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Visita Iglesia in Camarines Norte: Come to this 400-year old Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church in Vinzons

Vinzons, Camarines Norte, Philippines
Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church

"Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church in Vinzons, Camarines Norte is now my top pick if ever I get married someday to a fellow Catholic, I will have it here". 

Catholic churches in the Philippines are the equivalent to temples in Southeast Asia. They are everywhere. I, myself have seen hundreds around my country already. Two weeks ago, we went for the second time to this province in the Bicol region. One of the tourist spots we visited in Camarines Norte is this beautiful church with a name still retained in Spanish - Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church in the town of Vinzons. I'm an old school type of girl in terms of value especially if we talk about heritage and culture of one place or thing. This church really caught my attention because it's a vintage place for Catholic worshippers. It's said to be more than 400-year old already. Actually, there's another church in Camarines Norte as old as this which is the one in Paracale. We went there as well on our first trip and was able to see personally the original image of Our Lady of Candelaria statue which is made of pure gold and ivory! It is kept in an airconditioned room and guarded by a video camera open 24/7. 

Our visit was special because we were able to talk to the parish priest of Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol, Fr. Toti Angeles. He explained to us the beginnings of this church as well as pointing out which are the parts that are original, refurbished and all that. This church was destroyed many times by fire and calamities so technically, the only "real" parts of this church are the coral stone walls including the rafter and roofing. However, the church's appearance today is said to be just as the same as the one before. Fr. Toti and the rest of his comrades did tremendous research of its history and inventory that goes back to 1913 to make sure it would like as the original one. 

Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church IN VINZONS CAMARINES NORTE
Credit to Jessica Apostl of CodesandTravel

If you're a pilgrim, a devotee of Saint Peter or just one who wants to offer a prayer to the One above, this church is perfect for you. Here are the reasons why Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church is worth dropping by on your way to Calaguas or before going home since both are located in the same town of Vinzons:

1. Retablo
Through the help of archival documentation such as pictures given by the parishoners, the look of old retablo was brought back to life. This is credited to Fr. Julito Heraldo's amazing knowledge of the church's history. Even the nitty-gritty details of the images of the saints enshrined in it were done just the same.

oldest church in camarines norte

2. Doors
The wooden doors of Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church is decorated by Hamindang leaves from which Indan, the previous name of the town from 1624 - 1946 .The other markers depict the major periods in the history of Vinzons as a town and as a parish. 

Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church camarines norte

3. Coral stone (church walls), rafter and roofing
Restoring the only original part of this four-centuries church was the most difficult and painstaking task. After six months of research, a structural engineering specialist declared that "based on the results of material testing, the strength of the coral stone was reduced by almost 20% but the overall structure is still good for occupancy considering the earthquake and wind design based on the requirement of the Building Code"

Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church bicol

4. Wall paintings
The original church of Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol had paintings under the roof but Fr. Toti said it has no artistic value so they decided to showcase images of the life and mission of Saint Peter. These paintings hang on the walls so that it would be much visible to those who are inside the church. Multi-awarded Hermes Alegre, an accomplished painter, did 10 canvasses for this church. 

old churches in the Philippines

5. Machuca tiles
The floor of Saint Peter the Apostle Church of Vinzons is made of Machuca tiles, it is the oldest tile manufacturing business in the Philippines dating back to late 1900's. Baldozas mosaicos is the correct term for these Mediterranean cement tiles.

Machuca tiles

6. Welcome arch
Not all beautiful churches have arches. Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church's arch is patterned exactly to the one St. Peter's arch in Rome. 

Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church Vinzons

Other parts of the church that I have no photos are:

7. Ceiling
There's a sacred artwork on the ceiling of the church. The design is an exact copy of the old ceiling by Arch. Emerson Reodique. This is a reflection and an expression of human creativity and perception of the sense of the divine.

8. Choir loft
This is a reproduction of the old choir loft. It is constructed through pictures discovered in the archival documentation. It was further discovered that the ceilings of the first floor are decorated with centuries-old woods. Architect Jeremy Balagat designed the current choir loft in this church.

9. Communion rail
It is said that the communion rail has no liturgical function but it was restored due to emotional attachment of some of the old parishioners. Before, people would kneel down in order to receive the Eucharistic Lord but it is not observed nowadays.  Old pictures were used to determine its original design. 

10. Stained glass windows
The stained glass windows of this church are manufactured by KRAUT Enterprises INC, a company that manufactures this kind of windows since 1902. Through the expertise of Architect Reynaldo A. Inovero, a conservation architect & former chief of the Historic Preservation Division of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the centuries-old wood recovered during the clearing of the church was re-installed at the ceiling of the windows. 

We were also able to roam around the church. It's a nice experience to breathe fresh air! Beside the church you'll the Blessed Sacrament Chapel which is open daily from 6:30 AM - 7:00 PM. You can also pray and light a candle at the Gallery of Saints. It is also available every day from 5:00 AM - 5:00 PM.Fr. Toti said that Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church is the church in the whole Camarines Norte where "penitencia" is observed ever since that's why this is a perfect place for anyone who is looking for a new church to visit for the visita iglesia. 

St. Peter the Apostle Church, Camarines Norte

He also has sentiments over couples who got married in this church - that it is not respected well. I do hope that those who are reading this especially those who are planning to get married in the future in this beautiful and historical church in Camarines Norte, to please follow the rules of the parish. For example, for the bride wear proper dress. For the rest, don't do other activities inside the church that against the teachings of Catholicism.

Fr. Toti Angeles Parish Priest Parish of Saint Peter church Vinzons, Camarines Norte.jpg
Fr. Toti Angeles Parish Priest Parish

Opening and closing hours
  • The church is open an hour before all the masses every day. It will be closed 30 minutes after the mass from Monday to Saturday. Every Sunday, the church is open in between the two masses both in the morning and afternoon.
  • If you want to gain access outside the schedule above, you need to contact the parish church or the office if he is not around.
  • If you are coming as a big group like tourists or pilgrims, it is best to send a formal letter at least 3 days before the trip.
  • There should always be a member of the parish staff who should accompany those who will visit the church.

Religious services offered
  • Natural family planning counselling
  • Mass wedding
  • Free baptism
  • Pastoral care for the elderly and sick
  • Prayer request
  • Saturday parish catechesis for high school students
  • Sunday parish children catechesis
  • Pre-sacramental preparation for baptism
  • Catechism for prayer
  • Formation of the youth
  • Parish indigency program

List of religious activities and Catholic festivals observed Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church
  • Penitential Procession
  • Bagong Buwan
  • Vivahan
  • Harian
  • Pinetensya
  • Via Crucis and Alay Pasan Krus
  • Pabasa ng Pasyong Mahal
  • Flores de Mayo
  • Santacruzan
  • Dalaw Patron
  • Sunduan
  • San Luis
  • San Roque
  • Paglilibot ng Birhen Penafrancia

Saint Peter the Apostle Church address: Barangay III, Anacleto Guinto St., Vinzons, Camarines Norte

Directions, how much and how to go to this church
From Manila by bus, it takes 8-9 hours to reach Daet. Fair is Php 500 - 1, 000 depending on your bus type. From there, you can take a jeep to bring you to the town of Vinzons. We are still in the process of knowing the fare from Daet to Vinzons proper then to this church. If you know a local who can give us this answer, will be happy to hear from you.

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