Visita Iglesia: The old churches of Bulacan, Part 2 of 2
This is a series on the different churches in various areas in the country that can be followed as a guide for the much observed Filipino Catholic Lenten tradition of the Visita Iglesia. Click the image at the right to access the rest of the posts.
This is the second part of my Bulacan Visita Iglesia series. The first can be found at this post.
8 Malolos was Christianized on 1580 by the Augustinians and has been a focal point in the history of the country. The Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception had its beginnings with its first building in 1591 made of light materials. In succeeding years, it has been rebuilt and enlarged.
The current church was consecrated in 1826 but was heavily damaged in the earthquakes of 1863 and 1880. These were renovated but was burned by the revolutionaries in 1898. Starting 1963, the church was heavily renovated that portions of the facade and interior were altered.
The facade is simple with touches of neo-classic. Doric columns divide it into three segments with the central part holding the statued niches, emblem of the Augustinians and the papal insignia.
9 Historic Barasoain used to be independent from Malolos and this explains the presence of a stone church here. The Parish Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had its first stone edifice in 1871 to replace a temporary one but was burned later.
In 1885, the current structure was started while the belltower was constructed in 1889. The church was the scene of the proclamation of Philippine Independence and recently, where Erap Estrada, whose abbreviated presidency was marked by corruption, took his oath of office.
The facade has Neo-Classic touches and its rounded pediment is echoed by the arches and rose window at the lower part.
10 San Rafael was part of the extensive haciendas of the Brothers of San Juan de Dios organized into a town by its laborers. It was officially founded in 1750. While the Augustinians evangelized here, due to the lack of priests, the seculars often administered. There are no records on the actual year of building the current Parish Church of San Juan de Dios but it might already have been started before 1863. It has also been heavily renovated in the last few decades.
Here is another simple facade embellished to a bare minimum. Its notable features are a set of decorative Doric columns.
A bell by Hilario Sunico, dated 1834 can be found at the front of the convento.
11 The parish church in Bulacan, Bulacan is one of the elegantly decorated churches in the province. The first building was constructed in 1578. During the British Occupation, in 1762, it was burned down but was later rebuilt again. It suffered during the earthquakes of 1863 and 1880. In 1884, the parish priest transformed the old Classic style into Neo-Byzantine. The blending of Muslim, Baroque and pre-Mannerist styles is quite remarkable. Attention is focused on the massive arches encircling the portal and the small rose window while above it, three statued niches can be found.12 The facade of the edifice has strong echoes with the facade of Bulacan, Bulacan church especially the stylized pediment with its Muslim inspired embellishments. Unfortunately, the
front is marred by a massive portico. 13
Marilao, together with Obando has been administered by the Franciscans between 1578 and 1579. The original location was abandoned due to an earthquake when it leveled the town. The current Parish Church of San Miguel de Arcangel was built in 1863, formerly the site of an old chapel.
The facade is elegant. Statued niches can be found at the first and second levels. Decorative columns running the height of these two levels are topped with statues of saints as finials. Two buttresses flank the facades. The pediment, with sides ending with scrolls is bare except for a statued niche of the patron saint.
One notable feature of this church is how the belltower is constructed. Slender with blind and open windows, it is
recessed but still form part of the church.
14 Obando, Bulacan was founded by the Franciscans in 1754. The Parish Church of Sts. Pascual Baylon, Claire and Our Lady of Salambao is the focal point of the annual fertility rite that this town is famed for. The facade of the church has almost the same arrangement with the church facade of Marilao. Except that instead of the statued niches at the second level and the decorative columns, the Obando edifice consists of windows while the columns are flat. The pediment has the same statued niche for the patron saint but with the addition of two round windows at its sides. Flanking the facade is a massive 5-tiered octagonal belltower constructed in line with the facade.