It may probably the first thing you’ll see upon approaching Culion Island. The red-colored walls of La Immaculada Concepcion Church is eye-catching from afar. It stands on a hill overlooking the sea and part of the town. It’s an even beautiful church up close and right beside it is Hotel Maya and a light house with war cannons pointing to the open sea. Since its nearby where we are staying, it’s easy to just visit this neighbor of a church and admire its wonderful details.
A Former Fortress
Written on the church grounds:
“The walls of the church were taken from the old fortress built in 1740. Its base and surrounding walls are hewn from live corals, although concrete has been poured in some areas. In 1933, the church underwent reconstruction under the supervision of Fr. Hugh McNulty. SJ. In 1978, Ben Amores, a patient, painted the ceiling with the design of Fr. Javier Olazabal. SJ. In 2003, Fr. Gabriel Gonzales. SJ. initiated the restoration and renovation of the Church in order to restore their work and preserve its structural integrity through the generous support of Fundation Anesvad. ~ Sponsored by the Society of Jesus”
Into the Details
We had to wait before an afternoon mass has ended to inspect the church as no one is around to go around the area especially on the light house. La Immaculada Concepcion Church a really charming. A series of stairs leading to the church, a few plants jutting out of the wall and especially its red-colored bricks on the side walls. Inside the ceiling looks newly painted. Then there’s these really nice angel faces on the designs. The original paint under it was painted by a handicapped leper patient. He has no hands so people has to tie the brushes to his arms and lift him up near the ceiling. Outside there’s a sculpture of a huge hand gently holding a baby on its palm. It symbolizes their stand against abortion. We sat down by the stairs facing the town where it’s nice and breezy. We could see the Eagle from that point and the street below. It’s one of those spots I could stay for a while and watch the world go by.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.