Manila - A Philippine Catholic priest was under investigation after he was caught on video dancing in front of an altar of a church in a northern province, church officials said Wednesday.

In the video, Father Wilfredo Lucas, parish priest of the San Miguel Archangel Parish Church in Plaridel town, just north of Manila, was seen dancing in front of the altar lit up by colourful disco lights.

The dancing was part of his birthday celebration, according to local media reports.

Monsignor Bart Santos, vicar general of the Diocese of Malolos, which covers the parish church said Lucas was sorry for the incident amid complaints from churchgoers.

"He was very apologetic," Santos said, adding that he talked with the parish priest as part of the investigation.

Residents have complained that the church should not be used as a venue for social gatherings and celebrations, such as the birthday party held by Lucas.

The priest has also planned a Valentine's Day party on February 10 inside the church, according to banners.

The Philippines is the largest Roman Catholic country in Asia, with more than 80 per cent of the country's estimated 100 million people adhering to the religion.