Among the Catholic churches in Cavite, particularly near or around Tagaytay City, that have become popular wedding venues, one up-and-rising star is the quaint “little” church of San Antonio de Padua Quasi-Parish in Barangay Pooc, Silang. To get there, one has to take note of the road sign going to Silang, about a couple of kilometers past the Philippine National Police Academy (if coming from the direction of Manila) along Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road.
St. Anthony of Padua, also known as Anthony of Lisbon, was a Portuguese Catholic priest and St. Francis of Assisi’s most celebrated follower. He was canonized barely a year after his death at the age of 35. He is famously known as the patron of lost articles, with his feast day celebrated on June 13. He is often featured with the Christ Child as it is said that this is how Jesus appeared to him.
One could not miss the church or mistake it for any other. A driveway that leads to and from the main entrance of the church surrounds a well-manicured landscape right smack in front of the church, and the white letters of the words “San Antonio ng Padua” is clearly marked on a grassy incline.
The complex is made up of two structures, both having red brick facades that lend a somewhat antique and rustic appeal. A three-tiered bell tower, topped with a cross, stands beside the church. The church itself has a pointed roof, with another cross at the apex, with sloping sides. The pointedness of the roof is offset by an arc over the main entrance, and the arc theme is echoed in the windows and in the bell tower. Over the arc is a porthole with the stained glass image of St. Anthony of Padua.
The church’s quaintness adds to the romantic atmosphere of a wedding. Outside, churchgoers are welcomed with a white circular fountain, surrounded by red cobblestones and topped with a full-sized image of St. Anthony and the Child Jesus. This forms part of the driveway which leads all the way up to the arced portico of the main entrance. Inside, the dark hue of the angled wooden ceilings and beams, punctuated with iron chandeliers, are reflected in the ornate pattern of the floor and contrast dramatically with the lightly colored stone and brick columns. In between the columns are stained glass windows over iron-grilled arches that provide ambient light and an overall airy feel. There are only two columns of old-fashioned wooden pews, but these can seat around 150 guests. The walk down the aisle is long enough for a dramatic walk up to the altar. The main sanctuary is simple with few adornments, save for the main altar in gold featuring the parish’s patron saint, and an octagonal dome overhead featuring the resurrected Christ in the center and other images around it. At the back of the church above the main entrance, is a choir loft which can provide an excellent vantage point for photo- and videographers.
Wedding fee starts at P2,500 if at least one of the couple is from the parish; P5,500 if either one is from Cavite; and P10,000 for non-parishioners. The church requires a non-refundable downpayment and reservation fee of P1,000. The fee includes an hour for the ceremony and 30 minutes for pictorials; services of ushers and readers/commentators if needed; use of six chandeliers; sound system; wedding chairs and kneeler for the couple and both parents; and quadruplicate copy of the marriage contract with civil registration. The couple can invite their own priest to officiate their wedding. The church also allows the use of the driveway and church grounds for the reception if the wedding is the last event for the day.
Weddings can be scheduled at 8AM, 10AM, 2PM and 4PM on weekdays except Wednesdays. Wednesday and Saturday wedding schedules are at 8AM, 10AM, 2PM and 6:30PM.