The first missionaries in the region founded many of the towns of Cavite Province. Among the Religious orders that Christianized the Caviteños were the Franciscans, the Recollects, the Dominicans and the Jesuits.
The Missionaries first came to Imus in 1571, to Silang 1581, to Cavite Viejo (now Kawit) in 1587, to Maragondon in 1611, Indang in 1655, Ternate in 1700 and in San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias) in 1758.
The province of Cavite is rich in historical significance. It has been the site of many battles and uprisings against Spain, one of which was is 1872, which resulted in the execution of three priests: Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. Cavite is also where General Emilio Aquinaldo proclaimed Philippines Independence from Spain on June 12th, 1898, in the town of Kawit.
Early in the American ‘occupation’, a U.S. naval garrison was stationed at Sangley Point in Cavite in 1901. Because of mutual defense agreements, this base remained in Cavite long after the country was granted its independence from the USA in 1946.
Imus used to be a part of Cavite (now Kawit), whose Church was built by the Jesuits, between 1618-1629. For more than a century and a half the people of Imus had to endure walking or traveling 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) on the dirt road to attend services at the Church or to transact official business in the city proper.
The difficulty of communication between Imus and Cavite was a very long-standing complaint of the Imuseños until the Recollects, during the British occupation of Manila in 1762, established a parish church in Imus, in what is now known as Bayang Luma
The Church was far from the estate house of the 11,100 hectares (27,000 acres) Hacienda acquired in 1686 by the Recollect Corporation, and when the church was destroyed by the strong typhoon of September 1779, the Recollect Friars transferred it to barrio Toclong, and finally to sitio de Balangon, now the city plaza of Imus.
In 1774, Recollect Fr. Pedro San Buenaventura petitioned the government to “separate the inquilinos (tenants) of Imus from the political jurisdiction of the government of “Cavite el Viejo”. After a considerable time his petition was granted and Imus became an independent municipality on October 3, 1795.
During the leadership of Fr. Nicolas Becerra, who served from 1821 to 1840, moved the town center to Brgy. Balangon, its present location. The construction of what is today the Imus Cathedral was started in 1823 using forced labor. It was built of stone and bricks. Its façade was modelled after the fifth Manila Cathedral which had been designed by Fr. Juan de Uguccioni and which stood between 1760 to 1852, before being destroyed in one of the many earthquakes to hit the region.
The Diocese of Imus was created on November 12th, 1961. It comprises the Province of Cavite and covers a land area of 1,287 km2 (497 sq mi), with a population of 1,643,549 of which 76 per cent are Roman Catholics. Its patron is Nuestra Señora del Pilar.
The cathedral was declared a structure of historical significance with the placing of a historical marker by then National Historical Institute of the Philippines on November 13th, 2006.
The Cathedral is also noteworthy because of the 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Imus. He served the Diocese as its Bishop between October 22nd, 2001 and October 13th, 2011.
Here is a photo of him:
You’re right, it’s Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
Here’s a very brief ‘biography’ of His Eminence the Cardinal
He was born in Imus, Cavite on June 21st, 1957
Tagle was ordained in the Diocese of Imus on 27 February 1982.
After ordination, he held the following positions: parochial vicar of San Agustín Parish, Méndez-Núñez, Cavite (1982–1983), spiritual director (1982–1983) and later rector (1983–1985) of the diocesan seminary of Imus.
After having gone to Rome to study (1985–1992), he was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Religious (1993–1995), then Parish Priest and Rector (1998–2001) of Nuestra Señora del Pilar Cathedral-Parish in Imus.
He also taught theology at San Carols Seminary (1982-1985) and The Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay.
Pope John Paul II appointed Tagle to the International Theological Commission (1997–2002) on which he served under its President, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He was a member of the Bologna-based editorial board (1995–2001) of the “History of Vatican II” project led by Alberto Melloni. Tagle is also currently the Chair for the Episcopal Commission on the Doctrine of Faith of the Philippines.
John Paul II also appointed his the Bishop of Imus in October 2001 where he served until October 2011.
The Holy See appointed Tagle as the 32nd Archbishop of Manila on October 13th, 2011, succeeding Cardinal Gaudencia Rosales making him the de facto Primate of the Philippines.
He was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in a papal consistory on November 24th, 2012 at St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. He was installed on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and as of 2013 was the head of the Metropolitan See of Manila and its nother church, the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception as it: Metropolitan Archbishop and Archpriest.
For the record, The Cardinal is fluent in the following languages:
Italian, English, Tagalog, Spanish, French and Latin.