Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lipa, Batangas: Casa de Segunda, San Sebastian Cathedral, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church

As if we haven't had enough of old houses, churches, and tons of history, we spent our remaining hours in Batangas roaming around the city of Lipa.

Photo from

(aka Luz–Katigbak Ancestral House)
Rizal St., Lipa City
Daily 9AM to 5PM
Admission fee Php 50

Casa de Segunda was built in the 1880s, damaged in 1942 during the war, remodeled in 1956, and restored in 1996. The house is named after Segunda Solis Katigbak, considered to be Jose Rizal's first love.

Segunda Solis Katigbak was born in 1863 to parents Don Norberto Kalaw Katigbak, the gobernadorcillo from 1862 to 1863, and Doña Justa Metra Solis. It was while Segunda was studying in Colegio de la Concordia (now called Concordia College) in Santa Ana, Manila, that a schoolmate, Olympia Rizal, invited her to a party where Segunda met Olympia's brother, Jose Rizal. The 16-year-old Rizal was so taken by the 14-year-old Segunda, that he sent her flowers, poems, and sketches. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be for Segunda was engaged to Manuel Luz, who the Katigbak family favored because the family wanted her to marry a local man (Manuel Luz was from Lipa, Batangas and Rizal was from Calamba, Laguna). Segunda married Manuel in 1879, at the tender age of 16!

San Sebastian Cathedral
(aka Lipa Cathedral)
CM Recto Avenue, Lipa City

The San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa, Batangas was built in 1779 and completed in 1894—that's more than a hundred years in the making! Only to be damaged 50 years later, by the second world war. Restoration work began in the 1950s. And another 50 years later, more work was put into the church to prevent deterioration. This day it stands proud with a fresh coat of paint of two colors, and inside even more colors. The paintings on the ceiling, walls, and columns and the grand pipe organ (the only one in Batangas, and one of 59 in the Philippines) were what caught my eye when I entered San Sebastian Cathedral.

(aka Monastery of Carmel of Our Lady Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace)
P. Torres St., Lipa City

The visit to Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church came as an afterthought. It was when we were in Casa de Segunda that I saw a page in a book that had rose petals (either a photo or pressed petals, memory fails me) and something about a miracle written below it that my Batangueño friend remembered about the miracle in Mt Carmel Church.

Photo from

We didn't go inside the church, but went straight to the place overlooking the garden where the miracle was said to have happened. It was September 1948 that in this garden the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a Carmelite postulant named Teresita Castillo. In September, October, and November of the same year, there were showers of rose petals around the Carmelite Monastery. In 1951 the local Catholic Church declared it a hoax and kept the statue of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace away from the public. In 1991, a shower of rose petals was again experienced in Carmelite Monastery. The following year, Monsignor Mariano Gaviola, the archbishop of Lipa at that time, ordered the statue of Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace be brought out for public veneration.

The story of the miracle can be found here.

Photo by Ramon F Velasquez / Wikimedia Commons

Around the Northern Half of Batangas:
Around the Northern Half of Batangas in Three Days
Back in Time in the Town of Taal
Boy Scouts in Burot Beach, Calatagan
What's in a (Business) Name? Treinta y ocho
The Waterfalls of Laurel: Malagaslas and Ambon–Ambon
Lipa, Batangas: Casa de Segunda, San Sebastian Cathedral, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church (you're here!)
Where and What We Ate in Batangas

A Bit of Cavite in Between:
Wisdom from the Road #23
People's Park in the Sky

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