After a quick visit to Mount Samat National Shrine (Dambana ng Kagitingan). We headed to the first church on our list, the San Miguel Arcangel Church in Orion. Unlike my recent Pilgrimage tours including the one in Zambales (Check Zambales Pilgrimage Tour) and Batangas (Check Batangas Pilgrimage Tour), this group was bigger and we were composed of 16 huge buses! The aim is to visit the seven pilgrim churches in Bataan including the Orion Church, the Nuestra Señora Del Pilar Church in Pilar, Balanga Cathedral, Abucay Church, Saint Peter of Verona Parish , Orani Church and Samal Church. Unfortunately, the road going to Samal was not passable that day so we ended up with Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Bacolor Pampanga.
San Miguel Arcangel Church or more commonly known as the Orion Church is a 19th Century Baroque church. The parish was established in April 30, 1667 under the patronage of Saint Michael the Archangel. The spiritual ministration of Orion formerly belonged with Abucay until it became and independent missionary center in 1667. This made the Orion church one of the oldest churches in the province of Bataan.
Much like the other old churches in the country, the Orion church is also connected to a convent. Both were actually badly damaged by an earthquake in September of 1852 and was completely repaired after two years. The church was adorned with intricate details and ornamentation on both exterior and interior parts of it. You can see an immensely beautiful sacristy and marbel altars!
I was actually expecting for a “Pink” facade because of the photos we saw online prior to our Pilgrimage tour but it seems like the church underwent some major changes. The facade of Orion Church is now adorned with beige and white color scheme. Intricately-detailed statues can also be seen on the facade and even on the main gate. The image above depicts the image of Saint Michael Archangel.
The four-level belfry of Orion Church was reconstructed in September 1955 and it was made possible through the untiring efforts of the people and devotees of Saint Michael. This small town in Bataan is where the first Filipino Chief Justice of Supreme Court Cayetano Arrellano was born. The famous poet Francisco Baltazar Balagtas also lived in this town!
Statues depicting various Saints and Images can also be found erected on each pillar in the main gate of Orion Church.
The exterior was amazing but the interior part of the church was even more stunning! The main altarpiece or retablo, which was done in the early 18th century was done in so-called Rococo Style.
The stunning retablo of Orion Church adorned with intricate details
The Octagonal balustrade dome was truly a beauty to marvel. It features wonderful paintings depicting different notable events from the Bible. The balustrade and that chandelier on the center actually reminds me of the same structure found in the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in Taal Batangas (Check The Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay)
The image of Saint Michael Archangel can be found at the center of the main altar or retablo
The image of Virgen Milagrosa de Orani was also carved in the church’s main door.
We attended the mass in Orion Church presided by our very own parish priest and then we had our quick early lunch. After doing so, we headed to our next church ~ The Nuestra Señore Del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) Parish in Pilar, Bataan! I will share more about this church in my next #BataanPilgrimage entry.
How to Get to Orion Church
►To set an expectation, I never tried commuting to Orion Bataan yet but you if you are going to travel by land through public transportation, Genesis Buses and Bataan Transit buses have terminals in both Cubao and Pasay. These buses can take you to Balanga and Orion is just 8 kilometers away from its town proper. There are buses, jeepneys and trikes that can bring you in Orion Church. The best and fastest way to reach the town of Orion though is through the Sun Cruise Ferry. The port can be found just behind the CCP Complex and this will drop you off to Orion Wharf or Port Capinpin
►If you have better suggestions about how to get here via public transport, feel free to comment below!
Where To Stay in Bataan?
There are many cheap and affordable hotels to stay in Bataan which are near to Mt Samat Shrine or other nearby tourist Destination. The Plaza Hotel in Balanga is a perfect choice or if you are looking for a luxurious staycation, you might consider booking rooms in Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac. You can check out list of affordable and cheap hotels in Bataan in TravelBook and see which rooms suits your budget and taste!
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