Tucked away on peaceful hill in the town of Daraga lies an Old spanish colonial church that is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines. The Daraga Church in Daraga Albay is also known as the Our lady of the gate or the church of Nuestra Senora de la Porteria.
Built in 1773, Cagsawa found it as a temporary shelter as their church was buried under the volcanic debris during the last eruption in 1814. This church is a true sign of crowning glory when it comes to religious architectures that is located in Albay.
Daraga Church: A historical treasure in Albay
Daraga Church Belfry
This Church is located on a bustling town right above the top hill and has been standing there as a true sign of resilience and unwavering faith of Bicolanos. The Church building is proudly declared as a National treasure and goes through a restoration work to maintain the beauty of this religious structure. In the past, the church became a headquarter during the second world war by Japanese army as it has a very cool temperature and is located at an elevated and strategic location.
Daraga Church Facade
There were clear signs of damages to the architecture but today it is in perfect shape and and considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country. The construction of this Baroque style building is done with the use of volcanic materials that makes it even more special and unique.
Inside Daraga Church (photo by Gael Hilotin)
You will find some similarity with another famous church in Miagao Iloilo as they both share the same undulating cornices and solomonic columns. Because of the orders of the current priest the church has been painted in white but the charm of the architect still remains the same.
The renovation of the interiors makes it even more popular among the visitors and the locals as it makes the church look quite good and clean. Towards the left of the church you can see some life size statues of popular saints.
Isle leading to the Altar
Though the exterior has been eroded due to continuous exposure, the architectural details are still intact. To prevent it from regular exposure the outer was coated with lime stone so that the future generation can still see the beautiful facade of the church. The protective coat not only makes the church look new but saves it from further degrading.
The church is a gift from the Franciscan missionaries to Daraga and the legacy continue to attract people even today. If you are fond of architecture then this is one place that you should visit. This church is a true mix of Mexican baroque and renaissance gothic and the result is truly marvelous.
Daraga church is an architectural and cultural treasure which is priceless and an important part of the Albayano heritage.
How to Get to Daraga Church:
From Legazpi City: Daraga is about 6 kilometers away from the city. Take a Daraga-Legazpi jeepney route and ask the driver to bring you to Daraga municipal hall. From the Daraga Municipal Hall, take the stairs that will lead you up to the church.
From Cagsawa: Take the jeepney to Legazpi City and get off at Jollibee Daraga. From Jollibee, Daraga Church is just few blocks away.