Posted By Maui of The Travelure ~ 10th March 2013
To see the churches in Naga City was the first of many things one can do after setting foot on this progressive city of Camarines Sur. If normally, mall rats would mall-hop on a weekend, I took a different route and instead, went on a church-hopping spree. If Naga City is anything, it’s really famous for its devoted Catholics in the Bicol region, the very reason why it is considered a pilgrimage destination.
After hailing a tricycle from the train station, I immediately asked the driver to take me to the nearest church. The driver and I had a short discussion about the many sights to see in Naga but I specifically wanted to visit some of the many churches of the city. My first stop, the Metropolitan Cathedral.
It was very early in the morning, I could still smell the grass freshly kissed by the morning dew. The Metropolitan Cathedral is also flocked by many health enthusiasts as there were many morning joggers and runners circling the wide space in front the Cathedral.
If you happened to arrive in the city earlier before the sun rises and if you also like running, then starting your morning routine here is going to set you apart from the tourists’ crowd. And while you’re at it, please leave the fanny pack at home or throw it already before you even get tempted to wear it.
The next structure I really admired in Naga City is Porta Mariae. The photos in tourist websites make this giant arch look isolated in the middle of the road (at least it’s how I imagined it to be. Too much French influence on me, I guess). Lo and behold, this magnificent arch that was formally opened in September 9, 2010 to commemorate the city’s devotion to Lady of Peñafrancia has left me perplexed, to be honest. The built is awesomely massive not to mention that it serves as a pathway and gate in one when entering the Cathedral. But, it’s not an arch built in the middle of the road, let alone a spacious location but it’s situated beside the road, giving a great view for motorists before they make a sharp right turn.
Further down the same road that the tricycle driver and I traversed is the The Peñafrancia Shrine. It is the original home of the Lady of Peñafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol region.
Perhaps a remarkable object to see right in front of the church, is the row of candles left by churchgoers that each represent their prayers and dedication to the city’s patroness.
The last church I visited and no, this is not a Visita Iglesia kind of thing, was Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. It stands around 5-8 minutes away from the Peñafrancia Church. Unlike the first two churches, this one has a modern architectural design with its straight lines and smooth external finish.
Naga City reminds me of my hometown, Iloilo City. Back home, we have so many churches so visiting several churches in succession isn’t new to me at all.
For a complete list of Catholic churches in Naga City, check The Catholic Directory.