Considered as one of Baguio’s well-kept historical structures, Baguio Cathedral (also known as Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral) is a shining beacon of the resilience and survival of Baguio in the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. While much of Baguio was left damaged or completely flattened by the carpet-bombing of the Americans, this historical edifice was left intact and served as a refuge for many local residents during the war.
1. Baguio Cathedral can be traced to the Catholic mission established by the Scheut Missionaries (also known as the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae Missionaries) from Belgium in 1907.
2. The first chapel, which was dedicated to Saint Patrick was built in the middle of Session Road, now one of the busiest thoroughfares in Baguio City.
3. Its Neo-Gothic design separates it from the mostly Romanesque and Baroque churches in the country.
Also known as Victorian Gothic, Gothic Revival, and Jigsaw Gothic, the Neo-Gothic architectural movement started in 17th century in England and draws features from the original Gothic architectural style. This includes steeply pitched roofs, pointed arch, slender columns, castle-like towers with a crenellated parapet or a high spire.
Among the most well-known Neo-Gothic structures include the San Sebastian Church in Manila, the Church of St. Ludmila in Czech Republic, Osijek Co-cathedral in Croatia, São Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral in Brazil, and the Saint-Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
4. The construction of the Baguio Cathedral started in 1920 in its present location. It was originally referred to as Kampo by the native Ibalois and was later renamed as Mount Mary by the Catholic mission headed by the late Fr. Florimond Carlu, a Belgian missionary.
Ibalois are an indigenous ethnic group collectively known as Igorot. They originally had a settlement in the surrounding area, where the church is currently located, in the latter part of the 19th century.
5. In 1936, Baguio Cathedral was finally consecrated and was dedicated to Our Lady of the Atonement (Domina Nostra Adunationis).
6. During World War II, the Cathedral served as a refuge for thousands of locals during the aerial bombardment of the Americans to retake Baguio from the Japanese Imperial Army.
7. While much of Baguio’s colonial structures were left badly damaged or completely flattened by the bombing, Baguio Cathedral was left standing which helped save thousands of lives.
The Manila Project
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