2016, January 2. Church of Mabitac, Laguna, 4th Centenary
Litho Offset, Amstar Company, Inc.,
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15p The Church of Mabitac (Our Lady of
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First Day Covers: Manila & Mabitac,
Church of Mabitac, Laguna - 4th Centennial
Mabitac is a fifth class municipality in
the province of Laguna, Philippines.
Mabitac was an excellent hunting ground for wild game three
centuries ago. Native hunters used numerous cave-ins or trap-ins
called "bitag" in the local dialect.
Hence, the place was referred to as "Mabitag" meaning "a
place with many traps".
The first Spaniards who came to this place were the friars who
established the first Spanish settlement in the area and began to
Christianize the local population. The
Spaniards, having difficulty in pronouncing the "G" consonant,
called this place "Mabitac" whenever they mentioned this place.
Eventually, the name found
its way in the official records and maps of Laguna made by Spanish
cartographers and mariners who chartered the coastal areas of Laguna
This town was formerly a barrio of Siniloan, an immediate
neighboring town. It became an independent municipality only in the
year 1611, not by legislation, but by mutual agreement by and
between the Spanish friars of both towns who were then the
influential ruling class.
Mabitac was the site of a battle in the Philippine-American War,
when on September 17, 1900, Filipinos under General Juan Cailles defeated
an American force commanded by Colonel Benjamin F. Cheatham.
Mabitac was under the patronage of Nuestra Seņora de Candelaria or
Our Lady of Candles. The image of Nuestra Seņora de Candelaria was
commissioned between 1599 and 1600 by Don Cristobal Mercado for Paco
Church. After three years, in 1603, it was first brought to a
hospital-chapel in Los Banos.[ It was transferred to Siniloan in
1615 upon the request of Father Juan Miguel de Talavera to his
superior, Father Blas de la Madre de Dios. His plan was to place it
on a little mount between Inaguasan and Galoy, two barrios of
Siniloan, in aid of unification around his place. The people of
Mabitac sought the image to be placed in Mabitac and was enthroned
to their town in that same year.
The first church of Mabitac was the aforementioned church between
the two barrios of Siniloan. Due to flooding, the Franciscans
transferred the church on top of Calvary or Kalbaryo Hill in 1618
and made it out of stone. Originally, the church only had 96
steps but further improvements increased it to more than 120 steps.
It was seriously damaged during the 1880 earthquake and repaired
under the supervision of Father Antonio de la Fuente and again
severely damaged during the 1937 earthquake.
The church is known for its 126 steps connecting the local
road to the main church on top of the hill.
It has a Spanish style faįade.
Due to natural calamities and war, only the belfry connected
to the church is the remaining original structure of the original
1618 church. Since it became serviceable after the 1937 earthquake,
the church was greatly improved into its interior.