St. Catherine's Church in Carcar, Cebu

The day after the Sinulog Festival, my friend Toni and I headed out to Moalboal and along the way we stopped by the municipality of Carcar not only to feast on lechon but to visit the St. Catherine of Alexandria Church as well.

The facade of the church has a decent size nothing grand unlike other churches in the Philippines, but still attracts attention courtesy of its architectural style that mixes an abundant of influences from its Greco-Roman themed altar, byzantine architecture and its two Islamic inspired arches that are shaped like a minaret and  resembles a gateway of some Moslem mosques.

The church was named after the town's patron saint, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and whose feast is celebrated every November 25th. It was built by the Augustinians with constructions done from 1860 until 1875 using stones as its main building material.  The church itself serves as the center in a town that also features a number of Spanish and American colonial houses, most of which are still well preserved and some functions as a museum.

Inside the church, you get to sense that its bigger than just by looking at it from the outside. The ceilings which was decorated by a colorful painting design makes the church looks longer inside and statues of saints adorns both sides while beams stands solidly along both flank of the church and a second level is found near the entrance as well as the stairway to the bell tower which I tried to climb but was met by a scary looking black dog who was resting on the steps.

There are also a few tombstones attached on the flooring and the walls of the church making it as among the few unique ones from the old churches I visited in the past.  The pulpit is accessible by a spiral staircase and patches of yellow and other colors which were remnants of its old paints are plastered on its walls, which add up to the rustic feel of the church - making it older than it is, which is always a delight to someone like me who prefers older structures than modern ones.

A few steps from the Church is the Carcar Museum and streets that features Spanish and American colonial houses and a market where we did some feasting on lechon. It was a great brief stop on the way to Moalboal and I recommend it to anyone planning on exploring the southern part of Cebu.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church is said to be the second oldest church in Cebu and it is located in a town known for its heritage sites making it an ideal town for history buffs and those fond of lechon and chicharon. Going here is very easy as there's buses, vans and jeepneys from Cebu city plying its route that passes here.

It was raining when we entered the church, but the sky turned brighter when we went out but still offering a few drops of rain. I took shelter near the front and took one look again at the facade of the church and thought to myself "Am I just staring at this church right now?" hard to believe, but I really did that day and how grateful I was to have this opportunity to travel and stop at random towns and be greeted with these kinds of places.