The Antipolo Cathedral, also a national shrine (National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage), is a favorite pilgrimage site. It’s one of the two well-known destinations in Antipolo (the other is Hinulugang Taktak). We decided to visit this cathedral one cloudy afternoon, in preparation for the visita iglesia we plan in the neighboring province of Laguna.
In front of the church is the marker placed in 1937 by the Historical Research and Markers Committee. The marker gives us a brief history of the Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje.
The statue of Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje was brought from Mexico to Manila by Governor Juan Nino de Tavora in 1626 and at his death in 1632 was turned over to the Jesuits for the Church of Antipolo. Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje was proclaimed Patroness of the Galleons. The statue crossed the Pacific, and returned, eight times on board the galleons of Acapulco: in 1641, 1643, 1645-46 on the San Luis; 1648-1649 on the Encarnacion; in 1650 on the San Diego; in 1851-1853 on the San Javier; in 1859-1662 on the San Jose and in 1746-1748 on the Nuestra Senora del Pilar. The statue of Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje was canonically crowned on November 26, 1926, by the Most Rev. Michael J. O’Doherty, Archbishop of Manila, on the Luneta, Manila, in the presence of at least one hundred thousand people.
We arrived in time for the 5:00 p.m. mass. It’s difficult to find the Cathedral’s location through the narrow and crowded streets of Antipolo. It’s even harder to look for a parking space. We can’t enter the cathedral premises or the public park beside it.
All the pews are occupied. The open area around the pews, still inside the cathedral but beyond the huge dome, is also the packed with people on their feet, spilling to the stairs and to the plaza below. Residents of Antipolo and travelers like us converge here.
The Antipolo Cathedral, built by the Jesuits between 1630-1633, damaged during the earthquakes of 1645, 1824 and 1883. We could have a good idea of strong earthquakes in the past based on damage to churches, just like the Manila Cathedral and the churches of Ilocos.