The old church of Talisay City in Cebu

The church of Talisay City in Cebu

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.

During the 19th century, it was separated from its San Nicolas matrix, by royal decree, to become a town in 1834. It was also one of the main producers of sugar.

The Parish of Sta. Teresa de Avila in this city has one of the unique Graeco-Roman churches not only in Cebu but in the Philippines as well. Unique in a way that its kind of architecture where the main entrance and pediment are recessed, falling behind its flanking twin belfries, only has its parallel in another Augustinian church which is in Bacnotan, La Union in northwestern Luzon and to some extent, San Luis in Pampanga and Carcar in the same province. But even with that similarity, it still stands out because of its covered porch supported by two columns and a balustraded terrace that connects the two towers.

The first church was started in 1836 and finished in 1848 however a typhoon in 1877 destroyed the roof. Another one made of masonry was started in 1880 and finished in 1881 (note that for this church, construction took only 1 year!). The convent, on the other hand was built in 1877.

An archival photo of the church as it was in the early 1900s.
Like most churches in this province, the structure is made of coral stones. The kumbento (colloquially, convent but is in fact the priest’s house or casa paroquial) used to stand in line with the facade but during World War II, it was bombed and totally destroyed by the Americans to flush out the Japanese. The presbytery and nave also suffered while, luckily, the facade including the two side chapels of which one might be the baptistry were spared.

As far as the facade is concerned, little has changed. The main differences only are the rose window that marks the choirloft which is now covered up and the cross with cherubs which has been replaced with an image of the patron saint.


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  5. Oh can I ask?

    Do have a timeline of the renovations for this church and the source of data as to where you got it? 🙂

    Do you know where exactly in the Presbytery and nave were destroyed during the war?

  6. Stefanny, the renovations and additions has already finished either this year or the last. As for the destroyed presbytery and nave, you should check where the walls are thinner and the walls newer.

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