Tag Archives: Baroque Philippine Churches

#163 Old Catarman Church Ruins

Old Catarman Church Ruins (also known as Guiob Church)  is located in the village of Bonbon, about 10 kms. from Catarman Poblacion in Camiguin Island, Mindanao, southern Philippines.

On May 1, 1871, the volcanic Mt. Daan erupted and the devastating eruption destroyed the original 16th Century Spanish settlement in Catarman. A portion of the town sank beneath the sea. After the eruption, the settlement moved to where the town center is presently located. Today, all that remains of old Catarman are the ruins of the ancient Spanish church, a convent and a bell tower.

The grass-covered ruins of adobe walls, belfry and convent are mute witnesses to the wrath of nature. Now under local park authorities, the place also gives a glimpse into the culture of Spanish-era Camiguin, one of the first Philippine islands visited by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and colonised by Spanish settlers.

Mabuhay ang Old Catarman Church!

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#159 San Matias Parish Church

The San Matias Parish Church in  Tumauini, Isabela (northern Philippines) was built by the Dominican priest Fr. Domingo Forto in 1783 with assistance from a master carpenter named Castillejos. Built with brick and coral stones, construction was completed in 1805.

The church was seriously damaged during World War II. Except for the convent, it has been faithfully restored and today is considered as the best and most artistic brick structure in the Philippines.

The unique cylindrical bell tower is the only one of its kind in the Philippines. Experts say the church architectural design also bears traces of Chinese artistry which reflects early Chinese influence in the coastal towns of Northern Luzon probably even before the Spanish came to colonise that part of the country.

The church has been declared by the National Commission on Culture and Arts as part of the national heritage and a national landmark in 1989.

Mabuhay ang San Matias Parish Church!

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#70 San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church is known as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the Philippines. One of the few churches that survived fires, earthquakes and the World War 2 in Manila, the San Agustin is a landmark in Intramuros, the city’s old Spanish district.

This 17th century Spanish Baroque church has survived a British invasion in 1762, an American attack in 1898 and the Japanese and American liberation war in 1945. The very first San Agustin Church was the first religious structure constructed by the Spaniards on the island of Luzon. Made of bamboo and nipa, the church was completed in 1571, but destroyed by fire in December. Succeeding incidents of fire and earthquakes prompted the Augustinians decided to rebuild the church using stone, andconstruction began in 1586.

The facade is unassuming but it has notable baroque touches, particularly the ornate carvings on its wooden doors. The church courtyard is decorated by several granite sculptures of lions, which had been gifted by Chinese converts to Catholicism. The Cathedral is popular for weddings and the lovely churchyard is often used for wedding receptions.

Much of the church has been restored and a wing now serves as a museum of church artefacts, relics, and religious paintings from all over the Philippines. In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period which were designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

 Mabuhay ang San Agustin Church!

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