Tag Archives: Philippine Baroque Churches

#325 Church of San Vicente Ferrer

Photo from Simbahan.net

St. Vincent Ferrer Church (San Vicente, Ilocos Sur province) was built in 1795. The church’s facade has two layers of columns divided by ornate architraves. It is considered as one of the loveliest Baroque churches in the Ilocos region.

Miracles are attributed to the parish’s patron saint, St. Vincent Ferrer, attracting pilgrims from all over the Philippines. The convoluted cornices in the church’s top section add beauty to the structure. Octagonal columns topped with mini-domes rise from the base on both sides of the church façade. The ornate wooden pulpit is well preserved. The church is one of the main pilgrimage sites in Ilocos province and the feast day of St. Vincent Ferrer is annually celebrated on April 5.

Long live Baroque Philippine churches!

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Places, Traditions

#313 Magsingal Church & Belfry

Magsingal Church Belfry

The Magsingal Church (San Guillermo Church) in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur province, northern Luzon, is among the region’s treasured Baroque Catholic churches. Magsingal Church became a parish 1676. The church itself is dedicated to St. William the Hermit. It is famous for its wooden altar, a very intricately-carved gold and green retablo,  which is still in use. The facade of the church is wonderfully preserved but the belfry is the church’s main attraction. 

Beside the church is a rectory (also built in 1676) which was converted as a branch of the National Museum. The rectory’s strong foundation of bricks, lime and stone withstood disastrous calamities like fire, typhoons and earthquakes. The rectory was also used as a school building during the early American regime. During the Japanese occupation, the museum served as an interment for the residents of Magsingal who were punished for the murder of a Japanese captain. (Source: Various Internet postings)

Long live Baroque Philippine churches!

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Places

#239 Pila, Laguna

Vintage colonial-era house in Pila, Laguna

Pila in Laguna province is known for its well-preserved houses dating back to the Spanish colonial period.

The town is also known for the old Saint Anthony of Padua Parish Church, the first Antonine church in the Philippines. Pila and adjacent towns along the shores of Laguna de Bay are considered by archaeologists as one of the oldest settlements in the Philippines. The community is one of three such concentrations of population known archaeologically to have been in place before A.D. 1000. Archaeologists recovered in Pinagbayanan potteries and artifacts that indicate considerable settlement in the area during the Late Tang Dynasty (900 A.D.).

The Franciscan order also established in Pila the second printing press in the Philippines and printed in 1613 the Philippines’ oldest dictionary and the first book printed using the movable type, the Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala. The book was written and compiled by Fray Pedro de San Buenaventura and printed by Tomas Pinpin,  a noted name in early Filipino printing. The book is 27 years older than the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in the United States in 1640. (From: Wikipedia).

Mabuhay ang Pila!

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Places

#207 Basilica de San Martin de Tours

Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal Cathedral) is considered as the largest in Asia and the biggest church in the Philippines. San Martin de Tours is the Patron Saint of Taal with the feast day celebrated on November 11.

The church was first built by the priest Diego Espina in 1575 in present day San Nicolas but abandoned in 1754 due the eruption of Taal and rebuild in 1755.  An earthquake severely damaged the chruch in 1849. Construction of the present church was started in 1856 supervised by architect Luciano Oliver.

The Taal Basilica is famous for its high ceilings, ornate chandeliers and unusual baroque facade which consists of a single mass of stone shaped into rich complex designs. The church, however, is a fusion of styles with arched openings, alternating segmental canopies and arches of assymmetric shapes. It stands 96 meters high and 45 meters wide and is situated on a plateau in the heart of Taal in Batangas province.

Mabuhay ang Basilica de San Martin de Tours!

Leave a comment

Filed under Places

#188 Calasiao Church

The Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Calasiao, Pangasinan (Luzon, northern Philippines) was built by the Dominicans in several stages that spanned  the 17th to the 19th centuries.

The church is considered as the best-preserved church complex in Pangasinan province. The bell tower and some parts of the church were recently reconstructed, having been damaged by an earthquake. Despite natural calamities the church is well conserved and the recent work has not deviated from its original appearance.

The sprawling convento or convent – the site of the 18th century Synod of Calasiao – has an excellent example of a separate kitchen structure. The retablo mayor (major altar)  is massive and its complex woodwork may be seen at the back.

Long live Calasiao Church!


Filed under Places, Uncategorized

#130 Santa Maria de la Asuncion

Santa María de la Asunción is a magnificent Spanish-colonial era church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur province, northern Philippines. The church is also included in the Unesco World Heritage List.

In the 16th century, when Spanish Augustianians settled in Santa María the town was a mission outpost. By the mid-18th century, Santa María had become one of the most successful  Augustinian missions in the Philippines, and construction of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción began in 1765.

A stairway of 85 steps leads up a hill from the edge of town to the church, which is perched like a citadel and fortified by a retaining wall of stone. Its elevated setting is unusual for Spanish colonial churches of the period, which were usually sited in plazas. Flanked by two cylindrical columns, the church’s exposed brick façade—once covered in limestone—opens into a nave flooded by natural light. A massive octagonal bell tower, added in 1810, stands nearby.

Serious structural damage to the retaining walls has led to partial collapse. Preservation efforts hope to address the issues of the church structure. The church administrators also aim to engage the local community in preserving this historic heritage site.

Mabuhay ang Santa Maria de la Asuncion!

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Places