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The Cagsaua Ruins Legazpi Bicol, Philippines November 26, 2012
The baroque church of Cagsawa was built after 1724 by Franciscan friars under Fray Francisco Blanco in the small town of Cagsawa (spelled as Cagsaua during the Hispanic occupation of the Philippines). It was supposed to replace an earlier church built in 1636 that had been burned down by Dutch pirates.
It was destroyed during the most destructive eruption of the nearby Mayon Volcano in February 1, 1814. The eruption killed an estimated 1,200 people in the surrounding areas and buried the town of Cagsawa (among others) under several hundred million cubic meters of ash. Hundreds of inhabitants of the town of Cagsawa purportedly sought refuge in the church, but were also killed by either pyroclastic flows or lahar. Only the belfry and some parts of the convent survive today,though parts of the crumbling facade were still standing long after the 1814 eruption as attested by photographs. It is believed that the facade of the structure collapsed due to earthquakes in the 1950’s.