Click on any of the images to see the enlarged copy and narratives of the photo. The facade of St. Catherine of Alexandria Church was plastered in 1970s probably to
save it from crumbling. But the plastering has hidden the majestic appearance of adobe
blocks still seen at the bell tower.
Additional narratives or blogs:The St. Catherine Parish was established by Franciscan Missionaries in 1685 who landed at a site now called Dinaungang-Pari. It had it beginnings in Barangay Binahaan when a church made of bamboo with cogon grass thatch roof was built in 1688, administered by Fr.Cristobal Mortanchez. In 1730, the church was moved to its present location with St.Catherine of Alexandria as Patron Saint, and Fr. Francisco Xavier de Toledo was the Parish Priest.
Building of the present stone church began in 1845 under the administration of Fr.Victorino Peralija; And was completed including the bell tower and two-story convent in 1877 under the administration of Fr.Eugenio Gomez. As an aftermath of World War II, it was destroyed during the Liberation in 1945 when American airplanes dropped bombs with the "intelligence report" that Japanese soldiers were still hiding inside the church. The convent and the church were destroyed. Fortunately the bell tower survived while the facade was heavily damaged. Repairs were done in 1954 under the Administration of Fr. Vicente Urlanda.
Subsequent repairs and additions changed the appearance of the church. While the convent's second floor has not been rebuilt, we can still see how the church looked like before the War.
How to get there:
St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish Church is not easy to miss. Located just in front of the Municipal Building at the center of Pagbilao, it is found on the left side of Rizal Street (National Road) when you are facing the direction to Bicol. Of course, it would be to your right side when you are facing the other direction. Pagbilao is nine kilometers east of the provincial capital Lucena City. Further to the west beyond the mountain is the town of Atimonan. Padre Burgos is further southwest along the sea coast. Tayabas is in the northeast via a picturisque road amidst coconut trees while Mauban is farther up north by turning right at a junction before Tayabas.
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