Oton church ruins today

Close up of the original wall that remains of the gothic church destroyed by the earthquake of 5 January 1948

The gothic church of oton before the earthquake of 1948

Walking around the church grounds of the present Oton Church, one can still see reminders of the once massive and elegant 19th century church of the town with stunning gothic architecture and equally impressive interior that was destroyed in the 5 January 1948 earthquake wherein the central dome of the greek cross form of the structure plunged to the ground.

At the far left end of the present structure is a huge balete tree wherein a grotto is constructed. Upon close inspection, amidst the roots of the tree, are huge blocks of coral stones stacked on top of each other, forming a wall. This is no other than the remnants of the original structure.

At the opposite end, at the far right side of the present church is also a shallow protrusion of stacked coral stone slabs beside the national highway. I presume that this was part of the original walls of the church complex. When I saw these two structures, ruins, I just felt a sense of awe and sadness that one of the country’s unique and beautiful church is gone forever.

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