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The St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church in Oas was founded in 1605 by Franciscan missionaries. Fray Marcos de Lisboa was its first pastor. The first Oas church was made of wood and cogon grass. In 1825, a bigger church with a rectory was built out of volcanic rocks and bricks. The construction of the new church was supervised by Fray Francisco de Anunciacion O. Peñaranda.
The Parish Church of St. Dominic de Guzman is the most prominent landmark in the quaint and picturesque town of Sto. Domingo. Built in 1820, the church is built with massive solid stone walls unsupported by pillars. Two dome-shaped belfries give a graceful symmetry to the church. Since cement was not yet used during the construction of the Sto. Domingo church, massive stone walls were built using a mixture of lime, egg albumin, and “tangguli” (or molasses) that serve as binder and hardener.
The Parish Church of Guinobatan, Albay is dedicated to Our Lady of Assumption. Guinobatan as a parish started as a visita of the Municipality of Camalig in 1672. By 1678, Don Francisco Bagamasbad, Chief of the ‘Tenientes Absolutos’, spearheaded a petition to the Governor-General of the Philippines to elevate the visita into an independent municipality. This effort achieved fruition in 1688 when the request was granted. Rev. Fr. Alfonso de Zafra was the first minister of the Parish of Guinobatan. Soon after, the first Guinobatan church was built.
The church of San Juan Bautista in Tabaco City is one of the most stately religious structures in the province of Albay. According to the Estado Geografico Estadistico Historico written in 1805 by Father De Huerta, the recorded history of the city began in 1587 through the missionary work of the Franciscan Fathers. A church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint, was first built in Tabaco in 1616 by Fr. Pedro De Alcareso. The construction of the present church started in 1864 and was completed in 1879. The Tabaco Church is unique among Philippine churches because the stones used to build the church bears the distinct marks of the masons.
The Church of St. John the Baptist (San Juan Bautista) in Camalig is another imposing religious structure in the province of Albay. The church is built entirely out of solid blocks of volcanic rock from Mount Mayon. Christianity was brought to Camalig by Capt. Luis de Guzman together with Father Alonzo Jimenez, an Augustinian priest who came with the Legaspi expedition. Evangelization was started in 1578 by the Augustinian missionaries.
The Daraga Church is the crowning glory of religious architecture in Albay.
The St. Raphael Parish Church is located right in the heart of the Legazpi Port District, the city’s main business district. The Legazpi Port District began as a barangay called Sawangan whose inhabitants were mostly fishermen and farmers. In 1587, Franciscan friars of the Doctrina of Cagsawa began to convert the settlement to Christianity and in 1616 they transformed it into a separate town and parish called Albay.
The Cathedral of St. Gregory the Great, also called the Albay Cathedral, is the Episcopal Seat of the Diocese of Legazpi. The cathedral started as a wooden chapel built by early Spanish missionaries who moved into the town in the 1580s. It was damaged by American bombers and reconstruction went beyond 1951. The church was elevated to become a cathedral when the Episcopal See of the Diocese of Legaspi was established.
The Visita Iglesia (Church Visits) is a tradition that Catholics observe during the Lenten season. Visita Iglesia is often practiced on Holy Thursday during the Holy Week. On this day, the faithful visit seven churches to offer a solemn prayer and contemplate on the fourteen Stations of the Cross.
San Miguel Island is located off the eastern coast of Albay in the Lagonoy Gulf. It is part of Albay’s chain of islands that include Cagraray, Batan and Rapu-rapu. San Miguel Island is home to an island marine reserve established by Coastal Resource Management Project in San Miguel Island (COREMAP-SMI).