Republic of the Philippines - Stamps & Postal History

RP Issues of 2016











2016, January 2.  Church of Mabitac, Laguna, 4th Centenary

Litho Offset, Amstar Company, Inc.,  Perf 14

Singles,  Sheets of  40



15p  The Church of Mabitac (Our Lady of Candles) - Singles  (101,000) 



First Day Covers:  Manila & Mabitac, Laguna





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 de Bay.

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.,_Laguna





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Articles by Dr. Ngo Tiong Tak

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Issues of 2016