After visiting the Heritage town of Pila in Laguna, we headed to Majayjay to visit San Gregorio Magno Church – one of the 40 Spanish Colonial Churches that has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Church of St. Gregory the Great in Majayjay
Church of St. Gregory the Great in Majayjay

Heritage Churches have been at the forefront of the Philippine history as a tool in furthering Christianity in the archipelago. Presidential decree No. 374 describes a National Cultural Treasure as “a unique object found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is significant and important to this country and nation”.


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Church of Majayjay National Historical Institue Marker
Church of Majayjay National Historical Institue Marker

Majayjay in Laguna is the site of one of the most stunning parish churches in Laguna. Well preserved and framed by palm trees, it’s three storied main building and even taller bell tower are a incredible from the outside. And on the inside, the detailing and gold and red themes in the main panels are very dramatic. Another relic of our Franciscan history, the San Gregorio Magno Church or Church of St. Gregory the Great has been rebuilt a number of times (4 to be exact), and the old stones are growing ferns and mosses between them.

Facade of Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno
Facade of Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno

The first Church of St. Gregory the Great in Majayjay was built in 1573 out of nipa and bamboo. When it burned down three years later, it was reconstructed, then burned again in 1606. After that it was rebuilt out of stone, but still suffered from fires in 1616, 1660, and 1711.

Inside the Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno
Inside the Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno

Between 1711 and 1734, the current version of the church was constructed by Father Jose de Puertollano as a labor of love. Repairs since then were conducted during the mid 19th century and the roof was replaced entirely with galvanized iron in 1892.

Wooden Door of the Church of St. Gregory the Great in Majayjay
Wooden Door of the Church of St. Gregory the Great in Majayjay

The Parish Church of St. Gregory the Great or San Gregorio Magno has it’s picturesquely overgrown corners, especially the side door and walls, and the entire bell tower. But it’s relatively crisp and clean inside.

Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno Altar
Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno Altar

The bricking of the fourth re-build feels modern and the white ceiling is not quite in tune with the old stones on the outside. But all in all it’s a very interesting place to visit, and going to Majayjay, Laguna is a nice stop if you’re visiting the area.

Getting There

From Manila:
Take a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna at Buendia / Gil Puyat bus terminal. From Sta Cruz take a jeepney ride to Majayjay Laguna. Majayjay is approximately 3-4 hours drive from Manila.

From San Pablo City:
It’s possible to take public transportation from San Pablo to Liliw, past Nagcarlan. Liliw and Majayjay are right next to one another.

The Heritage Pilgrimage Tour was organized by Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. For details and tour inquiries, please call 0918-6204782, 0949-9388141, (02) 788 2809, (02) 330 2215 and ask for Giselle, Tonie or Judith.

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