Calvary Hills

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Church at the Calvary Hills.

The Calvary Hills of Iguig, Cagayan Valley consist of 11 hectares of rolling hills atop which are found enormous concrete statues portraying the 14 Stations of the Cross. Because of this, it is a favorite pilgrimage site during Holy Week. Also found in this area are historic sites: a well dating back to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, the ruins of a Dominican abbey, and one of the few churches with buttresses left in the Philippines -- the Church of San Antonio de Galicia.

The hills lie about 16 kilometers from Tuguegarao City. The hills have a view of Cagayan River, which can be reached via a stairway at the back of the church. There is also another church nearby which draws believers: Jubilee Cross Chapel, which boasts an authenticated relic of the true Cross.

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Church of San Antonio de Galicia

The church, constructed from brick and stone, appears small and rather austere from the front. In the back, however, one finds traditional flying buttresses; it is the only church in the Philippines to have these. The church is believed to have been erected circa 1765 to 1787 under the parish priest Pedro de San Pedro, who also built the well, the convent, the staircase, and a bridge. It is the first church in the Cagayan Valley region to make use of galvanized iron sheets for roofing. The church was renovated in the 1980s when Father Camilo Castillejos was the parish priest.

There is a brick stairway behind the church which leads to the river. It was used by Spanish officials who traveled from town to town by river, and by merchants who needed to transport goods to and from galleons.

The old well in the church grounds is made of limestone and brick. It was constructed in 1768 and was the entire town’s source of drinking water for many years.

The Stations of the Cross

The fourteen statues depicting the suffering and death of Jesus were made in 1982, conceived by parish priest Rogelio Cortez. They are larger than life-sized, brightly-colored, and spread out over an area of 4 hectares of hills behind the church.

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