Quezon: Atimonan Church

Located in Atimonan in the province of Quezon, Atimonan Church was built sometime in the early 16th century. Due to the fast spreading Catholic faith in the country during those times, churches were built hurriedly using materials that were abundant in the area. In the case of Atimonan Church, it could be concluded that the first church was built using wood and stone as the primary material.
Atimonan Church
Ironically, the material used would also be the cause of the first destruction of the church. The church was burnt to the ground in 1640 when the Dutch tried to invade the Philippines.
The building on the left is actually the residence of the parish priest
The church was rebuilt in 1643, this time they added more stone than would to fortify the church and prevent the same thing from happening. Still the church burned down in 1648.

Atimonan Church with its 6-tier bell tower
The church was rebuilt again in 1650, this time stone was used as the primary material. It was said that during this time the bell tower was twice the height of the present day bell tower. Sadly, the church was destroyed again -by an earthquake.
Atimonan Church after the earthquake
Atimonan Church at night

The present church was constructed sometime between 1687 and 1700. It was seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1937 and was bombed during the Second World War.
Atimonan Church after the war
St. Michael guards the church from the outside
The church and its bell tower were reconstructed with the initiation of Rev. Fr. Bonifacio Orejola and was finished by the surviving townspeople a few years later. To date the church has undergone numbers of restoration projects. The church and the nearby Iskong Bantay watch tower are one of the few remaining Spanish structures left in the province.

Reconstructed  Atimonan Church
The altar
We were able to visit the small chapel and ossuary on the side of the church and here's what we saw...
A The giant cross with a giant Christ
The confessional
The former backdrop of the altar cross
The ossuary
What I like most about the church is its colorful interior and red bricked exterior. What makes the church more interesting are the numerous life size statues of saints and archangels inside and outside of the church. The statues are so numerous that I plan to write a separate blog about them. Aside from that visitors would never miss out the Sistine Chapel-like ceiling paintings in the church which is really eye-catching.
Near the front door of the church is the old baptismal room. Look for it! It's quite hidden.
Church interior
Ceiling paintings of the 7 angels in the bible
Aside from admiring the architectural design of this church, what I really enjoyed doing is climbing its bell tower. Years ago anyone could visit the tower because the stairway up the bell tower was accessible to the public. This year, when I came back to Atimonan I found out that staircase leading to the bell tower entrance was removed and the only passage leading to the bell tower requires you to pass through the residence of the parish priest. (Safety reasons I guess.) Still my cousins and I managed to (with the help of our uncle who's a former Knights of Columbus member of the municipality) enter and pass by the residence of the parish priest to get to the top of the tower.
Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles watching over the town.
my uncle Adonis and the digital bell
Me and my wife in front of the church
From the top, one can clearly see the 360 degree view of Atimonan plus the scenic Lamon Bay. You can also see the century old bells that is now rarely used because of the installed digital bell. Since there's a lot to talk about the church, I decided to come up with another article that would focus on the bell tower and the statues of the saints and archangels of Atimonan Church. Watch out for that one!

Getting there:



From Manila there are several bus lines that ply the route going to Lucena City. From there transfer to one of the mini buses heading to Gumaca. Tell the conductor to drop you off before the diversion road of Atimonan. From there you could rent motorcycles to bring you to the old church.

Ratings
Pilgrim
Cleanliness
Overall rating


Comments

  1. Hi Neil, Thanks for featuring Quezon in your blog. I'm from Quezon. I've been to many places and I just realized that I haven't explored my home province. This and the Polillo entry inspires me to go back to dear Quezon and do my trotting there. Keep on featuring great food and beautiful places.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the positive comment Joseph. Your comment inspired me to travel more and write more. Hope to hear more from you!

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