Finding Korea in Bulacan

Curiosity drove me and my friend Rachel to seek out this Korean temple slowly making a buzz in social media –the picture-worthy St. Andrew Kim Tae-Gon Shrine located in Bocaue, Bulacan. Since we’re both from Bulacan, the travel going to Bocaue is easy as ABC.

We met up in SM Marilao then rode a jeepney that passes by Lolomboy, a town in Bocaue. Fare was only P8.00 from SM Marilao. We then alighted from the jeepney once we saw Mc Donalds Lolomboy and entered the street where the food joint is located. From the threshold, you will glimpse the simple beauty of Sto. Cristo Parish and St. Andrew Kim Tae-Gon New Church on the right side of the road. The airy and modern parish is dedicated to St. Andrew Kim Taegon, said to be the first-Korean born Catholic priest who lived in the Philippines in the early 18th century.

Prayers written on a piece of paper adorned the altar near the entrance of this modern church.

A short walk from the parish is the Korean Shrine, a serene compound with a number of beautiful structures – Korean temples with subtle European design.

When we arrived, we were asked to take the Garage gate, another entrance for the shrine located a few meters away from the main gate, inside a congested but friendly community of rural houses. There was no entrance fee to pay, only we were told to lower our voice as the place is not a park to talk loudly or be rowdy. The shrine is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and is closed on Mondays.

“Wow” is the first word we uttered upon seeing this colossal structure that glowed under that Saturday sun. The interesting combination of Renaissance design and Korean architecture blended beautifully albeit hidden in an austere Bulacan town.

Personally, we love how the place was built. An amalgamation of culture, architecture and religion in one place so easy to find and so welcoming to everyone.

The walkway was another thing that I adored about this place. So Oriental, calming and so fresh. Love taking selfies? This is the spot for you!

The compound features a lot of structures, mainly Korean. If your interest lies in architecture, then this place would not disappoint.

The shrine complex has a small high-ceiling chapel adorned with lovely murals and frescoes one would enjoy admiring while savoring a moment of silence.

Sunday mass is celebrated in this main chapel inside the temple complex.

Located beside the main chapel is the shrine of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, housed in a gazebo.

Alltogether, the shrine complex is a place for simple reflection or a no-fuss appreciation for culture and architecture. As I’ve said, there’s no admission fee, but you can buy some souvenirs made by the nuns as a way of thanking them for the 2-3 hour exploration just enjoying the silence of the place. You may also put a little amount in the donation box if you feel generous.

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Bocaue and would recommend to friends, Catholic or otherwise, to visit St.Andrew Kim Taegon Shrine at least once in their lives. It was a majestic place and a wonderful surprise hidden in Bulacan. The trip there provided us some sense of serenity and peace, which everyone definitely needs once in a blue moon.

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