Quantcast
Latest Stories

Five pillars of faith in Batanes

By

PILLAR OF FAITH Basco Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, initially built in 1783 by Dominican missionaries using wood and cogon, was rebuilt using stone in 1795. Painted in sunflower yellow, it is the oldest church in Batanes. MANDY NAVASERO/COLUMNIST

An encounter with the five oldest churches in Batanes leaves one with the feeling that neither storm and winds nor isolation and time could extinguish the flame of faith that lives within the island’s people.

The feeling is inspiring and whenever I visit with my Batanes Photo Safari participants, we always find ourselves singing “Ama Namin” with total abandon, deep faith rising from within ourselves.

The first house of Catholic worship at Basco was built of cogon and wood by the Dominican missionaries Balthazar Calderon and Bartholome Artiguez upon their arrival in 1783.

The plan for a large stone-and-mortar church was ready in 1787, but actual work began in 1795. The first church was probably built where the capitol building now stands.

That first stone church had Gothic features as may still be seen in its lancet windows on the north wall. Its woodwork was imported from Cagayan, and the master craftsmen of carpenters, stone cutters and masons also came from Luzon.

The church was roofed with cogon, which gave way to galvanized iron in the 20th century.

The Cathedral of Basco is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Batanes. According to M. Madriaga, DD, who authored “The Coat-of-Arms of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions in the Philippines,” in Philippine Studies, 5 (1957): 429, the silver crescent on the original Episcopal coat-of-arms of the Prelature symbolizes the Immaculate Conception, titular of the principal church in the prelature.

St. Domingo de Guzman is the patron saint of Basco town, not of the cathedral.

The San Carlos Church of Mahatao began as a mission chapel in 1787 and was replaced by a stone-and-lime church, which was destroyed by a storm in 1872.

The present church was built by Fr. Crescencio Polo, OP, in 1873. In the church’s prime, the interior was decorated in baroque style, with floral designs and sunbursts as ornament painted in polychrome and gilt. This was to produce the effect of a golden glow and sparkle among the serene statuary.

A peculiar common feature of churches in Batanes was that the principal road commonly called Calle Real often led right up to the main side door. It is so, with the Mahatao church.

There were three mission chapels in Ivana located in Said, Kadpidan and Radiwan but Radiwan was chosen to be the permanent site for  St. John the Worker Church of Ivana. It was in this site that Fr. Francisco de Paula Esteban laid the foundations of the church and possibly the convent in 1795. The original church was much larger then, as it was designed to accommodate the people of Ivana, Sabtang and Uyugan.

In 1844, the Isabtangs, who were resettled in Ivana after a massacre, were officially resettled on Sabtang Island. Thus, when the cogon-roofed church burned down, it was reduced by a third of its original length.

Of the Batanes churches, the church of Ivana has the most commanding view because of its location. It is built on elevated ground at a point where the island bends and the sea approach from the Balintang Sea into the Batan-Satang strait and the northwestern sea exit to Vuhus and Itbayat are visible.

The San Vicente Ferrer Church of Sabtang began as a mission in 1785 but no resident missionary was assigned there.

In 1791, Cagayano agents of the Spaniards sent to procure supplies in Sabtang were killed over payment of the goods. The mangpus (datu) Aman Dangat of Malakdang was blamed, arrested and executed at Basco.

The Isabtangs were then forcibly resettled in Ivana from 1791 to 1841. In 1844, Sabtang was reestablished and recognized as a mission vicariate.

The Sabtang church was also modeled after the Basco church in both floor plan and façade,  which projects a heaviness of appearance. Its profile is baroque.

The four churches are also a strong manifestation of fragile faith surviving timeless tests.

The Itbayat Church on the third island of Batanes is built in the town center on the top of a cliff by Dominican missionaries in 1875. Its patron saint is the Immaculate Conception.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Batanes , Batanes Photo Safari , Churches , Dominican missionaries , Philippine tourism , Travel

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/V5RN3YSU2WRBKU2Y4VC2TACTKQ Fr. Brigido

    Itbayat Church is named after the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. Ivana Church is named after St. Joseph the Worker



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  6. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  9. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
    Marketplace