Friday, September 17, 2010

Part 4: Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria
Daraga, Albay
by lakwatserong tatay

To end our 1st day trip on Albay, and before proceeding to Sorsogon city. We will not miss the chance to visit the crowning glory of religious architecture in the Province of Albay. This church was fortunately untouched by the lahar that leveled a good part of the Bicol's landscape. The Church of Our Lady of Gate Parish (more commonly known as "Daraga Church") is God’s oldest mansion in the province. Built mainly of volcanic rocks, it has survived a number of eruptions, including the one that entombed its next-town neighbor. This 18th century baroque structure stands on top of a hill, overlooking the sea and the majestic Mayon Volcano. The centuries-old church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute by virtue of the declaration signed by National Museum Director, Corazon S. Alvina last October 29, 2007.
Nuestra Señora de la Porteria

Why "Daraga Church" is called The Church of Our Lady of the Gate?

Some may ask why this church is called as the Church of Our Lady of the Gate? hmmmm.....I hope this could help...They said it starts from a simple Franciscan lay brother, Fray Luis de San Jose, who lived in the 18th century and worked in a Franciscan convent in Avila, Spain, as a gardener and porter. It's said that the Virgin Mary saved his life during a flood. After that he had a drawn image of our Virgin Mary and placed it at the convent's lobby. Many venerated this image since. After that, the convent's receiving area is called the "Spanish Porteria". This image of Virgin Mary is came to be called as "Nuestra Señora de la Porteria". When the Daraga Church was constructed, the Franciscan friars builders decided to name it after this image.

The Church Altar

The Church centre isle

The Choir Loft

The Confession Area

Daraga's Church History says this about the church: As mythical as the tale that the Daraga church was built by young maidens or Daraga is the common belief that it was built after and on account of the eruption of Mayon Volcano that buried the town of Cagsawa in 1814. The historical truth is that it began to be built more than 40 years earlier, in 1773 to be exact.

The Daraga Church was built by Franciscan missionaries in 1773 at the time that Daraga was just a barrio of Cagsawa. The catastrophic eruption of Mayon Volcano on February 1, 1814 destroyed Cagsawa, Budiao and three other towns and killed almost 2,000 people. Today, only the belfry of the old Cagsawa church remains as a mute testimony to Mayon’s treacherous wrath. Survivors of the 1814 eruption chose to relocate to Daraga.
In 1815, Daraga's government was formally organized with Venando Espiritu Salomon as the first appointed captain, a new town was born, the rest is history. Town of Daraga has grown to become a center of trade and commerce in the province of Albay.
Daraga Church National Museum Marker

Daraga Church Historic Marker

Daraga Church's Architecture

The design of this church is described as a blend of architectural styles of Renaissance Gothic and Mexican Baroque. Which results to an indigenous style that distinguishes it from other colonial churches here in our country. It's facade was made of volcanic stones. The church facade includes a four column, each with medallions at its core. Each medallions have images of the Evangelists.

This facade also features images of the Franciscan Saints, the coat of arms of the Franciscan Order, and of course, the image of Our Lady of the Gate. The church belfry has an octagonal column with images of the twelve apostles engraved on the sides of the angles. All of these were also made from volcanic stones.
Now as you go around inside, you can see some of our patron saints is been placed too.

Some of the Columns with the Saints within

One of the 4 Medallions

Daraga Church Belfry

Some of the Patron inside the church

"Our Lady of the Gate"

Daraga Church is a cultural and architectural treasure that is a priceless part of Albayano heritage. Today, the church is one of the most visited destinations in the province of Albay. The church is easily accessible from the city of Legazpi. Xplorerboyz were really lucky to have the chance to visit one of the treasures of Albay. Once again thanks to Johari.... to be continued.....

Xplorerboyz @ Daraga Church

Of course i must have my Solo... Brian "Lakwatserong Tatay"

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