The One about Cagsawa Church in Albay, Phillippines

Located not far from the Mayon Volcano (about six miles away) is the Cagsawa Ruins and what is left of the 16th Century Franciscan Church a.k.a. The Cagsawa Church.

The church was built back in 1587 but was burned down by Dutch pirates in 1636 and rebuilt in 1724.

But in February 1814, the town of Cagsawa and surrounding areas suffered one of the worst disasters when the Mayon Volcano erupted.

In 2014, novelist Abdon M. Balde Jr. featured photos of proof that the Cagsawa Church was not buried but was destroyed possibly by 120 years of neglect.  The

To corroborate the visual proof by Balde Jr., Kurt Zepeda posted as a comment on Balde’s Facebook page:

Most of the eyewitness accounts to the 1814 eruption (people of Cagsawa in a report to the Alcalde Mayor of Camarines, March 19, 1814; Aragoneses, 1815; Tubino, 1816) were unanimous in describing the event: there was first a “rain” of large fiery rocks, followed by a rain of smaller rocks, ashes and sand. No lava and no report that the church was buried. The event, as well as accumulated debris from subsequent volcanic activities throughout the 19th century apparently contributed to burying a portion of the church as it appeared in the 1908 photo by Squires and Bingham Co.–probably the earliest photo of the ruined church. This portion is the lower one third of the facade and its corresponding levels in the bell tower and casa parroquial. A 1934 photo by Pendleton of the church cleared of vegetation showed the exposed upper two-thirds of the facade, including the pediment and choir window. The entrance is underneath. The escuela in front of the church also has its pediments exposed and most of its walls buried.

The ruins are located in Barangay Busay, Cagsawa, which is in the municipality of Daraga, Albay, Philippines.  The church and the ruins are part of Cagsawa Park and is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting the area.

One can get to the area via bus (12-14 hours) or via a 55-minute flight from Manila to Legazpi Airport.



Dennis A. Amith