Quezon: Gumaca Cathedral

Located in Gumaca in the province of Quezon, Gumaca Cathedral is one of the most historical churches in the province. It is also known as one of the biggest in Quezon.


Also called San Diego de Alcala Cathedral, Gumaca Cathedral was established sometime in 1582 by Franciscan missionaries. The church got its name from Saint Didacus of Alcala or San Diego de Alcala in Spanish. He was a member of the Order of the Friars Minor or Franciscans. He was known as a healer who cures patients through divine intercession. He died on November 12, 1463 in the municipality of Alcala Henares in Spain.


Church facade

The church belfry
From Gumaca, the church was transferred to the island of Alabat (the island adjacent to the towns of Atimonan and Gumaca) in 1638. Sadly, it was brned by the invading Dutch forces in 1665. The church was then transferred back to its original site in Gumaca a few years after the Dutch attack. In 1846, the church was remodeled into a Gothic Revival architectural design. The design proved to be no match for the very strong earthquake of 1937. The church belfry was damaged the most. The uppermost portion of it toppled down reducing the 5 level belfry to only three. The church then underwent reconstruction and was completed in 1999.
Church interior
Church altar
Church interior as seen from the choir loft
We got to visit Gumaca Cathedral when we went on a side trip before attending my mom's reunion in Atimonan, Quezon. The church was really a sight to behold. Its towering dome is actually one of the first things that will catch your attention when you cross the bridge going to the poblacion.
NHI marker
Check out this creepy looking statue
We spent plenty of time in the church vicinity. My cousins and I took plenty of pictures of its facade, interior and retabolos. We also got to meet an old local who was once a photographer. He shared his inspiring life story and some laughs with us which made our day but that's not the highlight of our visit to Gumaca Cathedral. 


The cross at the top of the church facade
The most memorable event in our visit to the church was when I got to climb up to its belfry and roof. From there I got an unspoiled 360 degree view of the town. It was an adventure in some degree because I just snuck up without asking permission (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone!). Overall, Gumaca Cathedral is one beautiful place to go to if you're on a pilgrimage in the province of Quezon.
Me with a fellow photographer Mang Lito (he covers the Reyna Elenas)

Getting there: 

From Manila, Cubao, or Alabang ride a bus heading to Legazpi City. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Gumaca. You won't miss it since virtually every Bicol bound buses pass through it.

Ratings:

Pilgrims
Cleanliness
Overall rating

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