A trip to the mystical island of Siquijor wouldn’t be complete without a visit to their centuries-old Catholic churches. These churches provide a peek on the religious vehemence of Siquijornons in paying reverence to their town's patron saint. Moreover, these churches have been part of the rich history and culture of the province, hence, a visit to these churches is highly recommended. Here are some of the must-see churches in the island of Siquijor.
Upon entering the province, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi will greet you. Located in the capital town of Siquijor, it is one of the most photographed churches in the island as it is just located outside the port.
Constructed from 1795 to 1831, it is made mostly of coral stones and its bell tower was erected some meters away from the church. The roof is originally made of cogon and has been replaced by a tin roof.
Of course, I have a photo at the famous "Welcome to Siquijor" marker in the garden located just in front of the church.
Next is another century-old church, the Lazi Church and Convent dedicated to St. Isidore Labradore. Upon entering the streets of this town, you'll see the huge acacia trees that is said to be as old as the church.
Completed in 1884, it is considered as one of the few remaining Baroque Churches in the country, and a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Made of cut coral stones engraved with intricate designs, the church has a wooden flooring and steel ceiling. It's the first time I've seen a church like this.
We also climbed the bell tower which has numerous antique bells.
Across the church is the equally impressive, U-shaped two story structure Lazi Convent. Known as the biggest convent in the country (and probably in Asia), it is used to be a place for rest and recreation of the Friars.
A typical "Bahay na Bato" (stone house), with the ground floor made of thick stone layer and the second level made of hard wood. Now it is where the parish priest resides.
The National Historical Institute declared the church and convent as National Historical Landmarks.
At the town of Maria is the Sta Maria Church which is also made of coral stone. Built in 1880, it is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Providencia (Our Lady of Divine Providence).
Unlike the other century-old churches in the island, this church has an unassuming and humble façade and a hexagonal belfry on its right side.
Inside, you'll see Sta. Rita de Cascia. Its dress resembles the Virgin Mary’s dress, only black. Encased in a glass at the right side of the altar, the statue holds a small skull and an inverted crucifix.
This is part of our tour around the island of Siquijor. For transportation and guide, you may contact JOAM at 0927-6932095. He knows where to bring you and tells a lot of stories on the places that you go. Standard rate is PHP 850. A highly recommended guide in Siquijor!
This is part of my adventures in the provinces of Siquijor and Negros Oriental that happened last November 20-22, 2011 with my MBA friends, Clarice and Marvin. Siquijor is the 48th province on my list. Join us as we discover the majestic and enchanting “island of fire” that is distinctively Siquijor.
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