The first thing I usually ask around for when in a new town or city is their church. Not because I’m super religious or anything but due in part to my obsession with history for the old ones; and interesting architecture for the modern ones. With no idea what the church of Ozamiz City looked like, I hailed a pedicab after feasting on a variety of Ozamiz’ street food and quickly asked the driver to bring me their cathedral.
All I know is that Ozamiz’ Immaculate Conception Cathedral is one of the places to visit while in Ozamiz City. Well, not that there’s a lot really. There’s the Cotta Fort near the pier and the controversial Dolphin Island Sanctuary in Sinacaban. And that’s basically it, as far as I know.
Although the parish has been established since 1789, a very modern cathedral loomed ahead as I entered through its white gates. The symmetrical architecture of the church is beautifully executed but no trace of history can be seen from its painted facade.
Interesting larger than life sculptures flank the church entrance. A figure, holding a book or a tablet, stepping on another bearded figure rises on the right side of the cathedral. I’m unsure what it depicts, probably good overcoming evil?
I stepped indoors and was wowed by the interiors of the Ozamiz Cathedral. It looked even more beautiful inside. The rhythm of its arching beams and buttresses gives it a really modern feel. The combination of curving and straight architectural lines really worked well.
And this is echoed along the cathedral’s long transepts where a series of arched beams and columns form a nice tunnel-like rhythm; the geometrically-windowed exterior walls adding texture and illumination to the area.
But the thing to see at Ozamiz’ Cathedral really is its German-made pipe organ. It is the second largest in the Philippines and the only one of its kind in the whole of Mindanao. Unfortunately, I was unable to take a closer look even if I begged and pleaded to be allowed inside the choir loft, even for only a few seconds.
While old crumbling stone churches are what usually interests me, Ozamiz City’s Cathedral surprisingly held me at rapt attention even without any historical trappings. I guess the architect in me found a really beautifully designed structure that can hold its own, even if its walls are not made out of coral stones.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Address: Rizal Avenue, Ozamiz City
Contact Number: (088) 564-2911
GPS Coordinates: +8° 8' 45.18", +123° 50' 36.06"
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