Our tour around Camotes Islands ended with a visit to the oldest church in the island group. That church is located on the island of Poro, at the poblacion of the town of Poro.
Poro Island served as the seat of local government in Camotes Islands during the Spanish Era. This is the reason why the oldest church in Camotes Island is located here. Poro Church was founded in 1847 and built in 1849 under the supervision of Fathers Nicolas Gonzales and Ambrocio Yturiaga. The church was originally made of tabique and stone. The roof is made of tiles. The church’s belfry was built 1963.
My friend told me that Poro Church is the reason why Pacijan Island and Poro Island are now connected with each other. In the past, there is no church on Pacijan Island and nearest church is on Poro Island, which can only be reached by riding a boat. The faithful Catholics, wanting to attend the mass at Poro Church, worked together to build a road to Poro Island. Churchgoers of Pacijan Island carried rocks and soil and threw them to the sea. The result is the land-bridge that connects the two islands. Over time, the land-bridge was widened and became a cemented road that is now used by the people of Camotes Islands.
The sea on the either side of the land-bridge is covered by mangrove forests. Mangrove trees are plentiful that the local mangrove farmers association has a “headquarters” along the land-bridge. Many people are benefitting from the still rich mangrove forests between Poro and Pacijan Islands.
|Mangrove farmers association HQ.|
I am amazed with the faith of the people of Pacijan Island. Their faith enabled them to move stones and dirt so that they can see Jesus Christ in the Eucharist every mass. The product of their faith was not confined to their generation but is also being enjoyed by their children in this generation. This is the faith that I think is lacking in our generation now. I believe that we now lack the faith that enables us to work as a community.
I did not have the chance to go inside Poro Church because the place is under renovation. The truth is that I wanted to see more of the place. However, because of the renovation and the lack of time, we ended our tour and returned to the resort where I stayed.