Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church (Pasig)

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Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is the official landmark of Pasig City. Its patroness is the Lady of the Immaculate Conception which was brought by the Augustinians in 1571. Acording to rector and parish priest, Roy Rosales, Pasig Cathedral, as it is more commonly known, is the first Marian parish in Asia.

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History

The parish was established on 30 March 1575, in a tri-annual meeting held in Manila. The Philippine Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Order of Saint Augustine accepted the convent of Pasig under the title “Conventus Visitationis Mariae de Pasi”. During this meeting, the mission of Bay, now known as Laguna, was included as a visita or jurisdiction of Pasig.

In 1595, the church's prior, Fray Juan de Alva, first constructed the building. Fr. Juan de Peñalosa served as his assistant.

Devotees of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception continually grew in numbers. In 1582, there were 2,000 attendees and by 1896, it had increased to 21, 507. This increase also catapulted the convent's economic status. Pasig became an essential mission center. It housed important parish priests including Hilarion Diaz, who became archibishop of Manila; Santos Gomez Maranon; Manuel Blanco, who authored “Flor de Filipinas”, which laid the groundwork for research on Philippine flowers; and Felix Trillo, who built a new convent of stone, founded the Beaterio de Sta. Rita de Pasig and built the Pariancillo Bridge and the streets of Pasig.

The present structure was built by Fr. Felix Trillo, OSA in 1762. When the British arrived in the Philippines, they used the church as horse stables.

Different chapels of Pasig that were dedicated to the Virgin Mary blossomed in the 17th century including Nuestra Señora de los Remedios chapel in Maybunga; Virgen del Pilar chapel in Sto. Tomas de Villanueva; and Our Lady of the Rosary chapel in Palatiw and Pinira that is presently called Rosario.

In 2003, the church was made into a cathedral. In 2008, the apostolic delegate of the Vatican to the Philippines canonically crowned the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. On 4 September 2009, four days before the birthday of their patroness, the parishioners of the church witnessed for the first time the changing of the “manto”, halo and crown of the Virgin Mary. It was presided by Pasig bishop Francisco San Diego together with Fr. Roy Rosales, cathedral rector and parish priest; Fr. Poly Ty and Fr. Randy Vergara of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.

Bro. Antonio Miguel, curator of the Diocesano Museo de Pasig said that the garment of a cononically crowned image shows the affinity between the patroness and her lay people. The manto was designed by Bobby Bonifacio who lived and worked in Málaga, Spain for 30 years.

Church facade

The facade of the church which is plain and airy is a fusion of the Neo-classical and colonial Baroque styles. Its bell tower is large in proportion to the facade. The only embellishment is the triglyphs which separate the first from the second and third levels. It has a few semi-arched openings and small rose windows on the second level. The triangular pediment is supported by Doric columns. On top is a miniature balustrade that is of Renaissance architecture. An Augustinian symbol of a stylized heart is on the second level.

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