November 21, 2008

Boac church spire

When the Spaniards colonized the Philippine islands in the early 15th century, they did so with the sword and the cross. Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism, spread quickly across the Luzon and Visayas regions (Mindanao remained a Muslim stronghold even up to the time of the American invasion in the late 1800s). The Spaniards ruled the archipelago for the next 400 years. It is therefore not uncommon to see old colonial churches in most of Philippines 7100+ islands.

It was overcast that day when we went around Marinduque to see the sights including the old churches in several towns. From Gasan in the western side, we rode a rented jeep down south to Buenavista. Buenavista's parish church is relatively new (town was founded in 1954) so we decided to skip it.

From Buenavista, we traversed Mt. Malindig going to Torrijos in the south eastern side. I was already getting drowsy and the cool mountain breeze and the overcast weather were not helping at all. Soon we found ourselves in the sleepy town of Torrijos and went straight to the parish church. The town of Torrijos was founded in 1880s but I cannot find any reference as to when the church was built. However, from the church's architecture one could surmissed that its relatively new.

St Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church in Torrijos

After taking a couple of shots of the church's facade, we made a detour to Poctoy White Beach and had a quick look around. The long stretch of fine coral sand was a totally different view from what we saw in Gasan. From beach one has a great view of Mt. Malindig (cloud covered that day).

Poctoy White Beach

After the quick tour, we drove further up north to Sta. Cruz. We had a hearty lunch at the public market before going to Sta. Cruz church. It started to drizzle when we got there.

The town of Sta. Cruz was founded in 1609 but it was not until 1714 when the Sta. Cruz church ( titular: Holy Cross) was erected. Much of the tower and the facade remained intact but the church had undergone numerous renovations over the years.

Sta Cruz church facade

The church's altar is typical of colonial churches: adorned with statues of the saints and intricately designed. Renovations/repairs were being done of the altar area when we were there. It was difficult to take photos of the church interior due to successive funeral masses.

alley at the side of the church

We had better luck with the weather when we visited Boac the next day. The sky was blue and the cloud cover minimal. Boac, founded in 1580, is the oldest town in Marinduque.

The Boac church, built in 1756 in honor of the Blessed Virgin of Biglang Awa (Immediate Succor), is situated on top of a small hill. The church has retained much of its Fil-Hispanic gothic architecture. The interiors of the church: the floor designs and the elaborate altar were beautifully preserved. The stained glass windows were a newer renovation aimed at enhancing the granduer of the church.

Boac church (Immaculate Conception Cathedral)

The church was much bigger and the aisle much longer than that of the Sta. Cruz church. I was about to take some shots of the interior when a funeral procession started pouring in. I had to gather my gears and quickly head out as the crowd began to swell.

restored Boac church facade

There are other old churches in Marinduque like the ones in Gasan and Mogpog. But our limited time there dictated we will have to visit those in another time.

This is my first entry to That's My World Meme - a site where we can show the world around us.
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