I gazed up at the still dark sky as I hailed a tricycle on the deserted streets of Roxas City. It was my second day in the province of Capiz and after having a cup of coffee at Lawaan Garden Inn, I immediately checked my map for my first itinerary of the day; Roxas City’s Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral.
It was the day of Sinadya sa Halaran and the plaza around the Cathedral in Roxas City was already busy with vendors setting up their wares for the upcoming festivities. A few early risers were also on their way to the church, wanting to hear mass before throngs of faithful flood the church.
It took a while before the sun fully rose and bathed the colonial-looking cathedral with its rays. A fountain located at the rotunda fronting the Roxas City Church started to gush with water, waking as the sun warmed its ornate central column.
I saw an inscription carved above the church entrance as I approached the structure, Reconstruida El Ano 1954.
Roxas City’s Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral was founded in 1707. The current structure which was once painted blue a couple of years ago is actually the third incarnation of the church.
Meeting similar fates with most of the Spanish-era churches in the Philippines, the original cathedral was destroyed by a storm while the second one was rocked by an earthquake.
The Roxas City Cathedral, painted in beige and earthy shades, would probably look like any other church if not for its uniquely shaped pediment and its octagonal belfry. I actually find the façade looking very Mexican in nature, not that I’ve been to Mexico, but that’s just me.
I followed the mass of people inside the church’s barrel-ceilinged interior. Painted in white and lit in soft yellows, its walls are sparsely decorated. Except for statues of saints placed at the window niches, there are hardly any other religious icons inside. Quite surprising for a Catholic Church.
It actually reminds me of the more modern Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa, Batangas; only this one’s yellower.
The main altar of the Roxas City Cathedral is as simple as the rest of the church, with only a plain statue of Immaculate Conception adorning its retablo.
Above the transept, a dome rises, surrounded by stars.
I took one last photo of the Roxas City Cathedral altar before going back out into the street. The sun has now fully risen and the crowd was starting to thicken. Excitement was in the air as festive music filtered into the air. Roxas City’s Sinadya sa Halaran was about to commence.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Address: Rizal Street, Roxas City, Capiz
Contact Number: (036) 621-0617
GPS Coordinates: +11° 34' 59.43", +122° 45' 11.03"
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