When Mayon Volcano erupted in 1814, it destroyed houses and properties in Cagsawa, Albay and the nearby towns. People could have rebuilt their lives and moved on, but the center of their faith, the Cagsawa Church was also destroyed.
So they relocated to Daraga, and eventually building a church on top of a hill with the view of Mayon Volcano which is now known as Our Lady of the Gate Parish or Daraga Church. But some historians are saying that the church was actually built 40 years before the eruption.
Beyond the history and facts, it is undeniable that Daraga church has stood the test of time and a testament of faith of the Bicolanos.
We had a nice sleep at Mayon Backpackers Hostel with a good breakfast before we checked out and traveled for a few minutes to Daraga.
The moment our van parked, we first noticed the majestic Mayon Volcano. We were lucky! Because we were able to see the volcano in its full form. Usually some travelers are disappointed to see Mayon covered with clouds. It was indeed a perfect morning for us to see the perfect cone of Mayon!
We did not waste time and took a lot of photos, since we saw some clouds moving to the direction of the Mayon, we all knew that in just a matter of minutes, the view would be covered with clouds.
Aside from our group shots, we also did some funny solo shots.
I asked Ken (a friend in the group) to take a photo of me, when he told me to raise my hand and again look from afar. I just followed and the result is a funny shot of me pointing to the mouth of the volcano. Haha!
Then it was time to explore Daraga Church. I was able to position myself on the side to get a shot of the church and the Mayon Volcano.
I decided to climb up the stairs and finally get inside the church. The walls are white leading to the altar. I already mentioned this on my post about Barcelona, that whenever I explore a church when I travel I really make it a point to kneel down or just sit and say a prayer.
Daraga church has undergone some restoration in 2009 to 2010. Since this is already centuries-old the structure has been deteriorating because of age.
It is noticeable the fading white color of the church. A few years back, a lime coating was applied on its structures as protection. Although it almost erased the original old look of the church, it was just temporary. In a matter of a year or two, the church’s look will go back to its original feel and look. The coating was necessary to save the church for future generations.
The National Historical Institute declared Daraga Church a National Cultural Treasure on October 29, 2007.
Now Daraga is a bustling town. But just a few steps from its municipal hall, you will be turned back to times, to appreciate the history, culture and Filipino heritage.
Daraga Church: How to get there
You may book a flight going to Legazpi. Or ride a bus from Manila.
From Legazpi: Ride a jeepney going to Daraga. The drop off point is the municipal hall. Look for the stairs beside the municipal hall, climb up te stairs to lead you to the church.