Churches, Landmarks, Only in Davao
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San Pedro Cathedral (Oldest Church in Davao)

San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara

San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara

San Pedro Cathedral (Oldest Church in Davao)

San Pedro Cathedral is considered to be the oldest church in the city (or the site where remnants of the old structure was built), prominently located at the corner of San Pedro Street and C.M.Recto Avenue.  Named after Saint Peter, the patron saint, it was said to be built in 1847 by Don Jose Oyanguren, the Spanish conquistador who later become the first governor of Davao region.

The church’s old altar is still preserved at the right wing where old statues of saints are placed.  This is also where the bell tower stands, along with other notable sculptures outside (Blessed Virgin Mary, Ten Commandments and Pieta statues).

The cathedral was rebuilt in the 70s by renowned Architect Manuel Chiew and its façade or dome is said to be inspired by Noah’s Ark.  I will also scan old photos of the cathedral in the 70s during my parent’s wedding. 🙂

Meanwhile enjoy my photos in and around the famous church.

Facade of San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara

Facade of San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara


Interiors of San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara

Interiors of San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara


San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara

San Pedro Cathedral by Jojie Alcantara


San Pedro Cathedral facing the Commemorative Monument of Peace and Unity

San Pedro Cathedral facing the Commemorative Monument of Peace and Unity


San Pedro Cathedral and Bell Tower by Jojie Alcantara

San Pedro Cathedral and Bell Tower by Jojie Alcantara

If you have photos of the old San Pedro Cathedral during the 60s and 70s, you can send them to me and will gladly post them with credits. 🙂

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Filed under: Churches, Landmarks, Only in Davao


The author is a multi-awarded photographer, journalist, and artist whose works are featured in tourism campaigns (It's More Fun in the Philippines), covers and spreads of books and international magazines. A long time columnist of SunStar Davao, she is a frequent traveler in search of inspirational heartwarming stories of human interest. She is also an  influencer and motivational speaker who gives photography workshops in universities and organizations. A former TV personality, she has done several print and TV commercials, event hosting and speaking engagements. In 2013, she has received an award from the City Government of Davao for her significant contribution in the social media. She was one of the speakers in Photo World Asia 2017.  A web designer/blogger since the 90s, she has seen the evolution of the internet and social media transition from the perspective of a traditional media person.


  1. Bdul says

    Jie, it would be nice if you also posted a picture of what the philistines did to the black marble copy of the Pieta.

    Congrats on the pictures, the beautiful daughter, and the way your career has flourished!

    (Am still not comfortable hitting like the Like button when you post those beautiful pictures in FB. Baka isipin sipsip…Hehe)

    • Bdul, am so wary of replying to you lest disappear into thin air (as you normally do)! I am very grateful having an old familiar friend press the like button in appreciation of my new posts. But do inform me of the story behind the Pieta. Tomorrow, I may just go there and update my files and take an image of what is left of the statue. Thanks so much for keeping tabs with me. (hugssss)

      • Bdul says

        Hi Jie. Am still very still very much around but now prefer to loiter in the periphery, very much unlike you who seems to be in the center of things!

        Well, the Pieta on the grounds of the San Pedro cathedral is a (faithful, I think) copy of Michelangelo’s Pieta. My recollection is that the artist who did it has a good reputation and one can imagine the skill required to carve the whole thing in marble. The first time I looked at it, my thoughts revolved around the implications/meanings given the original Pieta was done in white marble while this is in black.

        But the last time I looked, it seems some ignorant people, (listen to the reasons why they oppose the RH bill), had the statue painted (using house paint?) and now looks like it is made of portland cement, demeaning its worth to a level even below those of the posterized and puerile cement statues of dark people with big heads and small, flat noses that seem to be so popular in Davao.

        Now if you go back to the cathedral and see that they had the paint removed, then there still might be some hope left in the Church. 😉

        (Hugsss back..)

  2. Bdul says

    sorry the edits resulted in a few grammatical errors..well.. ;-(

    • Haha you still have a way with blunt words, professor. I am now more interested in looking it up. As for being in the middle of things, don’t let it fool you. I am now more reclusive and antisocial than ever (read: too lazy to dress up for parties and events) and would much rather be read than seen. 🙂

      Do you have old film photos of Davao you may want to share? Just don’t include the old nightclubs along Claveria and San Pedro, haha!

  3. Bdul says

    I don’t think I have old pictures of Davao, Jie. Photography in the old days was a hobby that only the well off could indulge in. I presume classmate Arnel Villegas should have some…

    The pictures you publish and post really are just beautiful.I should have attended the photography course you gave.


  4. Migs Lisbona says

    Hi Jojie,

    If as if fate had led me to you or at least Google’s search engine did :D.

    Your photographs of San Pedro Church is amazing. Truly a labor of love your blog is.

    My name is Migs Lisbona and I was doing a quick www research for a friend of mine, Arnel Villegas and Bdul’s reference to him linked me to your blog.

    I’ve recently got into close friendship with Arnel. just the other day, I’ve the privilege of having my first coffee conversation with him while appreciating his b & w photos, panoramas and other interesting prints of old Davao. These, mind you, have been hidden from view for quite a long time. He has tons of old film from the 70’s till the 90’s yet to be explored, expressed and expanded.

    He is also into small pattern drawing using black ink. The details are captivating and draws(pun intended) the observer in. His work is hanging alongside his inventory of industrial parts and bearing where its been for a number of years.

    We are collaborating to do several labor of love (LoL) (inspired by your description, thanks) projects too, to fully express his artistic desire and expand this to the people of Davao.

    To be honest, I don’t know why or how you can help but my gut tells me that your role will play a significant and valuable part in the artistic journey.

    If your interested in learning more about him (or meeting him) and our LoL (just love this acronym!) projects, my mobile is 0915.647.2624 email at my FB is Miguel Lisbona.

    With Faith and Purpose,


    • Miguel, yes indeed, it is fate and Bdul that brought you to my blog. Let me know when your next coffee is due and what your plans are. Am all for it. I’ve been actually bugging Arnel for yearssss to let me scan his treasured films for him as I know it will be of historical importance in the city’s future. He can be very brilliantly stubborn at times. A few years ago, he has just discovered the wonders of digital photography, but won’t let go of his film cam. It will be an honor bonding with him again.


  5. Migs Lisbona says

    Many thanks, Jojie!

    I like that “brilliantly stubborn”… brilliant!

    Perhaps we can have a coffee conversation (CC) to share possibilities prior to the eventual reunion with Arnel?

    My office space is in any of the empty tables at the Barrio Bistro (BB), Lacson Street, Bo. Obrero. BB adopted me as its resident encourager. They have a great brew waiting for you.

    Do let me know. I’m there from 9 – 11am & 1 – 2:30pm and evenings when necessary.

    Looking forward to the “CC at the BB” 😀


    ~in all ways,


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