Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mactan Parish Church / Magellan’s Hat

That is the Sto. Nino De Cebu – Mactan Parish for an exact name. And you cannot miss those ultra big letters that dominate the frontage of this church. I hopped into this church for a visit on my way to the Imperial Palace Resort in Maribago, Mactan as it is just along the road. No I did not have this church on my list as anything to visit that day, though I have always passed by it, musing that the architect must have be real imaginative. Yep, this church is more well-known by the roof’s shape imitating the shape of Magelllan’s hat, than anything else.

The other thing that attracted me to this church is not only the shape of the roof but the quite ample concrete frontage that it has. Yeah yeah… makes the church some kind of really really important for them to have built it with such a spacious parking area. And I thought those colored glass panels used on some parts of the front wall seem to portray something (they’re not clear viewed from the outside during daytime). So, when my jeep ride from Hi-way passed by this church, I jumped out like a kid to the surprise of the driver and some passengers hehe!

“Sir, layo pa ang Imperial”, so hollered the driver. I just smiled and flashed a thumbs-up sign at him so he could go on with his trip, and I to enter this church hahaha. Where did I come from anyway? Ah, “Hi-way Mandaue”. Actually a connecting ride since I took a previous jeep ride to said hi-way area from the house. Who needs a cab anyway, right?! So there I was, entering the wide expanse of a concrete field walking towards the Sto. Nino De Cebu – Mactan Parish.

I went to see this church just to marvel at whatever the structure maybe worth marveling about, since this is nothing historic or something the church or the city can brag about in terms of cultural or religious significance(I think). It’s a fairly new church built sometime in the late 1990s (I think) since I have not seen it during my travels to this place earlier than 1996. The shape of the roof is a bit of something though. For the unfamiliar, its even almost weird or ugly, but yes, it commands attention or at least a second glance when passing by. But for those who know that said roof is trying to mimic the shape of Magellan's hat, then curiosity comes in. that headgear that our conquistadores wore. Yeah, that's it.

I have a few notes on this visit, and I won't be surprised if you might roll your eyeballs at what I have to tell next whaahehehe, here I go...

The expanse of a concrete parking area fronting the church and even wider is a favored parking area of tour vehicle drivers. I saw cars, vans, mini-buses and the likes – all yellow plates. I even got to say hello to one a one of the drivers who still remembered me having used their services many times when I was not yet a resident of Cebu! See?! There are wonderful things I encounter when roaming around hehehe. Psst, I’ll just whisper it to you… in that area, drivers rest, eat their lunch, clean their vehicles or even ask some kids to do a manual and quick carwash. I asked one driver if they pay for being allowed to park in those premises and how much. First he said no, hesitated a bit and then said yes. Hmm… Anyway, there you are... if by chance you're on a tour and going out to lunch or stay a bit longer in one place... tell your driver to rest at the Mactan Parish hahaha! See? At least we learned something hehehe!!!

Hey, I was not wrong thinking those colored glass panels would be interesting to look at. They are beautiful viewed from inside the church as sunlight illuminates them more. And those are fantastic works of art depicting the holy trinity. It all the more overwhelms when you get near them as they are actually enormous in size. That is most especially the central mural of Sto Nino that takes the height from the choir loft all the way to the roof. And they're not abstract or outlines but realistic 'paintings' (are the called paintings?!) with physical features and facial expressions. Impressive! Photo enthusiasts, I urge you to troop there, those are very nice shoot subjects am sure – esp with the morning sun.

Ah, I saw 3 kids inside the church. Nope, they were not praying. I think they were there to rest inside the cool breezy church. Two of them were watching me and some other tourists roam around the church and click some pics. I did not look directly at them lest I disturb their silent rest just sitting on the last pews watching mostly Korean tourists.

When I was up the choir loft, I had a chance to peep down at them and OMG, one of the boys was fast asleep with his backpack as pillow. I could not make out if they were streetkids or just schoolkids who went inside the church to rest. Whatever, I felt happy they consider this church a resting palce or a refuge. Who knows,later they might actually start praying or do what the faithful do. I think that white round container contains cooked rice – their lunch probably. Oh my… I am never happy encountering these kinds of scenarios when I’m on my way to some luxurious resort for a buffet lunch. Makes me feel guilty. Anyway, still up at the choir loft, I caught myself murmuring… “Lord please bless the children”…

But I must go see the Imperial Palace. So, let’s go?

NB: Mactan (while it is also the name of the whole island) is 'just' a Barangay in the City of Lapu-lapu whose patron saint is the "Nuetra Señora Virgen de Regla" and that Parish Church is located at Barngay Opon near the Muelle Osmena wharf. There are two localities in the whole island - 1) Lapu-lapu City and 2) the town of Cordova


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