Tomorrow, La Isla tours offers another group of participants for a tour around some of Cavite’s best churches for the Lenten season. Here are some of them:
1. Immaculate Conception Parish Church, Dasmariñas
The Immaculate Conception Parish Church, established in the 1860s, is the first Catholic parish church in the city of Dasmariñas, Cavite. It was erected, following the declaration of Dasmariñas as a separate town from Imus during the Spanish colonial period to which it needed a new parish for the sake of its citizens and its growing town. The church and convent was the site of bloodshed during the Battle of Perez Dasmariñas of the Philippine revolution against Spain, and it was later declared a historical structure by the National Historical Institute.
The present church is an example of neoclassical architecture, with its portico covering the front door and it’s façade flanked to the sides with two four-story bell towers.
2. Our Lady of Candelaria Parish Church, Silang
Established in 1595, the Our Lady of Candelaria Parish Church in Silang, Cavite is known for its Spanish colonial architectural style and the rococo-influenced retablos. It started as a small chapel made of light materials and was spearheaded by St. Diego of Alcalá, however, it was destroyed by fire in 1603. The parish, along with its accompanying school, was relocated and rebuilt as a larger structure in between 1637 to 1639 and was completed in 1640. The parish became dedicated to the Nuestra Senora de Candelaria.
A typical baroque church, the Silang Church does not bear any ornamentation or aesthetic magnificance, and the death of Fr. Salazar would have to be the reason why. It has a four-story bell tower connected to its façade, and a baroque-style retablo or church altar containing religious imagery, most notably the one in the largest altar which depicts the life of Jesus based on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The church was restored a lot of times, through the 1970s-1990s leading to the 21st century.
3. National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, Silang
Located around 53km South of Manila, the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Silang, Cavite is a parish that also doubles as a retreat house. It is indeed a great venue for conferences, excursions and other activities that will enable people to pray, seek guidance and find peace. Built by American missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, the shrine became famous for its antique theme park and giant wood carvings of the Stations of the Cross.
4. St. Gregory the Great Parish Church, Indang
The St. Gregory the Great Parish Church in Indang, Cavite was originally a Jesuit chapel in Silang. It was established as mission station of Father Angelo Armano in 1611, and 14 years later as a separate parish under St. Gregory. The stone church was built from 1672 to 1676 and completed in 1710. Jesuit priests took over the parish first, followed by the diocesian priests, before it was transferred to the Dominicans. The church was burnt during the Philippine Revolution, and since then it was restored twice.
Upon entering the church, elegantly carved doors will be seen first together with the impressive carvings on the choir loft balcony. Its ceiling contains elegant rose-colored paintings, and to the side are commemorative gravestones. The retablo has three levels of niches containing images of saints, with St. Gregory the Great in the center of it. The church was one of the first churches in Cavite to use galvanized iron as its roofing.
5. Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church, Maragondon
The Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church in Maragondon has been considered as a National Cultural Treasure. It was first established in 1630, following the establishment of Maragondon as a separate town from Silang. It went through four constructions, the last of which was completed in 1714, following an order of demolition and some repairments.
A Jesuit church, Maragondon church is unique for its proportion, with its bell tower to its left a lot taller than the façade. It has no clear divisions between stories, a quadrilateral shaft that tapers upward, and its four corners ending with finials. The ornate door is carved with elaborate floral designs of different shapes, ships and castles. Stucco or paletada covers the river-stone church fabric found in and out. The pilasters found in the interior gives the church an illusion of elevation. Its three retables are polychromed and, as with that of many churches, containing religious imagery, with images of San Ignacio and San Luis Gonzaga, and most importantly, the Assumption of Mary, being placed in the main retable. The octagonal pulpit is also polychromed with names of Jesus and Mary in monograms appearing in its panel.
6. Diocesan Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Church, Naic
The Diocesan Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Church, located in Naic, Cavite, is among the largest churches in the province at five storeys high and ten blocks long. The original church was made up of wood and cogon grass, with later features added through the next six years. In the 1830s, a stone church was built, following the Neo-Gothic architecture. There are three major altars and three minor altars found in the interior, with the Very Venerated Image of the Immaculate Concepcion located at the main altar.
The church convent of Naic was used as the headquarters of Andres Bonifacio during the Philippine Revolution.
7. St. Mary Magdalene Church, Kawit
St. Mary Magdalene Church of Kawit is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, whose construction of the present church was started as early as 1737. It was restored several times until 1990 by the citizens of Kawit. Known for healing and resolution to personal problems, the church is a great place to pray when faced with adversity.
With a simple façade, brick walls and a bell tower topped with a weather vane seen in the exterior, the church contains a miraculous statue of St. Mary Magdalene which has a mole that no one knows what it is about. Some suggest a symbolic mark of Jesus’s fingertip during the resurrection when he had appeared to Magdalene, while others used it to distinguish from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The church is where Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic, was baptized. His birth certificate is kept on the left side of the altar.