Almost everyone was still in slumber land as I quietly padded down the hotel lobby and went out into the still dark streets of Bacolod. I flagged down the first jeepney that passed my way and was soon speeding down towards the town plaza.
I alighted at the market and crossed the sleeping plaza where school kids practicing for the upcoming Masskara festival were already starting their routine. At the other side of the square stood my query; the oldest church in Bacolod, the Cathedral of San Sebastian.
Bacolod Cathedral was built in 1825 and was originally made of wood. It went through various transformations; towers and bells added then removed, materials upgraded until it stands as it looked now. With an impressive façade and height, it is now built of coral stones mined from the nearby Guimaras Island and wood imported from Palawan; the masonry works were done by Chinese artisans.
The sun was still quiescent but the sky was already at its blue hour, displaying a deep electric hue as I planted my tripod down and assembled my camera.
I started photographing the archaic stone exterior of the Bacolod Cathedral and worked my way inside its barrel-domed nave. The church was silent and empty except for a few faithful saying their early morning prayers. I moved along through the adobe-lined aisle, my steps echoing past towering white Corinthian columns on my left until I reached the altar.
I was taking a photograph of the retablo when a very old veiled woman started inching her way slowly along the nave through her knees until she reached the altar’s front steps. I was mesmerized by what I saw.
She looked ancient, around eighty or ninety years of age and I could just imagine how hard it was for her to do penitence like that. She kneeled motionlessly, head bowed for some minutes silently uttering a prayer before she crossed herself, moved up and slowly walked out of Bacolod Cathedral.
Having captured her photograph, I think my work is finished here. I followed suit and exited to a brand new Bacolod City morning.
San Sebastian Cathedral
Address: Rizal Street, Bacolod City
Open Hours: 5:00am to 8:00pm