On Christmas Eve of last year we found ourselves in transit, traversing the long Maharlika Highway in Quezon. Destination: the town of Sariaya, Quezon. It was actually a gamble as the sun was setting already and there was a gathering of low, dark clouds – rain was coming at least in the areas of Tiaong, Candelaria, and Sariaya.
Nevertheless we tried our luck and arrived at the church in Sariaya just as the first drops of rain fell on the concrete patio. Inside, the church is a different world. The low lights and the stillness welcome a visitor to relax and reflect for a moment.
From the few notes I’ve gathered, the church’s origins seem to coincide with the emergence of the town of Sariaya.
* a simple Christmas decor, in fact a Nativity scene, found inside the church (one can guess when the visit to the church was made)
Sariaya and its Church: A Brief History
Sariaya’s history traces its roots back to a barrio called Castañas. Franciscan missionaries first came to the place and converted the sea people into Christians. The people were displaced due to the Moro attacks and arrived to the place then called Tumbaga or Lumang Bayan. Tradition has it that an image of the crucified Christ signified the eventual building of the church when the townsfolk, after finding the image still intact after a Moro attack, could no longer carry the image. They took it as a sign that the church should be built upon that very spot. Earthquakes and floods (in the year 1743) prompted the transfer of the church (and in effect the town as well) to its present site. Earlier churches were constructed in 1599, 1605, and 1641. The church that we see now was built in 1748.
The name of the church is St. Francis of Assisi Parish, under the Diocese of Lucena. The Sariaya Church is a cruciform church, with one side of the transept containing two altars and some pews.
* the church buttresses which also form part of the church side walls
* a view of the church structure from the outside
* a building window adjacent to the church which has a Spanish look and feel to it
* council of the cherubs; found on the side patio of the church
* Saint Michael the Archangel slaying the devil
* statues found outside the church (from left then clockwise) – a figure of Jesus on the Cross, a depiction of the Last Supper, Stations of the Cross, and a seeming stage
Travel notes say that the image of the crucified Christ housed inside the church (more commonly known as the Sto. Cristo de Burgos) is a miraculous image, making it more popular than the saint to which the church was named after. Unfortunately, I missed seeing the Sto. Cristo de Burgos when we visited the church. A revisit must be done definitely.