|The present view of church. ©Christopher Aquino|
Atop of Sta. Maria Hill in Brgy. San Roque, Daraga, Albay a church was built by Franciscan in 1773 and named to Our Lady of the Gate.Commonly known to many as Daraga Church.
In 1854 the church was consecrated. It was also the year that Pope Pius IX pronounced the dogma of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During World War II the church was bombed by the American Forces leaving the roof completely blown up and right wing and wall partly destroyed. Reconstruction hurriedly occurred right after the war. Then it wasn't successful for it deteriorated very fast. Complete reconstruction and remodeling of the interior underwent in 1971. By then the altar was changed for it needs to adjust to the norms of the celebration of the Liturgy that was renewed by Council Vatican II. Before the bicentennial celebration of feast of Immaculate Conception (December 8, 1973), the reconstruction was happily done.
|Old photograph of the church. (source: daragaparish.tripod.com)|
In 1991, eighteen years later,the altar was brought back to its original position in order to be faithful to its structural design.
October 29, 2007- the National Historical Institute of the Philippines declared the church as historical site as a National Cultural Treasure.
Through the years, Our Lady of the Gate Parish become one of the tourist spots or attractions in the province because of its uniquely baroque architecture(quaint mixture of Renaissance Gothic and Mexican Baroque). Stones used-in which some has carvings-were volcanic stones. Moreover the place is also got a good view of the sea, Ligñon Hill and of course, the majestic Mayon Volcano.
Because of its great design, the church had already been selected to be part of some local films.
If you may check travel blogs or travel advisories, Our Lady of the Gate Parish is one of the most recommended place to visit in the province. The place is good for unwinding, meditation, praying, capturing photographs, etc.
Consider visiting Albay and be it your next travel destination. Don't you never forget to check this church.