Church ruins in Lumangbayan, Nasugbu, Batangas

Lateral view of the nave with expanded side entrance. It's the main entrance now

Lateral view of the nave with expanded side entrance. It's the main entrance now

View of part of nave from the interior

Part of nave as seen from the interior

Nasugbu in Batangas was one of the few towns evangelized by the Augustinian Recollects while the rest of the province were handled by the Augustinians. A few kilometers from the poblacion, in the town of Lumangbayan, aptly named as this translates to “old town” which is the original location of Nasugbu, is a Spanish colonial period church ruin, overun with vegetation and balite trees that is still being used by devotees today.

At first, I thought that this was damaged either by a natural calamity or a victim of a muslim slave raid but I found out later that it was one of the casualties of the Philippine Revolution at the close of the 19th century.

I haven’t seen any archival images or don’t have much information about the history of this church except from one reference I got, an article in the Nasugbu Tourism Quarterly entitled The Story of Their Dream (April – June 2000) by Francisco Villacrusis. In October 1896, the author wrote, the town was retaken by the Spaniards from the rebels who liberated it from the colonizers a month earlier. As punishment, all people who weren’t able to evacuate were rounded up inside the church and were torched to death. The town was also burned.

The church ruins is a quadrilateral structure with a single nave built using mamposteria (rubble) and some coral stones as can be seen in the image below. Bricks were also used in some portions. The original main portal has been boarded up already while a side entrance was expanded and is now the main entry point. The façade is so damaged that its hard to discern how it looked like before it was destroyed. There is also evidence of a stone perimeter fence of which, a badly damaged portion can still be found at the back.

Today, the ruined church has a covered chapel inside and some devotees continue to pray at the wall where the alter used to stand. There are also candle vendors around as this was supposedly the place where the Nuestra Señora de Escalera appeared just before it was bombarded by the Spaniards.

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3 Comments

  1. I seriously doubt that this church was burned. And by the Spaniards? Laughable. First of all, when I first visited this place last year, I saw no burnt marks (I could be mistaken here since I am not an expert in examining burnt-down structures). Secondly, the Spaniards, particularly the troops, will never EVER do anything drastic towards a Catholic structure. Remember the Catholic zeal that people practiced during those days. And do I even have to mention that the Spaniards were Catholics? If they ever did anything atrocious, burning churches was not one of them. Also, Spanish soldiers were outnumbered by Filipinos in the ranks of government troops. In fact, there were even more native guardias civiles than peninsulares. And troops were mostly, if not all, led by peninsulares. It is highly impossible for the very few pure-blooded Spanish (or even creole) officers to command their indio troops to haul the latter’s capua Filipino inside that small church to be burned to death. There is no record of church burning done by the Spaniards. If we are to accuse who was really burning churches during those tumultuous times, look no further: there’s our good old buddy, Andrés Bonifacio. Yes, the Katipunan terrorized Spanish friars and attacked many a church in and outside Manila. In fact, the Katipunan, led by the Supremo himself, burned down the Church of Indang in Cavite. And for this, he was arrested by Emilio Aguinaldo’s troops. So if you ask me who burned this church in Nasugbú, Batangas, well All I can say is this… “I accuse!” =)

  2. The authenticity of the church still on her the last time I get closer on it 1974 -76 my friend leave beside the church.

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