Daraga-Church-Albay

DARAGA CHURCH: Albay, Philippines

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The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate, more commonly knows as Daraga Church) is an 18th century baroque structure, overlooking the sea and the majestic Mayon Volcano. The National Historical Institute declared this site a National Cultural Treasure on October 29th, 2007.

Church of Our Lady of the Gate

Church of Our Lady of the Gate? I’m sure you’re wondering why “the Gate.” You can trace its roots to the 18th century when a Franciscan lay brother, Fray Luis de San Jose, worked as a porter and gardener at a convent in Avila Spain. It’s said that the Virgin Mary saved his life during a flood. He had a drawn image of the Holy Mother and displayed it at the convent’s lobby. Many venerated this image since. Today, the convent’s reception area is called the “Spanish porteria.” The picture is called Nuestra Señora de la Porteria. When the Daraga Church was constructed, the Franciscan friars decided to name it after this image.

History of Daraga Church

Daragaparish.tripod.com says this about the church: As mythical as the tale that the Daraga church was built by young maidens or Daraga is the common belief that it was built after and on account of the eruption of Mayon Volcano that buried the town of Cagsawa in 1814. The historical truth is that it began to be built more than 40 years earlier, in 1773 to be exact.

Yep, the Church of Our Lady of the Gate was built in 1773 by Franciscan missionaries at the time when Daraga was just a part of Cagsawa. Mayon’s disastrous eruption on February 1, 1814 devastated Cagsawa and four nearby towns killing around 2000 residents. What remains today is the belfry of the Cagsawa Church. (You can just imagine how catastrophic that eruption was.)

Survivors of this tragic calamity chose to move to Daraga. In 1815, Vernando Espiritu Salomon was appointed the first captain of the newly formed govenment of Daraga, a new town then. The rest is history. Today, Daraga is a progressive, bustling town.

Architecture of Daraga Church

Daraga Church’s architecture is Baroque but many say it’s a mixture of Mexican baroque and renaissance gothic.  It’s facade is mostly volcanic stones. It has four columns, each with medallions at its core. The medallions have images of the Evangelists. The church’s facade also carries the coat of arms of the Franciscan Order, images of Franciscan saints, and of course, an image of Our Lady of the Gate.

On the other hand, the belfry is an octagonal column carrying images of the 12 apostles. These are made from volcanic stones, too.

As mythical as the tale that the Daraga church was built by young maidens or Daraga is the common belief that it was built after and on account of the eruption of Mayon Volcano that buried the town of Cagsawa in 1814.The historical truth is that it began to be built more than 40 years earlier, in 1773 to be exact.

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DARAGA CHURCH: Albay, Philippines, 8.7 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

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Vins Carlos

Chief Castle Builder at PhilippineBeaches.org
Vins is the Poor Traveler's co-founder and resident SEO master. He always finds himself lost during travel. But he loves unfamiliar territories and finding his way around. Aside from his taste for adventure, he loves two things while traveling — food and more food. Stalk him on his Photo Blog!



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  • http://army ms soldier

    I like how church is featured, wish someday i could visit this place through the help of being a fan of poortraveler.

  • http://www.bicol-hotspot.blogspot.com/ bicol hotspot

    thanks for the info. i can use it as a source for my blog.

    if its ok with you can you put a link for my blog because trying to promote my place for touristas. hope you could grant my request. thanks.

  • mary ann ramirez

    I visited that cagsaua church in daraga albay, a historical place with a nice view of a Mayon Volcano…

  • harold mondejar

    how i wish someday to go back again to a very nice place..

  • http://www.facebook.com/ferdinand.idio Ferdinand Idio

    checkout the March 2012 issue of Travel+Leisure mag US edition. Puntod Island near Panglao in Bohol on the cover of the magazine.

  • Leila Regala

    Thank you so much for the awesome article. I am from daraga,Albay
    Attend mass @ lady of the gate church many years ago.i have been abroad since 1976,but every time I go home,it never cease to amaze me the beauty of the majestic Mayon volcano,the cagsawa ruins and the beautiful church on the hill.

  • Sherry Bongalon

    My hometown and birthplace!! Love the view of Mayon on top of this hill by the church..

  • Marg Padilla

    wow, I miss this church…have to walk and climb just to get there every sunday, plus my bro and sis went to school there…(kinder & nursery)

  • Mheg Garcia

    i visited the place last year.. it was amazing! http://sincerelymheg.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/daragang-magayon/