It was almost lunchtime when the sky finally fell. We had to take shelter at the nearest food joint and ate our way through the massive downpour. We resumed our visita iglesia as the rain abated; next on our list was Laguna’s San Pedro de Alcantara Church or Pakil Church for short.
Like most old churches, Pakil’s own has survived through fires and earthquakes through reconstruction. The structure was initially made from bamboo in 1676 and was later upgraded to a stone church a half century later.
The church houses the Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba (Our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba) which was enshrined there in 1788. The oil painting is really quite small, almost bond paper in size and depicts Mary in pain as a dagger pierces through her heart.
It was said that the image was found by fishermen from the boat of shipwrecked missionaries crossing the Laguna de Bay, the icon however was unable to be lifted by the local folks. The parish priest, notified of the incident then gathered his people to fetch the image and as they began lifting, the people started singing and dancing.
It is interesting to note that the word Turumba has been associated with various meanings. Some says that it may have come from the words Turo which means to point and Umbay which denotes slow and sorrowful funeral music. Another popular interpretation is it has been derived from the phrase Natumba sa Tuwa or Trembling in Great Joy which might have reference to the festive dancing that ensued during the image’s transfer to the church.
Pakil Church’s cream-colored façade is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Its intricate Colonial Baroque design seems almost wood-like with its rust-weathered look. Upon closer inspection, one can see that it is really made of stone. Numerous cherubs adorn its walls along with decorative Corinthian columns. And like its neighboring churches of Morong, Baras and Paete, it is also elevated on a series of steps.
Although we were unable to fully photograph its interiors due to an ongoing mass, we can see from afar its ornate retablo filled with fourteen saints of the Franciscan Order. Another noteworthy painting inside is the Judicium Finale (see photo above) which depicts Heaven and Hell by a Paete local named Jose Dans. What’s intriguing about this painting is that Hell is populated only by women while men are on the heavens above, controversial to say the least.
The church is best visited during the Lenten season during the annual Turumba Festival. The commemoration starts during Palm Sunday and ends at Pentecost, during this time thousands of devotees congregate to Pakil to sing and dance to Turumba.
Pakil Church, San Pedro de Alcantara Parish
Tavera Street cor. TBR
Click to View Location on Google Maps
PART OF A RIZAL-LAGUNA LOOP DAY TOUR: Morong Church | Baras Church | Pakil Church | Paete Church
** Our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba Photo from Wikipedia by Chrs Aquino
** Judicium Finale painting photograph used with permission from Lisa of Lisaism