Marinduque is rich with religious history. In every town, there is a main church or cathedral, usually on top of a hill. We were able to visit 3 churches: the Boac Cathedral, the Gasan Church and the Sta. Cruz Cathedral. All of the churches shared similar structural features reminiscent of centuries-old Spanish-inspired churches.
The first church we visited was the Gasan Church. To get to it, from the National Highway we had to climb up a steep road then a series of stairs. Once we reached the top, the view was rewarding. We got a glimpse of the Gasan beaches and the Tres Reyes Islands while a cool breeze relieved us of the heat from climbing up the steep staircase.
The church itself is magnificent. To get to the church proper, we had to climb another set of stairs. But once done, the church interior was wonderful. The ceiling had intricate fan carvings while the altar had coves which housed different saints. Beneath the church were the catacombs but we no longer explored it.
Later that day, we visited the Boac Cathedral which is the oldest church in the island built in 1656. It is situated on top of a hill in a place they call Mataas na Bayan. Before you can reach the cathedral you have to make a steep climb first towards it. But the steep climb is worth the effort. At the top of the hill is the cathedral’s compound which includes the church itself.
Last on our list was the Sta. Cruz Cathedral. Like all the other churches, this was also perched on top of a hill. But it was easier to reach because it was not the lone structure uphill. Most of the town was built on a hill so we didn’t really feel the uphill climb to reach the church unlike the others.
Churches would always be part of our heritage and culture as Filipinos and thus when visiting new places around the country, churches also become a major destination. One can’t help but marvel at their historical architecture and the faith of the community attached to it. In the case of Marinduque, such faith is always tested as I can imagine the hardships the people go through to make the uphill journey every Sunday or every time they wish to attend church.