BENGUET | The Iconic Pink Baguio Cathedral

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Plaza in Front of Baguio Cathedral

There were very few distinct memories of my first climb to Baguio. I was still in early high school then and the Hale Bopp comet can be clearly seen, steadily streaking above the lighted hills of the city. I recall entering Baguio Cathedral on our first night and I remember thinking how different the church looked from the ones I’m familiar with in Manila.

Baguio Cathedral's Ornate AltarThe cathedral is painted in a light pink hue and sports a neo-gothic façade. The day was waning as we entered the church then; the blue hour ruled the sky and the temperature was dropping fast. A multitude of faithful was crammed inside its barrel-domed halls and I was somewhat relieved of the warmth exuded by the crowd.

The Spacious Interiors of Baguio CathedralThe thing that impressed my young mind then were the wooden columns that supported the cathedral’s great ceiling. I’ve never seen such a thing in Manila where concrete was king. Chandeliers graciously hang above the nave and the windows were filled with colorful panes.

Holy Water Vessel at Baguio CathedralFast forward a decade later and I’m back in Baguio City. It’s the first since my very first. And like a faithful pilgrim, one of the first places I visited was the city’s cathedral by the hill. Not much has changed since my high school days; it still looked as graceful as ever with it twin spires and perfect rose window. And yes, it is still as unabashedly pink as ever.

Stained Glass Window at Baguio CathedralFast forward half a decade more. It’s now 2012 and this was where my feet took me on my very first day in the city. I was looking for cheap breakfast fare but was hard-pressed finding one along Baguio’s main thoroughfares. I took the side streets and ended up right by the church plaza.

Spire Details at Baguio CathedralBaguio Cathedral does not looked as old is it really is though. Built in the 1920’s after the Catholic mission established by Belgian Missionaries, it stands on a hill formerly called kampo by the local Ibaloi’s. That hill has since been renamed Mount Mary and is now replete with café’s and boutiques. The area has one of the most beautiful panoramic view of the city.

Prayer Candles at Baguio CathedralA miracle has saved this church from the devastating bombing that carpeted Baguio City during the Second World War, in turn making it a sanctuary for the wounded. I was unaware that the area surrounding the church was also made as internment ground for the fatalities of the war; to think that I used to wander around the place alone on late afternoons.

The 100-Step Stairs Leading to Baguio CathedralThe church can be accessed either through the thirst-inducing hundred-step stairwell from the lower Session Road or through a sloping hill at the upper portion of the same road. But if you want to cheat, you can also enter the mall right below the church and take the elevator to its top level, but where’s the fun in that?

Cold Mornings at the Baguio CathedralThe cathedral is officially named as the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral. But for most people, it is simply Baguio Cathedral. The Baguio Cathedral, if I may say so. It is one of the city’s most recognizable icon and rightly so.The Iconic Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Location MapBaguio Cathedral
Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral
Address: Fr. Carlu Loop, Cathedral Hill, Baguio City
Telephone: (074) 424-7871 | (074) 442-4256
Mass Schedule

GPS Coordinates: 16.412766,120.598469
Click to view location on Google Maps

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  1. Great photos. And great timing to avoid the Baguio crowd! :)

    1. I guess early mornings are the way to go to avoid the crowd :)

  2. ah, i'm getting home sick all of a sudden.. so that's how it looks like now.. :) nice shots!

  3. I hate the canopies skirting the cathedral now! and those canopies in the stairs. The idea back then is you get to enjoy the scenery while walking down the stairs. I guess the church administrators bastardized a really precious piece of architecture. haaaist!

    But your photography rocks!