Sunday, February 7, 2016

National Cultural Treasure Series - NUESTRA SENORA DE LA PORTERIA PARISH CHURCH, Daraga, Albay - PH-05-0002-NCT

The Church of Nuestra SeƱora de la Porteria (also Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church), commonly known as Daraga Church, is the crowning glory of religious architecture in the province of Albay. Nestled majestically on top of a hill above the bustling town, the Daraga Church has stood for centuries as a testament to the unwavering faith and resilience of the Bicolano. It is a cultural and architectural treasure that is a priceless part of Albayano heritage. Today, the church is one of the most visited destinations in the province of Albay.

The centuries-old church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum by virtue of the declaration signed by National Museum Director, Corazon S. Alvina last October 29, 2007. A historical marker was unveiled on October 16, 2007.

The Daraga Church was built by Franciscan missionaries in 1773 when the present town of Daraga was but a barrio of the older town of Cagsawa. The catastrophic eruption of Mayon Volcano on February 1, 1814 destroyed Cagsawa, Budiao and three other towns and killed almost 2,000 people. Today, only the belfry of the old Cagsawa church remains as a mute testimony to Mayon’s treacherous wrath. The survivors of the 1814 eruption chose to relocate to Daraga. This was then approved by the Governor-General on October 4, 1814 and implemented on November 7,1814.

The design of the Daraga Church can be described as a blend of architectural styles: Renaissance Gothic and Mexican baroque. The result: an indigenous baroque style that distinguishes it from other colonial churches in the Philippines. The facade was carefully carved from volcanic stones. Distinct features of the Daraga Church facade include the four spiral columns with medallions at the center of each column bearing images of the four Evangelists.


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