The Church of Santa Monica, Panay Capiz

Another travel adventure with wowtrippers in Isla de Gigantes, our meet up is 11AM and since ill be arriving way to much early since ill be coming from Iloilo and them from Manila I decided to research any tourist spot in Roxas. But i can’t seem to find any interesting spot until i found this very beautiful old church.



From Iloilo I took a Ceres bus from Tagbak Jaro terminal to Roxas which took me around 3hrs bus ride and from the terminal my friend pick me up and we go to St. Pius X Seminary which is located beside the terminal of Ceres. It was just a quick tour of the seminary and I also left my heavy bag there. From St. Pius X Seminary we rented a tricycle going to the town of Pan-ay (we pay 30PHP each for the tricycle). After 20min tricycle ride we reach the point of destination the town of Pan-ay which believed was the 2nd oldest town in the Philippines since it was the 2nd spanish settlement.



Im so amazed when I saw the facade of the Spanish/Mexican Baroque design of the church. The grand structure of the church is made up of coral stone which is 70m long 25m wide and 18m high. On the left side of the church stands a five level belfry it is known as the biggest and the mostly likely the heaviest Christian bell in Asia and according to our church tour guide it is also the 3rd largest bell in the world.  The massive artefact, called dakong lingganay (big bell) was cast in 1878 using 70 sacks of coins. it is about 7ft. in height and 5ft. in diameter and weighs 10.4 tons.



Inside the church, floor is covered with marble. Its structure is shaped in the form of latin cross with one large central altar and four lateral ones, the gilded retablos is gilded gorgeously sculptured of a fine hardwood. Various polychromed statues are highly decorated in an artistic quality.



In 1997, The Church of Santa Monica was declared a National Landmark by the national Historical Institute of the Philippines



Another fascinating finds is the century old well the Fuente de Vida located at the back of the church’s convent. According to our guide it was the source of water supply way back 1500.


Monasterio de Tarlac

How it came to be….

December 1999 – Gov. Jose V. Yap attends  “Simbang Gabi” at St. Therese of Child Jesus Parish  in Ramos, Tarlac Presided  by Fr. Ronald Thomas  “Archie” A. Cortez Parish Priest and Superior  General  of the Servants of the Risen Christ.  Fr. Archie, also the prior Founder of the SRC Community relates the story about the founding of a monastic community in Ramos, this caught the attention of Governor Yap, and on that same occasion, the idea of a bigger and better location was conceived. Yap offered a portion of the newly  established Tarlac Eco Tourism Park in Brgy. Lubigan San Jose Tarlac.

January 2001 – Comerstone  laying on the foundation of the 20 has. Monasterio de Tarlac, symbolized by the erection of the first cross.


March 7, 2001 – Blessing of the Prior hermitage.

December 2, 2002 – Groundbreaking of the proposed monastic community and blessing of the 30-ft high statue of the Risen Christ by Most Rev. Gabriel Reyes, D.D., Bishop of Antipolo.

2003 – Construction of monasteries, kiosk, 5 hermitages for monks and other facilities.

2004 – construction of the Oratory (Chapel) and a 12 – room dormitory for monks.

November 2006 – Renovation and redesigning of the Oratory to Reliquary to house the relic of the true cross.

January 30, 2007 – Inauguration and blessing of the chapel and reliquary presided by his excellency most Rev. Fernando Filoni, D.D. apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, assisted by several  archbishops, bishops and priests.


Church of St. James Fortress


Sometime in 1585 Fr. Esteban Marin, an Augustinian Friar, was the very first missionary ever to set foot in Bolinao, an island town, which he formed out of the People he baptized. He worked there till 1587, when he was appointed Prior of the town of Batac, Ilocos Norte. Bolinao was then assigned to the Dominican Fathers who took charge of it till 1599. In 1600, however, the Augustinian Fathers came back with Fr. Francisco Martinez as their superior. In 1602 Fr. Estacio Ortiz took over, and later on, Fr. Antonio Figueroa. The Augustinian Fathers were the very first sowers of the seeds of the Gospel in this town. They ended their missionary work in 1607.


With their departure, the Most Illustrious Governor and Capt. General Rodrigo de Rivera and the Dean of the Metropolitan Church requested the Recoletos de San Juan Agustin Fathers to take over the work begun by the Augustinian Fathers. Immediately, thereafter, Father Jeronimo de Cristo and Fr. Andres del Espiritu Santo rallied to the call and upon arrival at this island, town of Bolinao, they began to undertake the great work of spreading the Gospel, teaching the people by precepts and the best example of their life. In due time, these missionaries began to reap the fruits of their toils and sacrifices when over 1600 infidels were baptized.


Around 1609, lue to piratical molestation, the town was transferred to the mainland, where it presently exist. Records show that the Recoletos de San Agustin Fathers administered Bolinao parish from 1609-1679. From 1679 to 1712, the Dominican Fathers took over again the administration of the parish. In 1749, the Recoletos de San Agustin Fathers came back to Bolinao, and took charge of the parish up to about 1784. From then on, different priests, administered Bolinao parish up to the present.



