1779 during the term of Fray Ignacio Pallares, OSA. The church was totally completed from 1865 to 1894 during the administration of Fray Benito Varas.
2. Carmel of Our Lady Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, Lipa City
In the heart of Lipa City Batangas, lies a church that has earned a place not only in the hearts of the Batangueños but to all Filipinos’ hearts as well. This convent of the contemplative order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was the site of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a visionary nun and the site of the inexplicable “Shower of rose petals” in 1948.
3. Minor Basilica of San Martin de Tours (Taal Basilica)
Truly one of the main cultural and religious treasures of the Batangas province, it is reputed as the biggest church in th Orient, constructed in 1858 and completed in 1865. The church boasts of its theatrically baroque facade, altar’s silver trappings, and intrinsic design features.
4. Santa Lucia Well
A bas relief marker is the site of the miraculous spring well of Caysasay. It is said to be the place where Our Lady performs her miracles and where her statue is usually found whenever it disappears.
5. Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine, Taal Batangas
One of the main features of the Taal Heritage Tour is the visit to Our Lady of Caysasay, the amiable and miraculous quadricentennial image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Juan Maningcad, a fisherman, found the statuette in 1603 in the Pansipit River.
6. Inmaculada Concepcion Parish, Balayan Batangas
A National Cultural Treasure, Balayan Church is one of the few examples of churches built under direction of the “indio (Filipino) clergy” in 1753. The interior has not changed much since the 1870s when a print showing the church interior was made, despite several superficial additions. The National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) declared this church as a National Heritage Site.
7. San Juan Nepomuceno Church, San Juan Batangas
The stone church, built in honor of the Patron San Juan Nepomuceno, began its construction in 1894 during the administration of the Augustinian Recollect Priest, Fray Celestino Yoldi . It was the chosen venue of local celebrities Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos for their wedding early morning of April 28, 2009.
8. San Rafael Arcangel Parish Church, Calaca Batangas
This centuries old church, built in honor of St. Raphael the Archangel, is mostly intact and unspoilt by “renovations, improvements, and restorations”. Truly it is a national heritage site and a cultural treasure of Batangas.
9. Immaculate Conception Minor Basilica, Batangas City
The Baroque-styled basilica was erected in 1857 under the administration of Fr. Pedro Cuesta. It was declared a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII on February 13, 1945, the first basilica to be vested that honor and privilege in the Philippines and in the entire Far East. The basilica houses the original Sto. Niño ng Batangan, a miraculous statue of the Infant Jesus.
10. The Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Joseph the Patriarch, San Jose, Batangas
This church was built by the Augustinian friar Fr. Manuel Blanco in 1812. It has a large one-aisle interior and is remarkable for its restored main altar, geometrical decorations and flowery capitals on the columns. The church is a paragon of Baroque architecture in the Philippines, and combines this with the neo-classical lines of an adjacent convent. The pulpit and canopy is study in intricate carvings of local flora.
11. San Juan Evangelista Parish, Tanauan City, Batangas
This church was built in 1881 along the Romanesque lines of churches in Europe, but local builders have incorporated neo-classic lines especially along the external sides of the church. Rounded arches tapering down to the strong pillars harmonized with uncluttered lines of the central ceilings. The church is remarkable for its wide open central nave and circular niches.
12. Immaculate Conception Parish of Bauan, Batangas
First constructed in 1700, it was built around neo-classical lines and its walls are broken by Gothic lancet windows. The altar has a tri-centered arch with the niche containing the statue of the Virgin Mary. The facade of the church features both geometric and circular forms. It has a bell tower which is hexagonal, and rests in a base decorated with coupled columns, topped by a campanile. The church is arcade with capiz shell windows on the upper level. It is home to the old devotion to the Mahal na Poong Santa Cruz.
Let WOWBatangas Tours help you to participate in this one of a kind religious and spiritual privilege!
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