Currently, the Philippines has four churches inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list under Baroque Churches of the Philippines. And eight more are in the tentative list. And what is this tentative list?
For a site or place to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, the country needs to nominate these places first and once accepted, will be placed in the tentative list which UNESCO will then base their World Heritage declarations. As of this writing, the Philippines have nominated 28 possible declarations of which three are church related and one on old fortifications of which this blog, simbahan.net also writes about.
Below are the three church related nominations in the UNESCO tentative list. Note that three churches affected by the October 15, 2013 and Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013, might be delisted.
Baroque Churches of the Philippines – Extension
From the initial four, this five churches are planned to be added under this inscription.
Patrocinio de Maria
The Boljoon Church complex is one of the interesting churches found at the southeastern part of Cebu. Sporting a claytile roof for both church and kumbento, a stone blockhouse, a 1940s Casa Catolica, remnants of a cemetery with an impressive bas relief and three standing defensive walls that attest to it being a fortified church complex.
La Inmaculada Concepcion Church
A fortified church in Samar, the church was built by the Jesuits and after their expulsion, the Franciscans took over. The church is notable for its interesting shell mosaic found in the interior and baptistry. Typhoon Haiyan badly damaged the structure and there are plans to remove this church from the tentative list.
San Pedro Apostol Church
Built by the Jesuits in the 18th century and later on administered by the Augustinian Recollects who took over after the expulsion of the former. Unlike most churches in the Visayas, the belfry is located several meters away, a design consideration popularly found in the Ilocos region.
Other than beautiful decorative elements found throughout the church spanning several centuries, it has a unique, three storey kumbento and a mortuary chapel located a few meters at the side.
This is also included in the Jesuit Churches of the Philippines in the tentative list. There are plans to delist this church from the tentative list because of the heavy damage that it suffered during the October 15 earthquake.
San Isidro Labrador Church
This simple but beautiful church, built by the Augustinian Recollcts is one of four Spanish era churches in the Philippines that still has its original wooden flooring in herringbone pattern. It also has two pulpits and retablos, all of which are original. Across the church, stands the biggest kumbento in the country which was used as a summer house by the friars.
San Mattias Church
This is one of the beautiful churches in the Philippines and once you see it, especially in the morning when the sun lights up the facade, you’ll just be in awe. Built in the 18th century, this brick church has lots of interesting details on the facade. A close look will even reveal numbered bricks to tell the local builders where a particular part should be placed.
The white washed belfry is even stunning and many writers describe it as a wedding cake festooned with decorative ribbons. It is also embellished with forms of shells, diamonds and other shapes. At the side and back are flying buttresses and inside, a simple, shell like altar.
Read more about the Baroque Churches of the Philippines – Extension.
San Sebastian Minor Basilica
Because of its architectural importance, San Sebastian is recommended for listing.
San Sebastian Minor Basilica
Standing proudly at the end of Hidalgo Street in Quiapo, this minor basilica is one of the stunning religious architecture in the country. So unique that it was nominated to UNESCO.
Because of the several earthquakes that destroyed the previous stone churches of San Sebastian built on the same space, the Augustinian Recollects opted to try a new technology, at that time, steel.
San Sebastian Minor Basilica is the only steel church in the Philippines and possibly in Asia. Designed in neogothic architecture, the steel panels were cast and shipped from Belgium then assembled in Manila while the stained glass windows came from Germany. A look at its interior and ceiling vaulting is just breathtaking.
Read more on the San Sebastian Basilica.
Jesuit Churches of the Philippines
I’m not sure if eventually, the Jesuit Churches of the Philippines will be removed as three out of the four churches were badly damaged and are planned to be delisted.La Inmaculada Concepcion Church
One of the tourist’s must visit place when going around Bohol, Baclayon Church was built first by the Jesuits and later on administered by the Recollect Augustinians when the former were expelled in 1768. The Recollects added the portico facade, just like what they did in Loboc.
The interior of the church still sports the original baroque retablos. The second floor of the kumbento has been turned into an ecclesiastical museum highlighting the many antique treasures of the parish. Originally a fortified church complex, the belfry doubles as a look out tower. Look closely and you can see bas reliefs of the sun and moon as well as anthropomorphic designs.There are plans to delist this church, together with the churches in Loboc and Guiuan because of the heavy damage brought by the natural calamities that affected these structures.
Nuestra Senora dela Asuncion Church
A quaint church in Maragondon, Cavite, this structure was originally built by the Jesuits who established the town as a regular parish in 1690. However, Maragondon started out as a visita with a chapel by the Franciscans in 1611.
Made with mamposteria, it has a very simple facade and attached belfry but despite this simplicity, it has a richly carved pulpit, retablo and main door. Original colored glass in windows are still present.
The two other churches included under the Jesuit Churches in the Philippines heading includes the churches of Loboc and Guiuan which has already been discussed above. Curiously, the page that details this listing has no text description.