San Juan Bautista Church

San Juan Bautista Church

Tabaco City

Declared by the National Museum as one of the National Cultural Treasures, this church was built by the secular clergy in 19th century. Its belltower features rocaille elements dated from an earlier time. The church has an unusual floor plan, with compartments that are inexplicable as of now. The stones on the walls bear masons’ marks, rarely seen elsewhere in this country.


Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center

A spiritual journey right at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, every pilgrim experiences inner joy, peace and warmth. Kamay ni Hesus Shrine is an ideal destination for pilgrims and tourists not only during the holy week and simbang gabi but during the whole ecclesiastical year. The Eucharist is celebrated almost daily; healing mass is part of Fr. Joey’s everyday apostolate. Even for non catholics or non believers, Kamay ni Hesus Shrine is a serene place for everybody.

At the church’s backdrop is a steep hill transformed into a picturesque Via Dolorosa Grotto of Healing and Purification, all of 292 steps, including the life-size statues of the 14 Stations of the Cross is leading to a 50-foot statue of the Ascending Christ —the third biggest in the world than can be seen miles away.
Rev. Father Joey Faller, spiritual director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Philippines and founder of the kamay ni Hesus Healing Church visualized the church to give the sick and the spiritually weak a haven where they could feel and experience the presence of God.

For inquiries,  information, mass schedules, prayer request, invitation and schedule for healing sessions, please contact:
Mobile: +63.917.853.6267
Fax: (02) 920-0910
Telephone Nos: +63.42.540.3085; +63.2.929.0333












Cagsawa Ruins

For almost two centuries the Cagsawa Ruins has stood as a symbol of Bicol region’s impressive landscape, rich history and the people’s strength and resiliency to face and to rise from the ravages of Mother Nature.

Cagsawa Ruins Park is one of the most visited places in the area. From this point tourists are afforded with an unhampered view of the majestic Mayon Volcano with its world renowned perfect cone.

Folklore states that originally Kagsawa was derived from the word “KAG” meaning owner and “SAWA” meaning python. Kagsawa could also mean excesses or too much. The February 1, 1814 Mayon eruption was said to be a divine justice for the people’s overindulgence.

The 1814 eruption was recorded to be worst eruption of Mt. Mayon. Some 1,200 people who took refuge and sought the sanctuary of the church during the eruption all died when the church was engulfed by the flowing lava.

Only the Cagsawa church belfry remains today. It is a grim reminder of the events that took place and many people come to see the belfry as a reminder of times past. Through all the developments done by the local government, the Cagsawa church belfry remains standing, with the giant stones spewed by Mt. Mayon around and with the history of the region buried underneath.

The place is now called Cagsawa Park. It is managed today by the municipal government of Daraga, Albay.

At the entrance of the park visitors will find a wide variety of souvenir shops and stalls which showcase native products and handicrafts. A wide selection of T-shirts with native scenes and designs are also available.

Cagsawa Park now boasts a modest sized swimming pool with plenty of loungers where visitors can laze and gaze at the majestic vista of Mt. Mayon.

Plants and flower lovers will be thrilled with the display of exotic flowers and orchids that are on sale. One needs to be a good haggler though to get a good buy.


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Our Lady of Lasalette Shrine, Isabela

The highest point in the Santiago City, at 173m above sea level. This is the home of SCATEC, an ecology park established by the city to promote agro-tourism. Balintocatoc is also famous for its “Holy Hill”, where the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette stands. Statues of different saints depicting Biblical scenes are situated along the winding road to the hilltop. A chapel crowns the hill, a perfect venue for those who seek a peaceful and solemn meditation and worshipping.




Miag-ao Church, Iloilo

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site trip and this is the Miag-ao Church in Iloilo. The starting point of my trip is in Iloilo supermarket which is located at the back of the Robinson Place Iloilo. Beside the Iloilo supermarket you will see the terminal station and you will be riding the jeepney going to Miag-ao (Fare is 60 PHP). The travel time is approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 30min. The jeepney will just drop you right in front of the church so you don’t need to worry.

I’m really fascinated with the church facade. The yellowish color of the church makes it more attractive.

Miag-ao Church Front ViewMiag-ao Church FacadeMiag-ao Church Front Wall SculptMiag-ao Church SideviewMiag-ao Church WindowMiag-ao ChurchMiag-ao Church Altar

Useful Facts:

The Miag-ao Church was built in 1786 by Spanish Augustinian missionaries and was declared as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Baroque Churches of the Philippines” in 1993. On the front facade, which is flanked by two watchtower belfries, one can see the unique blending of Spanish and native influences.

