Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Zamboanga City, Philippines is presently one of Asia's largest modern cathedrals and is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.  

BUT, Do you remember the old Immaculate Conception Cathedral?
I guess most of the people couldn't remember the old cathedral especially the younger kids, so I'd like to share some historical data about this.

from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Cathedral_of_the_Immaculate_Conception_(Zamboanga_City)


The first church was originally located at the front of Plaza Pershing, where the present Universidad de Zamboanga stands. The church was designated a cathedral in 1910 when the diocese of Zamboanga was created. In 1943, the cathedral was one of the edifices bombarded by Japanese soldiers during World War II. In 1956, the cathedral was relocated beside Ateneo de Zamboanga University, formerly known as the Jardin de Chino.

Features of the cathedral

The original cathedral

The cathedral located at the Plaza Pershing was made of wood and concrete. The image of the Immaculate Conception was located at the main altar, with two Jesuit saints Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier on each side. The image of the patroness was said to be spared from the bombs of World War II and was transferred to a road now known as La Purisima Street.

The old cathedral at La Purisima (1956-1998)

The former structure of the cathedral was designed in 1956. The site was used to be the chapel of the Jardin de Chino. The facade consists of the life-size sculpture of Immaculate Conception at the left side and the bell-tower at right. The chapel of the saints were located inside the area where the image outside was located. The stations of the cross were made of stained glass at each side and the added station, "Ressurrection", was located near the right altar at the confession area. Then the bronze relief of the last supper was located at the day chapel which serves later as the perpetual adoration chapel.

The Old Cathedral at La Purisima circa 1998. The facade consists of the life-size sculpture of Immaculate Conception at the left side and the bell-tower at right.

The stained glass in the facade is that of the Immaculate Conception.
The stained glass of the Immaculate Conception in the facade

The stained glass of the Immaculate Conception in the facade of the Old Cathedral
is again place in the present Cathedral and with enhancement of its glory.
new stained glass with the original central stained glass
at the facade as viewed from inside the church
Here are photos of the altar in 1998. 
These were taken during the Baptism of Nicoll and soon after the Cathedral was scheduled for demolition to be replaced by a new Cathedral.
the altar of the Old Immaculate Conception Cathedral

In the Immaculate Conception Cathedral with the Parochial Vicar, Fr. Jude Duncombe  
with Baby Nicoll
These are pictures in the other areas of the Cathedral.

This is the image of the Immaculate Conception which was originally place in the altar. This now has a special place within the Cathedral grounds, where devotees could light a candle.

The present Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a landmark in itself. The Cathedral was started and finished during the time of Archbishop Carmelo D.F. Morelos.
Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in 2005

present Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception with the Century Bell

from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Cathedral_of_the_Immaculate_Conception_(Zamboanga_City)

The Metropolitan Cathedral (1998-present)

The present structure of the cathedral was built in 1998-2002 in cruciform, of which the candle-like design is appropriate to the cathedral's patron.
The new structure of the Cathedral was designed by Abarro and Associates through the efforts of former Msgr. Crisanto de la Cruz, who said that the decay of the old cathedral's ceiling damaged by termites was one of the reasons why the reconstruction should take place. The design of the new cathedral was unveiled in December 1997. The old structure had been demolished a day after Easter in 1998, preserving its stained glass window and sculpture from the facade, which respectively are located at the rear portion of the new church and at the left side. The Cathedral was solemnly dedicated on December 6, 1999 with Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu and President Joseph Estrada Ejercito as guests of honor. The day chapel, columbarium, baptistery, the multi-purpose hall and office were constructed in 2002.

A new addition to the Cathedral is the PhP4,000,000 Century Bell Tower, broke ground on the day of Immaculate Conception, 2010. This belfry, located at the Ateneo side of the Cathedral, marks the existence of Zamboanga's archdiocese for 100 years.

It is difficult to remember how the old Cathedral looked now that it has been changed to the grand modern but meaningful Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.


  1. wow doc! was trying to find some photo of the old cathedral anywhere meron pala kayong stash jan! hehehe i like it better than the new structure... just feels more holy for me... i was still really young nung old pa yung anjan that everytime i try to imagine ulit how it looks like parang blurry na parang bluish na yung naaalala ko but i can remember the feeling lalo na pag during the mass and the choir sings... yun lang naaalala ko hehehe nice to see some photos of the old church here! :-) galing!

  2. Yup, I was really trying to find these old ICC pictures because I knew I took shots before the demolition...
    and now that I am going through memory lane, I really looked for it and found it..
    so here it is!

  3. thanks doctora for reminding us......keep up...making and keeping the treasures of zamboanga

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