Tayabas owes its foundation, which began in 1578 and continued in the subsequent years, to Friar Juan de Plasencia and Friar Diego de Oropesa. The town was established as a parish in 1580 under the advocacy of Saint Michael the Archangel. The church made of bamboo, nipa and anahaw must have been constructed between 1580 and 1585 because on August 3, 1586, Friar Francisco de Galagarza, who had served as secretary of Martin Enriquez, Viceroy of Mexico, before he was invested with the Franciscan habit, died in the choir loft of the church of Tayabas while embracing a crucifix. Friar Pedro Bautista ordered the repair of the church in 1590. In that same year the Superior Government granted the license to build the church with stone although the project stalled for more than a decade. It was not until 1600 that the Franciscans began building the church and convent with the stone. These edifices were destroyed by the earthquakes of 1743. What was left of the walls was utilized in the rebuilding of the church, which began the following year. One of the old walls had vestiges of the small windows used in defending the town against the Moro raiders. In 1866, the church was enlarged with the construction of a transept in the shape of a rotunda, under the direction of Friar Benito de la Pila. The church began to be reputed as one of the most beautiful and solid churches in the country. The convent , providing it with a new staircase. At that time the pueblo had a cemetery made of stone, with a beautiful chapel with two towers. It was built in 1889 under the management of Friar Samuel Mena. The old cemetery had to be closed when the barrio of Cota (new Lucena) became a pueblo. A chapel was preserved in that old cemetery. De Huerta reports that in the church of Tayabas , a very old statue of San Diego de Alcala was venerated. The multitude of the faithful, even
those from distant towns, who used to gather in the church was an indicator of the many favors that the Lord dispensed through the intercession of this saint. Inside the town were two ermitas, one dedicated to Nuestra Señora de las Angustias and the other to San Diego de Alcala. In 1855, since the old school buildings had fallen into ruins, Friar Manuel Gonzales bought for 962 pesos an edifice that was being used as casa administracion of the province and donated it to the town to used as classrooms. In 1878, he constructed a school building with stone, lime and said; it had a tiled roof. The old Tribunal, built by Governor La O, remained unused since it burned down in 1877. Friar Manuel Rodriguez and Friar Samuel Mena, cura parrocos, contributed substantially to its rebuilding, which strated that same year. The vicar forane of the district of Tayabas resided in Tayabas. The 103-meter long church of Tayabas is the longest Spanish colonial church in the Philippines. It was erected by the Congregation for Divine Cult as a minor basilica on October 18, 1988. The Mass during whish this event was highlighted took place on January 21, 1989. The minor basilica is listed as a National Cultural Treasure together with 25 other churches in the country-there are 17 in Luzon, seven in the Visayas and two in Mindanao.