Visita Iglesia: North Cebu Churches, part 1 of 2
This visita iglesia series focuses on the different churches in various areas in the country that can be followed as a guide for the much observed Filipino Catholic Lenten tradition of the Visita Iglesia. This part focuses on non Augustinian built churches in the island province. Check out the other posts on Cebu Churches: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
1 Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
In 1595, the Diocese of Cebu, together with Nueva Caceres and Nueva Segovia was established as suffragan dioceses to the Archdiocese of Manila.
The mother church of the diocese, it was first made of nipa and wood. In 1689 the first stone church was started but due to the perennial lack of funds, even with the promised P10,000 given by the King of Spain and staggered for the next 10 years, construction has, time and again been delayed, later demolished (and transferred to the adjacent lot) and built again.
The current structure was built between 1829 and 1863. In 1865, the church was expanded and renovated but was overtaken by the 1898 revolution. It was finished by Bishop Juan Bautista Gordo during his term.
St. Vidal is the patron of the cathedral.
2 Liloan Church
Liloan was established as a parish in 1845 under the advocacy of San Fernando del Rey with the Augustinian Recollect Fray Vicente Dolores as its first parish priest.
Originally a visita of Cotcot, it was under the care of the Jesuits in 1737 and even before they were expelled from all Spanish dominions, the town was returned to the Augustinians during the 1740s. Liloan was part of their early missions.
The current church was started in 1859 under Fray de Santa Lucia and was finished 21 years later. Wood used for the construction came from Leyte. The rectory, which used to stand near the rear end of the church was built six years earlier but was demolished in the 20th century.
This church has still extant cargo y data, record books that shows that the workers who built the edifice were paid and not a product of forced labor.
3 Compostela Church
Compostela was established in 1865 through a diocesan decree and was handled by the Augustinian Recollects who took charge of the northerneastern part of Cebu. The edifice was constructed by Fray Manuel Alonzo and was originally composed of a stone facade while the rest were made of bamboo and nipa.
The church was renovated and expanded in the 1970s to accommodate parishioners with the coral stones now made as decorative items within the church vicinity. Only the facade and a small portion, actually a pillar at the sacristy, remains of the stone structure.
St. James the Apostle is the patron saint.
4 Danao Church
Danao was part of the original north Cebu Augustinian missions and was transferred to the care of the Augustinian Recollects in 1744.
Fray Manuel de Santa Barbara is credited with the building of the original stone structure around 1755. During World War II, it was damaged with only the facade and walls standing. Renovation was done right after but from 1981 – 85, a major renovation was done that greatly altered the church save for the facade and belfry.
The church is cruciform and has one of the beautiful facades in the province.
Santo Tomas de Villanueva is the patron.
5 Poro (Camotes) Church
Poro, one of the 3 towns that are in the Camotes group of islands off Carmen was administered by the Jesuits as early as 1737. It was established as a separate parish only in 1847 under the advocacy of the Sto. Nino.
The parish was first held by Fr. Florentino Dalmacio, a Secular but was later turned over to the Augustinian Recollects for administration with Fray Nicolas Gonzales as parish priest.
A single naved church, it is made of coral stones with buttressed sides which, during a 20th century renovation was grazed off. Only the facade and walls are original while the interior has been modernized. The belfry is also a later addition.
The wooden convent that used to stand a few meters from the church has long been demolished and a modern concrete one was built at the side sporting the original hardwood flooring of the former.
Some of the bells of the church were distributed and can still be found in some chapels within Poro.