The seat of the Archdiocese of Batangas, San Sebastian Cathedral or simply Katedral (Cathedral) to Lipa’s locals, was the next destination in our Batangas daytrip.
Not really part of the plan (the plan being to eat at Casa Rap, buy a Batangas Starbucks Global Icon City Mug, have coffee and then go home), but since we’re already at Batangas and it was still quite early, I was thinking, why not check it out.
Unable to locate its location in Google Maps; from Starbucks Lipa, we just flagged a tricycle (Php30.00) and asked the driver to drop us at the cathedral. The ride took us into the streets of the city, which interestingly has a few ancestral houses of its own. Ten minutes later and we were craning our necks at the towering belfry of the Romanesque cathedral.
According to the National Historical Commission marker near the gargantuan wooden doors, the church was originally from the shores of Bombon Lake but was destroyed by Taal Volcano’s 1754 eruption. The rebuilding of the cathedral on its present location was done in 1865 under Rev. Benito Varas, its then parish priest.
Outside, the cathedral’s cream-colored facade was not as massive as I thought it would be from the photos I’ve seen on the Internet, but once inside, the immensity of the structure becomes apparent. I followed the huge circular columns supporting the painted barrel ceiling of the church and was totally arrested as I arrived at the transept; the painted dome overhead was mind-blowing.Detailed paintings upon paintings of saints adorn the central dome and the three smaller domes around it. Architectural details are meticulously painted on its ceilings and walls, giving a three-dimensional texture to its flat surfaces. Did I say that I was totally blown away? I was totally blown away. This is the most intricately painted church interior I have ever seen ever, I cannot stop looking upwards.
I was so glad that we made an effort to visit Lipa Cathedral and witness firsthand its amazing interiors. I’d say that a trip to Lipa just to check its cathedral (aside from its thirteen other major churches) is reason enough to visit the city.
San Sebastian Cathedral
Address: C.M. Recto Ave., Poblacion
Lipa City, Batangas