The central feature of the bas-relief facade is a large coconut tree which reaches almost to the apex. While an integral part of the Philippine landscape, the coconut tree is also the subject of lore. According to an old Philippine legend, the coconut tree was the only bequest from a loving mother to her two children, a tree which sustained them for life. On the church’s facade the coconut tree appears as the “tree of life” to which St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulder is clinging to. The lesser facades feature the daily life of Miagaowanons during the time. Also depicted are other native flora and fauna, as well as native dress.

The church and its watchtowers were also built to defend the town and its people against raids by the Moros. It therefore has thick walls and, reportedly, secret passages. Indeed stretching along the Iloilo coast are defensive towers, but none that equal the size of the Miag-ao. It is because of this defensive purpose that it is sometimes referred to as the Miag-ao Fortress Church.


San Agustin Church, Manila

I really like the side street of San Agustin Church, Its like your walking in Calle Crisologo in Vigan actually that was the first thing that I notice while walking towards the church. Then there was the façade of the church, as for me it very modern seeing that the church was newly painted I was expecting a brick wall or adobe wall but the other side of the church was something like what I expected. Also along side the church was a mini-museum (entrance is 100PHP for adult).

Side street of the church


The Church is always close they will just open it if there is a mass or wedding. Since I went there for the wedding, so I got a chance to see the beautiful architecture inside. I was so amazed of the beauty and wondering how they preserve it. I love the ceiling of the church, makes me proud of our rich culture.

View from the main door


San Agustín Church is a Roman Catholic church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Completed by 1607, it is the oldest church currently standing in the Philippines. No other surviving building in the Philippines has been claimed to pre-date San Agustin Church.

In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during during the Spanish colonial period designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, under the classification “Baroque Churches of the Philippines”. It had been named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.

History of the church

The present structure is actually the third Augustinian church erected on the site. The first San Agustin Church was the first religious structure constructed by the Spaniards on the island of Luzon. Made of bamboo and nipa, it was completed in 1571, but destroyed by fire in December, 1574 during the attempted invasion of Manila by the forces of Limahong. A second church made of wood was constructed on the site. This was destroyed in February, 1583, in a fire that started when a candle set ablaze the drapes of the funeral bier during the interment of the Spanish Governor-General Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa. The Augustinians decided to rebuild the church using stone, and to construct as well an adjacent monastery. Construction began in 1586, from the design of Juan Macias. The structure was built using hewn adobe stones quarried from Meycauayan, Binangonan and San Mateo, Rizal. The work proceeded slowly due to the lack of funds and materials, as well as the relative scarcity of stone artisans. The monastery was operational by 1604, and the church was formally declared as completed on January 19, 1607, and named St. Paul of Manila. Macias, who had died before the completion of the church, was officially acknowledged by the Augustinians as the builder of the edifice.

San Agustin Church was looted by the British forces which occupied Manila in 1762 during the Seven Years’ War. It withstood major earthquakes that struck Manila in 1645, 1754, 1852, 1863, and 1880. In 1854, the church was renovated under the supervision of architect Luciano Oliver. On August 18, 1898, the church was the site where Spanish Governor-General Fermin Jaudenes prepared the terms for the surrender of Manila to the United States of America following the Spanish-American War.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, San Agustin Church was turned into a concentration camp for prisoners. During the final days of the Battle of Manila, hundreds of Intramuros residents and clergy were held hostage in the church by Japanese soldiers; many of the hostages would be killed during the three-week long battle. The church itself survived the bombardment of Intramuros by American and Filipino forces with only its roof destroyed, the only one of the seven churches in the walled city to remain standing. The adjacent monastery however was totally destroyed, and would be rebuilt in the 1970s as a museum under the design of architect Angel Nakpil.

Something to know about the church

San Agustín Church measures 67.15 meters long and 24.93 meters wide. Its elliptical foundation has allowed it to withstand the numerous earthquakes that have destroyed many other Manila churches. It is said that the design was derived from Augustinian churches built in Mexico, and is almost an exact copy of Puebla Cathedral in Puebla, Mexico. The facade is unassuming and even criticized as “lacking grace and charm”, but it has notable baroque touches, especially the ornate carvings on its wooden doors.[5] The church courtyard is graced by several granite sculptures of lions, which had been gifted by Chinese converts to Catholicism.

The church interior is in the form of a Latin cross. The church has 14 side chapels and a trompe-l’oeil ceiling painted in 1875 by Italian artists Cesare Alberoni and Giovanni Dibella. Up in the choir loft are hand-carved 17th-century seats of molave, a beautiful tropical hardwood. The church contains the tomb of Spanish conquistadors Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti, as well as several early Spanish Governors-General and archbishops. Their bones are buried in a communal vault near the main altar. The painter Juan Luna, and the statesmen Pedro A. Paterno and Trinidad Pardo de Tavera are among the hundreds of laypersons whose remains are also housed within the church.

San Agustin Church also hosts an image of Our Lady of Consolation (Nuestra Senora de Consolacion y Correa), which was canonically crowned by Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin in 2000.



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