Parish Church of San Francisco de Assisi of Naga City, Cebu

Official Name: Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi[1]

Local Name: Naga Church

Classification Status: Classified Historic Structures (covering all Colonial Churches and other Houses of Worship, per NHCP Res. No. 3, s. 1991)[1]

Town or City: Naga City

Year Declared: June 12, 1829[1]

Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi is also known as Naga Church, formerly St. Francis of Asisi Parish or San Francisco de Asis Parish. It is located in heart of the city of Naga along N. Bacalso Avenue, over twenty kilometers south of Cebu City.[2]

Naga, a name derived from the local name of the narra tree, was an established settlement in pre-Spanish era populated by folks lured by a promise of gainful employment in fishing, mining, pottery, and tanning.

The church was part of San Nicolas, as were others in Cebu like Talisay Church, Minglanilla Church, and Pardo Church during Spanish colonial times. It was declared a separate parish on June 12, 1829. Fr. Simon Aguirre oversaw the construction of the church from the design drawn up by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon between 1839 and 1850. The parish was elevated to an archdiocesan shrine on October 3, 2007.[2]

The bell tower is contemporary: slender, five-story pyramid of open arches except on the first floor decorated with ornate metalwork painted in white coat. It juts a few meters beside the church in the epistle side.

The facade is typified by several columns of pilasters supporting an intricately ornamented pediment. The pediment is painted in pastel accentuated with white, and decorated with cherub-like figures, stars, a tableau of a madonna, and other symbols. Above the entrance is a relief that depicts the first Eucharistic celebration in Cebu along with the year “1521” and a Latin script that reads “Praedicate Evangelium Omni Creaturae”, which translates to “spread the Gospel to all of Creation.” Twin towers, one on either side of the facade, have red roof.[2]