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Saturday, March 2

Sagada Stone Church: An Anglican Fossil

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The Stone Church of Sagada was established by early Anglican missionaries.
Sagada, a small uphill village in the Mountain Province, was like any other towns in the Philippines. It has a church nearby the town hall. But the church, more commonly known as the Stone Church of Sagada, was not of any Spanish descent. Instead it was an Anglican convent, meaning it is of relation to the Episcopal churches of the English people. So after our cool down from walking, we eventually proceeded with our Echo Valley tour which commonly starts with the church of Sagada.

The full video of Sagada teaser. One part featured here is the Stone Church. You can turn on HD settings.

Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada

Sagada did not fail me. Even though the mountain views to Sagada were already a treat to the eyes, Sagada has still more to offer. And when I say more, it’s MORE. Like its’ never ending.One may see Sagada as plain nature adventure, but looking into its heritage, it also has a wonderful history.

My Sagadan friend Christian told me that his town was never reached by the Spanish conquerors because of two reasons—Sagada is an uphill village and Sagada is not easy to reach during that time. Spaniards were not brave enough to climb the mountains thousands of feet above the sea. So when the Spaniards came to the Philippines to spread Roman Catholicism, they are not successful enough to do it in the Cordillera. So when the Americans came, they planned to reach the extents of mountain towns. Sagada was one of their hill stations then.
The Anglican Church of Sagada

See these stained glass inside the stone church.
 If you happen to be like me who lives in the Cordillera region, you will observe that no similar churches you see in the lowlands of Luzon can be found in the Cordillera. Of course we do not include the modern day churches like Iglesia Ni Cristo and other sects. Remember that castle-like pink-colored Baguio Cathedral? This particular church was established by the Belgian missionaries (from Belgium).Sagada Stone Church on the other hand was established by the first Anglican missionaries in the Philippines. Their primary mission in Sagada is to convert “the faith once delivered to the Saints” to the community. But would you believe that like Baguio, Sagada was once envisioned as a metropolis that will serve as a beacon of modernization?

Children reading books on the church grounds.
The cross above the Stone Church of Sagada

The advocate was Rev. Armitagee Staunton and he planned Sagada to be a city aside from being a Christian community. To materialize everything, he established the basic town amenities like a worship place (the church), schools, hospital, hydroelectric plant, telephone system, lime kiln, printing press and others. It’s like Baguio. But because Sagada is very hard to reach, the growth was slow. But this particular history made Sagada even more famous for outdoor seekers. Imagine Baguio with more pine trees than houses. Then what you imagine is Sagada. And why Baguio grew into a city, it’s because of its proximity to the lowlands which will only take you one hour to Pangasinan as compared to Sagada which will take you seven hours along the road. Baguio is nearer to Manila which is the capital.

This old wheel was planned to be used for the sawmill project.
 The wheel you saw in one of the pictures here was an artifact of the supposed sawmill project in Sagada. It was brought from the United States to Sagada as a part of the project, unfortunately the sawmill stopped. The old bell on the other hand, was another historical figure. It was brought from Ilocos to Sagada.

This old bell came all the way from Ilocos to Sagada.

Speaking of Ilocos, did you know that there is an existing trail from Sagada to Candon in Ilocos Sur? That is what my friend told me. The other side of the mountains in Sagada was actually the province of Ilocos. The trail though was only meant for horse carriages or a human trail and it was never developed as a main road for local public.

Sagada Stone Church is indeed beautifully constructed. And maybe you are asking me, is it really made out of stones? Yes. This particular Anglican Church was made out of stone blocks. The church was well preserved, unlike the church of Camiling which was burnt down to ruins in 1997. The architecture was different from what we used to see in the other provinces of Luzon.

Inside the Stone Church of Sagada.
 The altar was renovated as if it were all made out of corals. But I find the statue really creepy; you will also realize that too when you see this Stone Church of Sagada. I don’t know but it’s just that He doesn’t look like the usual faces of Him found in the otherchurches.

It was beautiful but I find garbage littered on some parts of the church yard. I hope the people and the tourists care for the environment because we want Sagada to maintain its amazing simplicity. If you will be a future traveler to Sagada, please do NOT litter. And do NOT vandalize the walls or the limestone formations. Leave nothing but footprints. Okay?

Entrance of the Sagada Church.
 The church yard was near to a retreat house and a few more steps will lead you to the graveyard. The Stone Church of Sagada is indeed a good opportunity for photos but the destinations after it were even more interesting. A graveyard? I don’t know. It’s Sagada. =)

Nothing Beats Plain Nature Adventure: Sagada Travel Series:
Part 8: The Echo Valley Tour: How to Reach the Hanging Coffins
Part 9: SOON.

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