Conventos and religious houses

convent.jpg Strictly speaking, conventos refer to houses for a religious group like nuns and monks but here in the country, it has evolved to mean a parish house or rectory. A residence of the parish priest, it is originally called a casa parroquial. Generally, it is attached to the simbahan either in line with the façade or at the back, or separated from the church like the one from Sibonga, Cebu (pictured above). In some cases like the one in Alburquerque, Bohol, the convento is connected to the church by means of an elevated walkway, a bridge.

The form of the convento is usually of the bahay na bato style wherein the lower portion is made of stone and the upper part of wood. However, there are also all stone or brick conventos like the one in Badoc, Ilocos Norte. In some places, like the one in Atimonan, its fortified against attackers.

Other houses include monasteries and seminaries, casas de hacienda, nunneries and bishop’s houses which are all separated from the church. Unfortunately, these structures are often neglected. If these are not converted to schools (at least, these are given a second lease of existence), some have been demolished and in its place are commercial establishments like the mall in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur where the seminary used to stand. Some have been abandoned and crumbling like the one in Paoay, across the street from the right side of the church where one of Fernando Poe’s films was shot. While others have been renovated, expanded and updated with the times like the one in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan complete with walls made of cement and windows made of glass.

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