Saint John the Baptist Parish Church, popularly known as Camalig Church, is a Roman Catholic church in Albay located at the center of a town. It began as a major pre-colonial settlement in the Bicol Region, Camalig, having a long and interesting history. In 1579 the church was only made up of woods, it is the time when the town was founded by Alcantarine Franciscans. The same missionaries constructed an infirmary for ailing priests in 1583, the first medical institution in Bicol. In 1605, the church and its adjacent parish house (casa parroquial) were constructed in stone by the town prisoners. This structure lasted until its destruction by the 1814 Mt. Mayon eruption. The present church and parish house were built of volcanic stone blocks in 1837 by Franciscans Fr. Francisco Latoba and Fr. Miguel Brihuega. It was finished eleven years later, hence the 1848 inscription on the churchโ€™s facฬงade.

While Daraga Church is known for its exterior artwork; Camalig Church lavishes its art in the interior including the post-war ceiling painting by local artist Frank Borin. Hanging on the squinch walls are five Spanish Period paintings depicting the four evangelists and St. Francis of Assisi saves souls from the Purgatory, a common theme in Franciscan art. On the nave walls are tombs of principals or prominent locals of Camalig during the late Spanish and early American Period, including the first native governor of Albay, Don Anacleto Solano.

Throughout its long history, the Camalig Church and its associated institutions were administered by many prominent Franciscans. Two of them, Fr. Pedro Bautista, and Fr. Francisco de San Miguel, were martyred in Japan and later canonized as saints. Another one, Fr. Francisco de la Trinidad, wrote the first book in Tagalog poetry. Two well-known contemporary Franciscans assigned in Camalig Church are Fr. Cantius Kobak who translated Ignacio Alcinaโ€™s History of the Bisayan Islands into English, and Fr. Cayetano Sanchez, the archivist of the Franciscan Archives in Madrid, Spain.

The Camalig Church is a Level II Historic Structure (structure with NHCP marker). In 2017, it was declared by the National Museum as an Important Cultural Property.

Credits; Provincial Tourism Culture and Arts Office (PTCAO)