Shrine of Sto. Nino

Facade of Shrine of Sto. Nino

Barangay San Gabriel is today a sprawling residential area which is about a kilometer from the heart of the City of Tuguegarao, formerly a part of Barangay Ugac. It was formally created as a barangay in May 1982.

Due to the rapid increase of the population of Tuguegarao especially after it became a city, many moved so San Gabriel and made it a new residential district for middle class families. All sorts of middle class families flocked to San Gabriel. In view of the growing population in this area, there was a need to attend to the spiritual and moral welfare of the Catholic residents. For this purpose, the Catholic residents asked then Archbishop Teodulfo Domingo to assign a priest to celebrate Mass on Sundays. Notable among the priests who took turns in celebrating Mass on Sundays were Fr. Antonio Sibayan, Fr. Edgar Agcaoili and Fr. Benedict Babaran. In the absence of a chapel, Mass as celebrated in open places in the subdivision.

In June 1987 then Fr. Vicente Catral was appointed by Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan to celebrate Mass for the Catholic residents of San Gabriel on Sundays. Like the priests before him, Fr. Catral celebrated Mass in a basketball court belonging to Director Leonardo Catral. There was, at this time, a project of putting up a multipurpose chapel supported mainly with donations from the Catholic residents. With only some concrete posts standing, the project was discontinued when the Catholic residents realized that as a multipurpose barangay chapel they would not have full control of the use of the chapel.

Interior of Shrine of Sto. Nino

It was then that the idea of putting up a Catholic chapel was agreed upon by the Catholic residents. However, since the patron of San Gabriel was Sto. Nino, Fr. Catral saw the possibility of putting up not a chapel but a church which would eventually be a shrine of Sto. Nino.

San Gabriel was solemnly erected as a parish on April 10, 1996 with Msgr. Vicente Catral as the first parish priest. The church of Sto. Nino was solemnly declared as an Archdiocesan Shrine by His Excellency Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan on April 10, 2000.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from and

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