Albay: Camalig Church

Located in the municipality of Camalig in the province of Albay, Camalig Church is one of the most beautiful historical religious structure in the province of Albay.

Also called the Church of Saint John the Baptist, Camalig Church was built in 1605 several decades after the first Augustinian missionaries introduced the faith to the people of the province. 
another angle of the church facade
Church facade
Church interior
Church altar
Church interior as seen from the altar
Check out that antique chandelier
However, the 1814 Mayon Volcano eruption devastated the town of Cagsawa and totally destroyed the neighboring towns of Cagsawa and Budiao. Luckily the church was spared from the devastation but the townspeople decided to relocate the town to the safety of the mountains. They first settled in the place called Palanog, then to Kitapunte, and then to Baligang. However, a fire razed the new settlement and the townsfolks decided to return and reoccupy the original town they left behind.
Can you guess who he is?
The church was still intact when the townspeople returned so they decided to use it instead of building a new one. After decades of servicing the people, Camalig Church underwent major renovations in 1842. The church facade was rebuilt using solid blocks of volcanic rocks from Mayon Volcano herself. The renovation was finally completed in 1848.
Church facade
After the construction, the church became one of the most beautiful in the province. It is not because of the volcanic rocks or a unique looking facade but because of the generosity of the town's affluent residents. These rich families vied with one another in donating expensive furnishings during the construction of the church. They did not just donate materials for the construction of the church, they also installed bells, marble holy water fonts, and even a crystal chandelier.

A statue of a saint(Probably St. John the Baptist)  found in the facade
The bell tower
Large church door
When I visited Camalig Church during my family's road trip to Southern Luzon, I was amazed to see that time and Mother Nature already took its toll to most of the church. However, I could still see that the beauty that lingers in the church lies not in the material things but in the hearts of the townspeople (both the dead and living).

Getting there:

From Manila, board a bus heading to Legazpi City. Once there, look for a jeepney that plies the Legazpi-Camalig route. tell the driver to drop you near the vicinity of the church. From there you could reach the church by foot.

Ratings:
Pilgrims
Cleanliness
Overall rating

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