Roman Catholic Diocese of Baguio
|Diocese of Baguio 
Diocesis ti Baguio
Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral Mount Mary, Cathedral Loop, Baguio City
|Territory||City of Baguio, and the Province of Benguet|
|Ecclesiastical province||Nueva Segovia|
|Metropolitan||Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia|
|Area||2,655 km2 (1,025 sq mi)|
|(as of 2006)
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||1992 July 06 (Apostolic Vicariate), 2004 June 24 (Diocese)|
|Cathedral||Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral|
|Patron saint||Our Lady of the Atonement|
|Secular priests||Diocesan: 41; Religious: 6|
|Pope||His Holiness Pope Francis|
|Bishop||Carlito J. Cenzon, CICM, D.D., Bishop of Baguio|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Ernesto Antolin Salgado, D.D., Archbishop of Nueva Segovia|
|Vicar General||Rev. Fr. Andres M. Cosalan Jr., V.G.|
The diocese of Baguio is one of the older ecclesiastical territories in the Philippines.
Originally erected as the apostolic prefecture of Mountain Provinces in 1932, in 1945, the prefecture was elevated to an apostolic vicariate.
In 1992, the vicariate was subdivided to form the apostolic vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe, and the apostolic vicariate of Tabuk, as well as having its name changed to the Apostolic Vicariate of Baguio.
Finally, in 2004, the vicariate was elevated to a full diocese, and became a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia
The current bishop is Carlito J. Cenzon, appointed in 2002.
- Giuseppe Billiet, C.I.C.M. † (15 Nov 1935 Appointed - 1947 Died)
- William Brasseur, C.I.C.M. † (10 Jun 1948 Appointed - 7 Nov 1981 Retired)
- Emiliano Kulhi Madangeng † (7 Nov 1981 Succeeded - 18 Dec 1987 Resigned)
- Ernesto Antolin Salgado (18 Dec 1987 Succeeded - 7 Dec 2000 Appointed, Bishop of Laoag)
- Carlito J. Cenzon, C.I.C.M. (25 Jan 2002 Appointed - )
'The Historical Background of Our Lady of Covadonga, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary of La Trinidad and the Cordilleras'
Everyday, more and more devotees and pilgrims from all over the country and elsewhere, flock to San Jose Parish Church in Poblacion, La Trinidad, Benguet to view, Venerate and pray for intercessions, miracles and blessings to the majestic and miraculous centuries-old brown Image of Our Lady of Covadonga which is temporarily encased in a glass box while awaiting Her final Shrine at the completion of the on-going construction of the new Parish Church.
The Brown Statue has its origins in La Trinidad so vaguely handed down by word of mouth of local townsfolk, but the original devotion began in Asturias, Spain in the 7th century AD by a Christian King named Don Pelayo who led the Christian soldiers in victory in a battle against the invading Moors. A statue of The Blessed Mother was kept by Pelayo in the caves of Covadonga in Asturias. The victory of the Christians was attributed to Her intercession and protection and a shrine was built in the cave which, to this day is still being venerated. During the Spanish conquest of the east in the 1500s, the Galleon Trade was established between the Philippines and Spain that started the Spanish colonization of the Philippine islands. It became a common practice that each Galleon that sailed to the east carried an Image of the Blessed Mother carved in hard wood fashioned after the medieval queens of the time. This was a part of the Christianization effort of Spain. Each image was brought into land and a church or fortress was built in Her name. Because of the vast trade and commerce all around the Philippine islands, there came to be many Shrines of Our Blessed Mother scattered around the archipelago. Some of the popular ones are Our Lady of La Naval in Manila, Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan, Our Lady of Penafrancia in Naga, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, Our Lady of De Guia in Malate, Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan Valley and Our Lady Of Covadonga in La Trinidad, Benguet.
