Travel Zamboanga del Norte

St. James Church | Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte

By on November 26, 2011

dapitan church

The St. James Church at Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte, was constructed in 1871 in honor of St. James the Greater, Dapitan’s patron saint. It has undergone several reconstructions through the years including a major renovation in 1964 when reinforced concrete was introduced.

There is a National Historical Institute (NHI) marker at the entrance that points out the very spot where Jose Rizal once stood to hear mass during his exile in Dapitan. There are many speculations but there is no satisfying explanation as to why he was not inside the church. But what is clear though is that this church stands as an enduring reminder of the Jesuits’ more than 200 year presence in Dapitan.

rizal@150 st james church It is easy to spot the St. James Church at Dapitan City as this is the tallest structure at the Dapitan Plaza.

With the exception of the Rizal Shrine at Talisay, you could get all the other Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 Dapitan stamps (including for this site) at the Dapitan City Tourism Office.

  1. Reply

    Malcolm Macpherson

    January 6, 2018

    The reason for the marker being at the entrance and not inside the church Is due to the fact that José Rizal was a Freemason. In 1884 during his time in Madrid he had joined a Masonic Lodge, where many of its members were akin to him in that they were outstanding thinkers and republican liberals who were staunch advocates of Philippine independence. To Rizal, Freemasonry held views similar to his own in that it advocates absolute independence of civil society (especially education), from clerical influence and interference. In 1890 a Papal pronouncement was issued against Freemasonry, declaring that its principles are considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church; that Catholics who become members in a Masonic association be automatically excommunicated. Its accusation that Freemasonry holds a deadly hatred towards the Catholic Church is a falsehood; it has never objected to Catholics joining its fraternity, nor does it require them to renounce their religion.


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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