As we are now based in Laguna province, we are collating a list of churches we consider as the best here in Laguna. Some of the criteria would be how old the church is, how majestic the feeling it gives us, and if it is the main church in any of the Laguna towns that we will be visiting. Our current list is top 9 but the list may get longer as we accomplish visiting all of the towns here in Laguna, Philippines.
1.) Church of Nagcarlang
The first church which was of light materials was built by Rev. Tomas De Miranda who was assigned in Nagcarlan in 1583 as resident priest. The second church, of brick and stone, was built in 1752, but was partly destroyed by fire in 1781 a choirlift was added to the reconstructed church in 1845 by Rev. Vicente Velloc, who built the Nagcarlang Cemetery and its underground crypt.
2.) National Shrine of San Antonio De Padua, Pila, Laguna
In this church resided the Franciscan priest who published the first printed book in the Philippines- The Doctrina Cristiana.
3.) Immaculate Conception Parish of Sta. Cruz
Church of Santa Cruz, dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion, was originally constructed of stone in 1608 under the direction of Franciscan Father Antonio De La Llave, the first parish priest. Enlarged in 1672 by Father Miguel Perciva with the addition of two wings giving the church the form of a cross. In 1850, Father Juan Antonio Marzo built the principal nave and the convent and remodelled the five altars. Destroyed by fire on 26 January 1945 during the liberation. Reconstructed in 1948 under the auspices of the 10th post-war executive planning council of Santa Cruz through the initiative of Reverend Father Mariano Limjuco.
4.) Church of Liliw
The ecclesiastical administration of Liliw belonged to Nagcarlan up to 1605. The Church and convent of Lilio (now known as Church of Liliw) were seriously damaged by earthquakes of 1880. The reconstructed church were partly burned on April 6, 1890.
5.) Church of Magdalena
The church dedicated to the heroine of love, St. Mary Magdalene, is made of strong materials and situated on a hill of solid rock. Its construction was initiated under the direction and supervision of Rev. Frs. Fray Maximo Rico, Fray Jose Cuesta, Fray Joaquin de Coria and Francisco de Paula Gonzales, completed and beautifully adorned in 1854 by its zealous priest the Rev. Fr. Fray Jose Urbina de Esparragosa.
The Church of Magdelana was built for 16 years, 1821-1839 and 1849-1855. The Bell was built in 1851 and the convent was built 1871-1872. All of the gravels and sand were extracted from the nearby river. The first parochial priest was Antonio Moreno who started August 5, 1821.
6.) Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church, Pagsanjan
Founded in 1687 originally of bamboo and nipa. Reconstructed on 1690, 1853, 1872 and 1950.
7.) San Agustin Parish Church, Bay
San Agustin of Hippo Church was built by the Augustinians in 1571. Due to constant flooding, the church was transferred from its original site near Laguna Lake to its present site in 1804.
8.) Church of Lumbang (aka San Sebastian Parish)
The Church was for a time the center of all missionary activities in Laguna. The original church of wood and thatch, was destroyed by fire, being replaced by the first stone church to be built in Laguna, completed here in 1600. A solemn eucharistic procession was held here on October 9, 1600. The church was seriously damaged by the earthquakes of 1880. A rest-house for sick franciscan missionaries was maintained here from 1606 to 1618.
9.) St. John The Evangelist Parish Church- Kalayaan, Laguna
10.) Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul The First Hermit- San Pablo City