The Aglipay Shrine is nestled at Pinili and Batac, Ilocos Norte. The shrine was built in memory of Gregorio Aglipay who stood squarely behind the oppressed people of God when he founded his protestant sect known as the Filipino Independent Church.
The Great Gregorio Aglipay
Gregorio Aglipay is a historical figure who called Batac City his home. He is a soldier, religious reformer, and patriot of the Philippines. He was known for the foundation of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or the Philippine Independent Church and for being the first military chaplain of the Philippine revolution in 1896.
Gregorio Aglipay was an activist Roman Catholic priest from Ilocos Norte who was excommunicated by the Vatican for inciting rebellion within the Filipino clergy, despite his defence of some Spanish Catholic clergy from liberal-nationalist Filipino revolutionaries. During the brief interlude between independence from the Spanish and occupation by the United States, Isabelo de los Reyes (also known as Don Belong) and Aglipay acted to reform the Filipino Catholic clergy.
Aglipay died at the age of 80 on September 1, 1940. He was given an elaborate funeral attended by officials of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. His remains lie in state at a large mausoleum called the Aglipay Shrine in downtown Batac City.
Remains of Gregorio Aglipay
The Aglipay Church
The Aglipay Church or the Iglesia Filipina Independiente is the third largest Christian denomination in the Philippines, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Iglesia ni Cristo. It was founded in 1902 and is Catholic in nature, though aligned with the Anglican Church. It has around two to four million adherents, mostly in the Ilocos Region, and is considered the most visible artifact of the Filipinos’ struggle against colonial Spain.
Today, the Philippine Independent Church is affiliated with the Old Catholics and the Anglican Communion. Aglipayans number around 6 million members. They constitute about 2.6% of the total population of the Philippines, while 80.2% of the population are members of the Catholic Church.
Most of the members of the church, like the founders Aglipay and De Los Reyes, are activists, often involved in progressive groups as they advocate for nationalism, anti-imperialism, democracy, as well as opposing extrajudicial killings. They have been victims of forced disappearances and been branded as leftist by the government for being aligned with progressive groups, specifically after Obispo Máximo IX Alberto Ramento was killed for being an anti-government critic.
How can you get there?
• By Land: Partas, GV Florida Transport, Dominion Bus Lines, Philippine Rabbit, and Fariñas Transit have regular trips that will take you directly to Laoag City.
Travel Time: From Manila to Laoag City, 10-12 hours. So, I advise you to have a night trip for this.
• By Plane. Take a direct flight from Manila to Laoag via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines.
Travel Time: From Manila to Laoag City is about an hour. Flights are usually at night, so better make the necessary adjustments on your itinerary.
Then from Laoag City, you can hire a jeepney that will take you around Laoag and to the nearby towns of Paoay and Batac. The fare is approximately Php700/jeep for 4 hours.
Accommodations in Laoag are also available. There are lots of inns and hotels throughout the town offering comfortable rooms and cottages at a reasonable price.
• Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel - Brgy. 37 Calayab, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Ilocos Region, Philippines
• Pamulinawen Hotel - National Highway, Brgy. 22, 2901 San Nicholas, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Ilocos Region, Philippines
• Plaza Del Norte Hotel and Convention Center- 15 Suba, Paoay, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Ilocos Region, Philippines
• Grand Octagon Resort - Airport Ave., Brgy.50, Butong, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Ilocos Region, Philippines
• Java Hotel - 55B Salet Gen. Segundo Avenue, Laoag City, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Ilocos Region, Philippines
• Mira de Polaris Hotel - Ventura St., Brgy. San Francisco,San Nicolas, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Ilocos Region, Philippines