Two old photos, Palo Cathedral, Leyte, Philippines. Circa 1945.
Price for the pair: $10.00 Sizes: Photo with soldier, about 2 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/8″
Photo of cathedral, about 4 and 11/16 x 2 and 7/8″
The reverse of the photo (without the soldier) shows handwritten: “Palo, Leyte: I went to church here the 17th of June 1945.”
The first church at this location is said to have been built by the Jesuits in either 1596 or 1598. It’s unclear in sources when the Spanish-style structure we see in the two photos above was constructed, (or whether the center portion was the original, though we might assume not due to the history of most early church buildings starting on a smaller scale) however, it is known that the towers were not added until about 1850. It was not until 1938 that the church was declared a cathedral. During WWII the building was used as a hospital by the American Liberation Forces from October 1944 to March 1945. We can see evidence of hospital and military with the Red Cross truck, the tents on our right, and of course, the soldiers and jeeps. Presumably the guy posing for this shot is the one who wrote the inscription on the second photo’s reverse. If you don’t know the history (as I did not) of the Philippine Islands involvement during the war, please see the first source below. If you can pardon a bit of social commentary here from my North American vantage point, it’s important to understand what went on there – to go beyond in our thought process and not just link the country in our minds with the overseas workers we often get routed to today due to outsourcing.
Present-day, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration, also referred to as Palo Metropolitan Cathedral or just Palo Cathedral: In the 1960’s the cathedral was demolished and rebuilt into what we see below in this Google images search. The cathedral was “roofless” for a short time after the damage (and tragic loss of lives) inflicted November 2013 by Typhoon Haiyan aka Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Sources: “Liberation of the Philippines, 1945.” Gaerlan, Cecilia. nationalww2museum.org. September 1, 2020. Accessed April 9, 2023.
Palo Cathedral. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palo_Cathedral (accessed April 10, 2023).
“images of palo cathedral leyte.” Google.com search. Accessed April 9, 2023.