It is believed that the Image of Our Lady of Covadonga carried by a Galleon that docked on the ports of La Union, was brought up to the mountains of the Cordilleras by Spanish conquistadores who aimed to colonize and Christianize the mountainous regions of Northern Philippines, the Cordilleras. It was told that they carried the Image by foot and ascended through the mountainous paths on the boundaries of La Union and Benguet, into a beautiful flat valley surrounded by mountains. They named the place La Trinidad and built a stone chapel to house the Image and start Her devotion. This is clear evidence that the Spaniards landed here, as La Trinidad valley is the only Spanish named town in the entire province of Benguet. They founded the Parish of San Jose here but, unfortunately, due to the pagan population, the devotion to Our Lady did not prosper. With the gentle migration of lowlanders into La Trinidad, mostly from the neighboring Ilocos Region very few people knew of Her presence in this town.
The natives were strong in their culture and pagan beliefs while the Ilocano migrants wee the first Roman Catholics to thrive in the areas. The Roman Catholic faith gradually flourished in the town of La Trinidad. The stone church burned down due to unknown reasons in the 18th century but the Image was saved by the religious townsfolk who painstakingly built a Wooden Church in the turn of the century. This wooden church stood as the earliest center for the Catholic faith in La Trinidad with mostly local Ilocano migrants as parishioners with some natives gradually embracing the faith. This Church was burned again after the Second world war in 1948 including all records and historical data about the Parish and the Image Itself. The centuries-old Image was saved once more and was kept in one of the homes in Poblacion, the Sales Family home.
In the 1950s a small wooden chapel was built on the same site and the Image was placed on the right side altar but was left unknown for many years without a name nor adornments or vestments. In 1979, a new replica of Our Lady of Covadonga was donated from Spain to the San Jose Parish Church by devoted Asturians led by the Cacho family. This replica was received by then Parish priest Rev. fr. Camilo Declercq with the Most Rev. Bishop William Brasseur, Vicar Apostolic to Benguet and the Mountain Provinces, in attendance. The Centuries-Old Statue was then removed from the right side altar to give way to the replica, and was then transferred to a smaller Chapel of the Sacred Heart in the same town only to be left in utter neglect and forgotten. The new Cacho replica was enshrined here and it started the awareness of the name Our Lady of Covadonga in the town of La Trinidad, the City of Baguio and neighboring provinces. The Mandated Society named Children of Our Lady of Covadonga (COLC) was organized by local women devotees in the Parish who took the initiative and persuasion to spread Her devotion and be the curators of the replica.
The old Image in Sacred heart Chapel was almost forgotten when In 1999, a massive research was spearheaded by Rev. Fr. Rolando Astudillo, the Parish Priest of San Jose Church together with members of the COLC, and it was discovered that there was an age-old Icon of Our Lady of Covadonga stored somewhere in the town. The COLC and other Concerned devotees searched and found the Age-Old Image in sheer deterioration in the Sacred Heart Chapel. They reclaimed and painstakingly restored the Image to perfection in September 1999. The new Cacho replica was then removed and transferred to the Sacred Heart Chapel in km.5 while the old original image was brought back. A holy procession was done on December 8, 1999 headed by then Bishop Ernesto Salgado, Vicar Apostolic to the Mountain Provinces, and the Original Image of Our Lady was temporarily enshrined in a glass encasement at the right side entrance to the wooden San Jose Parish Church.
Her Canonical Coronation and Declaration as a National Marian Shrine was held with a concelebrated High Mass on Her feastday, September 8, 2005 by His Excellency Msgr. Carlito Cenzon, Bishop of the Diocese of Baguio and Benguet. Her title was then proclaimed: "Nuestra Senora de Covadonga Reina del Rosario Santissimo de La Trinidad y de las Cordilleras". She now awaits Her final Shrine as the New Parish Church is under construction and may hopefully qualify as Basilica Minore, given the proper appointment from the Vatican. Our Lady of Covadonga Queen of the Most holy Rosary of La Trinidad and the Cordilleras, Pray for us and Protect the Philippines!