Parañaque Cathedral: The Catholic Bastion of South Metro Manila

Whenever one talks about the Catholic heritage of Metropolitan Manila, the focus is always on the Catholic Churches of the City of Manila. That should not come as a surprise as the city itself has been the center of activity for centuries while those outside Manila were then just considered as rural outbacks. In that context, while it is nice to see these towns progress to the cities they are now, it is unfortunate that in the process, some of that old town flavor got lost in the midst of urbanization and, sadly mostly unchecked, planning.

Nevertheless, some vestiges of heritage remain throughout the metropolis beyond the City of Manila itself, especially when it comes to churches. Some are well-known already like the St. Joseph Church in Las Piñas which is home to the famous Bamboo Organ. Then there is this church which we will talk about today, the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Barangay La Huerta in Parañaque.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral traces its roots as far back as 1580, when Augustinian missionaries established a parish in what was then known as the fishing village of Palanyag. Considering the largely fishing occupation of the people in the village, this new church would be dedicated to St. Andrew, one of the 12 Disciples/Apostles of Jesus Christ and also considered by the Catholic Church as the “patron saint of fishermen.” In addition, the church was also dedicated later on to the Marian image Our Lady of the Good Success or the Nuestra Señora de Buen Suceso, whose image is enshrined in the church.

The present church structure was built sometime between 1638 and 1650. It almost was demolished in 1662 as the Spanish colonial government under Governor General Sabiniano Manrique de Lara ordered the demolition in the wake of a possible attack by the Chinese pirate Koxinga. However, the Augustinians pleaded to spare the church. The government eventually granted their plea so only the nearby convent was demolished instead. And Koxinga died before the attack materialized, sparing Manila and the rest of the country in the process.

A monument of Fr. Pedro M. Dandan, a Parañaque native and a secular priest who was implicated in the Cavite Mutiny of 1892. He later joined the Philippine Revolution.

The church also survived the Philippine Revolution and World War II. With regards to adminstration, the church has seen such changes over the years from the Augustinians to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary before it was transferred to the administration of the Archdiocese of Manila in the 1990s.

Eventually, due to the growing Catholic population especially in southern Metro Manila, the need arose for a new diocese in the area. Thus, Parañaque, as well as Las Piñas and Muntinlupa became part of a new diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, the Diocese of Parañaque. St. Andrew’s Church was chosen to become the seat of the new diocese, thus becoming a cathedral church.

Thus, St. Andrew’s Cathedral stands today as an important Catholic bastion of southern Metro Manila, as this old church that has been overlooked over the years now plays a prominent role in the Catholic affairs in this part of the metropolis.

3 thoughts on “Parañaque Cathedral: The Catholic Bastion of South Metro Manila

  1. I always read your posts, as I get them in the mail, and they are very interesting. However, I wonder if you could include directions to your posts and Google maps? I live in Paranaque but don’t know where La Huerta is. Directions would be most helpful for people like me.

    Recently, some friends and I went on the Taal City tour. It was very easy to go there, because the blog about the tour included directions by car and by public transportation. Midway, we had to detour because of a felled oil container van. However, my daughter used Waze. None of us had Waze except her, so it was really helpful, but for old people like me, we never would have gone there in the first place if the blog included directions.

    Thank you so much!

    • Thank you for your insights. As much as I can, I try to provide directional info, especially for those places that not many people know about. Sometimes I tend to forget to that or take it for granted, especially in cases of places that are considered more “mainstream.”

      Moving forward, I’ll try to include that information in the posts. Or at the very least, make sure that there is mapped information about the place. I have just put up on the site The Urban Roamer’s Map (which you can check out in the menu above) which will eventually show all the places featured here, all put in the map for everyone’s reference. It is still a work in progress at this time of writing, but eventually every place that was featured here and all others in the future will be put in the map .

      Thanks!

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