Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dipolog City Cathedral

“Over”! That’s what I first thought as I looked at the church upon alighting at the park. It was because I saw military men by the gate and I thought they were there to perennially guard the church. And the lowly brain even went far as to debating why this church would have military dudes with long firearms when even Cotabato’s or Zamboanga’s Cathedrals don’t have them. I continued onwards though, and passing by them, all gave me that cursory head-to-toe look as if their eyes were x-ray scanners. I still continued towards the church. A wedding was in progress. Argh! And there were more military dudes in uniform. But they seemed to be attending the wedding ceremonies than guarding the church. Hmm, so I asked one of the “guards” outside what was happening, why there were so many of them in the church and outside. Hasus! The bride in that wedding is/was daughter of one of their bosses, a general or something. No wonder! So I went out deciding to be back when the ceremonies would be over.

Good timing. When I returned, there were even no more traces that a wedding ceremony has just transpired. Flowers, ribbons and all were gone. Maybe the battalion helped out in swiftly cleaning up hehe.

Interesting church, cathedral I mean. It is obviously old but they have spruced it up though not with ultra-modern whatevers. I think they retained (or tried to maintain) the general inside look of this church when they spruced it up. You see that woman in black? She helped me a lot. She smiled at me on her way out, so I greeted her and asked her some questions, which she enthusiastically answered. So I came to know that this is called a cathedral (not church) though I still don’t know what’s the diff. This is more than a century old edifice with altar that was designed by no less than Dr. Jose P. Rizal – the national hero. Hmm, I was not even in Dapitan yet and I was already encountering traces of him. Whoa!

The ceiling looks fantastic. Woman told me most of it up there are still ‘original’. I half-protested saying they look new. She countered that those very certainly are not. She further informed me that those squares are made of Narra and those that are placed at the sides had to be manually heated and bent to the right angle to form that curved joint with the walls. My my, that must have been so many trees our forebears had to cut for this ceiling. Hey I’ve seen similarly styled ceilings in other churches somewhere. But I remember those were either decayed or replaced with painted plywood. In this cathedral, they’re still real wood and even still shiny - so says the woman anyway hehe. And those designs are I think carved within each square. What a grueling task to do whether that be done yesterday or a hundred years ago. Gosh!

Hey, to the side just after entering main entrance is something that to me looked like a barbecue grill sporting a sturdy metal cover. Of course that would have been ridiculous for such a thing inside a church, right?! So I asked the woman what might that be for. And OMG I gave out a stifled laugh… it is a baptismal font! Yeah, where baptism ceremonies are supposed to be held. The thing actually holds water instead of anything (I was imagining charcoal and wire grills hehe). Holy water actually, that which is used to wet the head of the child being baptized. I had to ask why the sturdy thing of a cover as if it was an armor. She said she does not understand that too, but she knows though that the font had to have a cover since children and sometimes even adults are tempted to play with the water that is supposed to be sacred. If I may add, birds too might declare it to be their in-church bird-bath if the thing is not covered. So… that is the “legend” of the barbecue grill inside the church hehehe. Am not being blasphemous, am I?! Oh well hehe!

Outside, the church looks wonderful enough. It is still obvious that the main structure is really ancient though it has received a lot of refurbishing touches to either spruce it up aesthetically or make it sturdier. General feel is you get to reminisce all other old churches in this country by just looking at that wall’s externals. The stones in riprap style, the big doors with concave ‘archway’ at the top, wooden doors… and the construction style. Well, I also liked the surroundings… ample concrete parking spaces, though I know it must have made the church a bit warmer, the well tended planters and grass areas, the era-style lampposts and of course the modernistic parish building (that probably also houses their convent) with a nice green roof that seems to dominate the view. I like this place, its always breezy.

Let's go to a nearby place next, k?!

1 comment :

  1. Hey Great post. I live in Dipolog City. It's a great place to live. I've been to that Cathedral. They have an English mass at 6:00pm on Sundays.