1 October 2011. Laguna.
When the Senior Citizens Association at my subdivision announced that it will be organizing a Bisita Iglesia on the 1st day of October, visiting six of the oldest Catholic churches in Laguna, for the sweet price of Php600.00, I immediately got myself a ticket. The amount covered transportation and snacks. We were supposed to leave Manila at 5 o’clock in the morning sharp, but since I was with senior citizens, we finally left Manila at around 5.30.
1st stop: San Pedro de Alcantara, Pakil.
According to my limited readings, this church was originally built with bamboos and nipa through Father Francisco de Barajas when he was assigned as the permanent parish priest in 1676. It was during the incumbency of Father Fernando Jaro when the stone church and convent were built in 1732. Additional structures were added in 1777, and it was a year later, in 1778, when the image of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba was enshrined in the church. A fire in 1851 destroyed the church; miraculously, the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary survived the fire, and since then, devotion to Our Lady increased.
An image of the crucified Christ greets devotees at the church’s entrance, and an interesting story surrounds the said image. According to the caretaker, a long time ago, a man sought shelter inside the church. This man made an odd request from the priest that he must be given carving tools, food, a room to work in, and that he be left alone. As odd as the request was, the priest complied. Parishioners said that from the room, they would hear sounds like those of a hammer hitting a chisel. On the seventh day, however, they heard nothing from the room, and the door, which was previously locked, now was ajar. When the parishioners opened the door, they were greeted with a marvelous image of the crucified Christ.
2nd stop: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pagsanjan.
According to the marker, the church was founded in 1687 by Father Agustin de la Magdalena, the first curate. Originally, the chapel was built of nipa and bamboo, and was reconstructed in 1690 under the direction of Miguel Guan-Co and Alguacil Mayor Alfonso Garcia. The church was improved in 1853 by Father Joaquin de Coria. In 1872, a transept was added by Father Serafin Linares and Father Cipriano Bac. Sadly, the church was heavily damaged during the World War II.
3rd stop: St. Mary Magdalene Church, Magdalena.
According to my limited readings, the church was constructed in 1851-1871. The church is made of stones and bricks and for its facade, sandstone. It is said that Philippine hero Emilio Aguinaldo sought shelter inside the church after being wounded during the battle of 1898.
Images of the churches: