Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quick Tour: The Churches of Naga

Aside from the CWC Watersports Complex and the food, what struck me most about Naga is its churches. A quick search at Wikipedia yields the nugget that the city is the religious center of the Bicol Region, known for its fiery cuisine and the people's religious devotion, the area having the most number of followers of Roman Catholicism as well as of seminarians and nuns. Naga City is home to the largest Marian pilgrimage in Asia, that of the Our Lady of Penafrancia, gathering more than 5 million devotees a year. On the map Bicol is located at the southernmost tip of the major island of Luzon, and Naga is at its center. 

A quick tour is all you need to see the churches of the city. The Naga City Church, also known as the Nuestra Senora de (Our Lady of) Penafrancia Shrine, was formerly home of the image of the our Lady of Penafrancia before the construction of the Penafranacia Basilica. 

In its premises one can also see the monument of Padre Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, the first diocesan priest of Naga, who attributes his recovery from a serious illness while still a young man to his devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia. It was he who commissioned the sculpting of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia.

Our Lady of Penafrancia Shrine is my favorite because of the pastel ceiling murals.

Our next stop was the Basilica Minore de Penafrancia, where the image of Our Lady is enshrined.

Our last stop was the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, aka Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, done in Spanish-Romanesque style. Construction of the church began in 1575.

In the church's premises is the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, the oldest Christian higher educational institute in the Philippines, having been established in the early 18th Century. 

It was declared as a National Historical Landmark on January 29, 1988.

That's it. Until the next post.

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