Every Holy Thursday during Lent, also known as semana santa or cuaresma, it has been the tradition of the Filipino Catholic faithful to do the visita iglesia, literally, church visit. This practice, introduced by the Spanish colonizers, goes back to the time of the early church where Christians would visit the seven great basilicas in Rome for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during Maundy Thursday.
The current Talisay church still has its original facade in place as well as portions of the wall along the nave and transept at gospel side. Unfortunately, recent expansions and additions are just horrible and doesn’t harmonize with the facade that it undermines the massiveness of the twin belfries.
Perhaps the overall beauty of the church facade is carried by the massive and grandiose flanking twin belfries that doubles as front buttresses, precede the entrance and pediment that easily catches the attention of the viewer. Today, its only the left side that still has its bells intact with two still sturdy wooden ladders that carries one to the upper levels.
The embelishments on the facade are subtle that a casual observer might fail to notice it from a distance. One of the striking decoration is the triangle found just below the statue of the patron saint, St. Therese of Avila. Representing the Trinity, it has 40 rays emanating from it. I am not sure if the original has an eye drawn at the center but now its just a plain surface.
The city of Talisay, located around 12 kilometers south of Cebu City at the eastern side of this island province, was formerly an estate or hacienda of the Augustinians and was a visita of San Nicolas. As early as 1589, the first recorded rebellion in Cebu happened here when land was acquired by a Spanish colonist and angered a few Cebuanos who then rebelled but were swiftly quelled, executed and their possessions sold at auction.
The back end of the camposanto is a wall filled with niches. During the colonial era, families of stature are interred here while the general public were buried at the grounds. The material used is not only limestone blocks but also bricks which form the frame of the niche as well as at the top portion of the columns. The capital are tuscan but some are already missing.