We’re down on our sixth destination as part of our Laguna Pilgrimage. After visiting the Pakil Church (Check: Saint Peter of Alcantara Parish) , we went to a church situated on top of a hill! This beautiful church in Mabitac, Laguna is dedicated under the patronage of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. It is indeed situated on top of the Calvary or Kalbaryo hill in Mabitac and is notable for its 126-step staircase that connects the church to the local town.
Reaching the actual church location is quite a challenge especially for elderly people. You can either do a minor trek through its paved inclined road, ride a tricycle, or use the 126-step staircase. If you have your own vehicle, then that would be much easier. Upon reaching the top-most portion of the Kalbaryo hill, you will be welcomed with a beautiful scenery. The church is wonderfully surrounded with a beautiful and serene landscape.
History-wise, the first church of Mabitac was situated between the barios of Inaguasan and Galoy of Siniloan. However, due to flooding, the Franciscans transferred the church on top of Calvary or Kalbaryo Hill in 1618 and made it out of stone.Like most old churches, Mabitac Church was also damaged in numerous occasion. It was utterly destroyed during the 1880 and 1937 earthquake.
The church has a Spanish-style facade but due to the natural calamities and war, only the belfry connected to the church is the remaining original structure of the original 1618 church. This 4-century old church in Mabitac has a very simple facade with minimal details.
It comes with small porch entrance with three small niches. The lower niches niches feature the images of Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Anthony of Padua while the upper one features a statue of San Isidro Labrador.
There is also a circular stained-glass window above the porch that features the image of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (Our Lady of Candle).
A life-size statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz can also be seen outside facing the church.
The 4-century old belfry of Mabitac Church. There is also another statue of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria above the side entrance. This one is facing the 126-step staircase that will take you to the local town.
The side portion of Mabitac Church
The famous 126-step Staircase of Mabitac Church. Originally, the church only had 96 steps but further improvements increased it to more than 120 steps.
The interior of Mabitac church is equally-beautiful. It has a single yet very spacious nave.
The church comes with a 2-level main retablo and 2 side altars.
The main altar enshrines the image of the town’s patroness. It is the original image of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria that was commissioned between 1599 and 1600 by the alferez, Don Cristobal Mercado for Paco Church. The image sits above the tabernacle. The altar also features the images of San Antonio de Padua (left) and Saint Vincent Ferrer (right) on both sides. The image of crucified Christ can be found on the upper niche along with the images of Filipino saints San Pedro Calungsod and San Lorenzo Ruiz on both sides.
The image of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria of Mabitac
Another image of Our Lady of Candelaria can be found on the side altar. The opposite side altar features the image of Saint Joseph.
The main altar (with the church’s image of Santo Niño)
The image of the Risen Christ located on one of the side entrances.
Near the main entrance, you’ll find an elevated platform that enshrines a Santo Entierro along with a huge painting of Christ
A huge painting of Jesus Christ on a black canvas
We also found the same huge paintings (with the same style) in Pangil Church but we will reserve those for the next post.
Nuestra Señora de Candelaria Parish or Mabitac Church was part of our Laguna Pilgrimage last year. After Mabitac, we headed next to our last destination which is the church in Pangil!
If you have suggestions or corrections, feel free to leave a comment.
You can check more of my Visita Iglesia series below
►List of Churches in CAVITE for Visita Iglesia
►List of Churches in BATANGAS for Visita Iglesia
►List of Churches in LAS PIÑAS and PARAÑAQUE for Visita Iglesia
►List of Churches in ZAMBALES for Visita Iglesia
►MANILA Pilgrimage Tour
►FIVE JUBILEE CHURCHES in MANILA
►List of Retreat Centers Near MANILA
►FATIMA Churches in CAVITE
►Seven Churches in TARLAC for Visita Iglesia