Province of Laguna
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The sun was about to set as we made our way towards Majayjay; one more church remains on the itinerary as we sped down the winding roads somewhere at the boundary of Quezon and Laguna. The gas tank was nearly empty and for over an hour, ours was the only car negotiating this stretch of the roadway. We reached Majayjay Church right after the evening mass and just before the parish priest closes the church; I managed to take shots of the interior, but the lack of ambient light for the exterior made the façade unimposing; such was my first encounter.
I’ve always love churches, especially the centuries-old ones. Apart from their religious significance, I like the tranquility of its ambiance, the intricate architectural designs of its façade and interiors, and the historical and cultural attachment to its community.
Declared as a National Cultural Treasure, The church of San Gregorio Magno has a rather simple façade with six saints and the statute of Christ at the top. In front of the church, an elevated statute of the Virgin Mary set in an octagonal base faces it directly. At the sides, 2 large water fountains stand. One’s attention then swiftly shifts to its recessed square bell tower, like an old spire that trusted up from below the ground. The convent on the left side of the church is now converted into a school; on the right side entrance, giant buttresses support and protect the church from earthquakes. Two old trees, like sentinels, stand guard at this side entrance with their leaf-less branches outstretch towards the sky like hands in gratitude.
What Majayjay church lacks in exterior design it more than made up with its interior richness. The long balconies on either side extend all the way to the retablos; the marble central aisle then guide one’s gaze leading to the altar. Elegantly carved and painted bas-relief of Stations of the Cross line the brick walls between adobe posts with statutes of saints engrave in them. As one approach the altar, the three retablos came into focus; painted in red and accented in gold, two angels adorned each of the saint-decorated retablos; an all-seeing eye topped the main. Directly above the altar is a dome that a great chandelier used to hang.
I ended my visit of Majayjay church by climbing its bell tower; for here, one can really be alone with his thoughts in the company of bells while surveying the expanse of the lands below as the zephyr blows.