Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dumaguete & Bacong Churches

During our stay at Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, we were able to visit 2 old churches of the province. The first church we visited is the most accessible in the heart of Dumaguete city’s town plaza, the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral. 

Built between 1754 to 1756, its the oldest stone church on the whole Negros island. It was reconstructed in 1885, then extended with present facade in 1936, somehow loosing its ancient look. Its interior had also succumbed to the pressures of modernism.

The last reminder of the church’s old charm is its separate belfry built in 1760s. Its the only surviving belfry out of the 4 original belfries constructed more than 2 centuries ago. Aside from housing the church bells, it also served as a watchtower against invading sea pirates, common with other old churches during the early years. 

Sadly, even this remaining belfry has to accommodate newer structures on its reduced land area. Like the church, its also situated along Perdices St. in front of Rizal Park.

Flowers sold at the sidewalk in front of Dumaguete church.

Next church we were able to visit during our 2-day stay in Dumaguete is the St. Augustine of Hippo Church, in the neighboring southern town of Bacong. Built in 1866, it has retained more of its original features than its counterpart in Dumaguete. This church is closer to the sea, and its belfry is attached to the church’s structure.

It has one elevated pulpit on the right side. One of its unique character is the presence of a bamboo organ on its left side near the main entrance. The bamboo organ is still in good condition after it was built in 1894.

I believe that there are more equally nice old churches in the Negros island, which I hope to see if given the chance to come back in the province.
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