The four old churches of Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon
The Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon province is one of the least visited and, for its churches, lesser known that I decided to finally visit this tongue of land jutting out just before the southern connection with Bicol upon the prodding of a friend, Jan Michael. For church enthusiasts, this part of the province has four interesting churches in various state of preservation.
Pitogo, or the Parish of the Conversion of St. Paul was established as a town as early as 1754 but was relocated to its present site in 1760 due to the frequent Moro slave raids. The parish was erected only in 1850. One reference date the building of the present church starting 1917 but I doubt its veracity, more like Spanish colonial era. Made of coral stones, it has a semi circular pediment facing the sea on an elevated section of the town.
Although it has a simple facade, the right side entrance is interesting with its niches, columns and decorative bas reliefs. The interior has long been renovated, and the second storey kumbento at the left side has been demolished and the remaining coral stone first level now an activity area of the church.
The town of Catanauan was called such because of, according to oral traditions, two moro watchtowers that were erected within sight of each other as a lookout to the moro slave raiders in the area. The parish was erected in 1883 under the protection of the Immaculate Conception but there are no records as to when this edifice was constructed. From the facade, there is no emblem of the Franciscan Order too.
The church has three levels with a triangular pediment and capped with a belfry at the top. The cement coating has probably erased some interesting details judging on how one of the keystones at the top was just etched crudely. The interior has already undergone a major renovation with the side windows altered to fit with the stylized frame.
The town of Macalelon was established as early as 1787 and the parish erected under the protection of the Immaculate Conception only in 1875. However, the first church was built as early as 1854 and the kumbento in 1870. I’m not sure if this was erected by the Franciscans but I can’t find any emblems of the order on the facade.
This small church is one of the most intereseting, especially the many folk bas reliefs that adorn its facade. The interior has already been renovated and what remains of the original structure is just the facade and a low stone wall for its nave.
Mulanay is one of the oldest towns in the country, having been established by the Franciscans as early as 1600, as a visita of Bondoc. It became a separate town in 1688. In 1695, the town was turned over to the Seculars under the Diocese of Nueva Caceres (now in Naga City). The parish was erected only in 1835 under the protection of St. Peter the Apostle and building of the church was started in 1861.