Daraga Church: Albay’s Historical Gem

December 27, 2017

Discover the rich history of the beautiful Daraga Church in Albay.

Daraga Church, with the Mayon Volcano in the background, is a composition that is postcard-perfect. It’s a vista that is sure to take your breath away.  

Façade of Daraga Church
The facade of Daraga Church

Daraga Church: Albay’s Historical Gem

    Visiting Daraga Church

    Daraga Church is also known as the Church of the Nuestra Señora de la Porteria also called Our Lady of the Gate but more commonly known as Daraga Church. 

    Visiting Daraga Church

    We visited this beautiful church when we went to Bicol in 2014. After breakfast at the homegrown Bigg’s Diner restaurant, we made a steep climb on a road until we reached the top of a hill where the church was perched.

    History of Daraga Church

    Daraga Church was constructed in the late 1700s by Franciscan missionaries in the old barrio of Daraga, then part of Cagsawa. 

    The door and intricate arch of Daraga Church
    The door and arch of Daraga Church

    Daraga became a municipality when the old town of Cagsawa was destroyed by the devastating eruption of Mayon Volcano during the early 1800s. The survivors of the eruption sought refuge in Daraga which has since then grown to be a first-class municipality that is a center of trade and business. 

    Daraga Church’s architectural style is touted as distinctive among local churches because it features a blend of three design influences: Renaissance, Gothic and Mexican baroque.

    Its façade, carved out of volcanic stone, features four spiral columns with medallions bearing images of the four Evangelists, Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    The elaborately-engraved façade also contains images of Our Lady of the Gate, Franciscan saints, and the coat of arms of the Franciscan order, among others. 

    Meanwhile, the multi-tiered belfry has an octagonal base, and sides that feature the images of the 12 Apostles. As can be expected, the volcanic stone is the primary material used to build the Daraga Church.

    Aisle and pews inside Daraga Church
    Inside Daraga  Church

    Daraga Church was used as headquarters by Japanese soldiers during World War II in 1945. Severely damaged because of the war, it was restored from 1971 to 1972.

    The Church is a National Cultural Treasure as declared by the National Museum. A historical marker officially confirms the Church’s status as a historical and cultural landmark.

    Daraga Church was named in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria or Our Lady of the Gate, the title given to the Virgin Mary because of her intervention which allowed mankind to enter the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Similar stories

    If you would like to read similar stories about churches and their history, you may refer to the following articles:
    This post may contain affiliate links, including those from Amazon Associates, which means that if you book or purchase anything through one of those links, we may earn a small commission but at no extra cost to you. All opinions are ours and we only promote products that we use.


    Leave A Reply

    Feel free to share your thoughts! Relevant comments are welcome on this site. However, spam and promotional comments will not be published.


    1. Hi, I commend you for wanting to explore your own country getting to know its culture and history as well as enjoying good food. I can see what you mean about the church having a distinctive appearance. I don't think I would see a church like this in Australia.

    2. Fascinating post! I love these kind of historic reporting pieces. I found it interesting that renovations took place in the 1970's thirty years after the war. Great photos!

    3. It was nice reading your experiences in the Daraga church. Lovely photos too.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Thanks also for visiting.

    4. Thank you so much for your kind words! Thanks also for visiting.

    5. Thank you very much for your kind words!