Holy Week is that season of the year when I will try be featuring seven (7) church for each day of Semana Santa. I started this tradition in 2012 as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia since I cannot do the actual Visita Iglesia during Holy Thursday.
Today is Palm Sunday and let us begin our virtual Visita Iglesia by visiting a very old church in Bicolandia.
Years ago, the office gave me the opportunity to visit the sleepy town of Vinzons in Camarines Norte. This town is not the usual tourist destination in this part of Bicolandia. Its beach is not as good as the one in Caramoan. It doesn’t have a famous fiesta like the one in Naga City. It has little action unlike the provincial capital of Daet.
But there is one thing that Vinzons that can brag about and that it has the oldest church in Camarines Norte: St. Peter the Apostle Church.
Unfortunately, the Church is in ruins during my visit.
The 400-Year old church was gutted by fire the day after Christmas in 2012. It must have been the saddest Christmas Season for the residents of Vinzons. It was also a sad day for me to not experience the glory of the oldest church in the province.
The original church of Vinzons was established by Reverend Father Juan de Losar in 1611 in the place that was then called as Tacboan. The whole town transferred in 1624 from Tacboan to Indan where the current church of Vinzons stands. Indan is the old name Vinzons.
Since the church is in ruins, I just spent my time checking out the views outside where there is the image of Jesus and Mary, son and mother.
There’s a peculiar symbol at the icons’ pedestal...
...is it Unown? (Pokemon fans will understand this...he he he)
Aside from the Unown symbol, the base also marks the grave of Capt. Roman Pajarillo who died in 1936. I guess that he is the Roman Pajarillo of the Bicol Martyrs of 1896.
At the side of the church stood the image of Saint Peter the Apostle...
...and Mama Mary.
The church’s facade is made of plain adobe blocks. Near the top is the icon of the Church’s patron, Saint Peter. The bell tower also stand stoutly at the side. I am glad that the facade and the bell tower survived the fire.
How I wish that I climbed up Vinzons Church’s bell tower like what I did in Tabaco City in Albay.
The arch-gate of Vinzons Church is also a sight to behold since it was newly painted that time. The arch-gate features the life and martyrdom of the town’s patron saint.
|Clockwise from upper left: Jesus handing the keys to Peter, The liberation of Peter from Prison, Peter the first pope, The martyrdom of Peter.|
Another peculiar symbol that I found is the upside down cross, which is usually associated with satanism.
That association was a modern construct. The truth is that the upside-down cross symbolizes Saint Peter because he chose to be crucified upside down. Saint Peter believed that he is not worthy to be crucified in the same way as his Master.
Since the church is in ruins, I didn’t attend any mass. However, that didn’t end the activities of the parish. In fact, every early morning I hear the praying of the Holy Rosary being broadcasted to the whole town from the church. The life of the faithful continues.
Vinzons Church’s Rise from the Ashes
I read a good news that the church in Vinzons Camarines Norte, was just restored last year. The restoration was made possible thru the generosity of parishioners and others living in other towns.
Another good news is that the newly built church followed the 15th Century architectural style of the Vinzons Church. The new church was similarly dedicated to Saint Peter.
Read more about the news of the newly restored church in Vinzons in Choose Philippines.
Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.
Info about the Roman Pajarillo was obtained from Bicol Mail.