Carcar Church baptistry

Baptismal font and baptism of Jesus bas relief

Baptismal font and baptism of Jesus bas relief

Upon entering inside Carcar Church, the interior just amazes. To one’s right directly beside the main portal, space has been cordoned off with a low open grilled partition with a twin entrance. This is the baptistry or baptistery. It’s easily recognizable because of the baptismal font and the somewhat requisite image either statues or relieves of St. John the Baptist pouring water on Christ.

The photos used in this series were taken between 2005 and 2008 as the author visits this church from time to time. Special thanx to Lorens Gibb Lapinid for the assistance in 2008. The one in Carcar differs greatly from the typical setup, a consequence of it’s construction. In other churches, the baptistry is at the hollow base of the attached belfry, as in the case of Oslob or its in a cul-de-sac/niche like San Agustin and in Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya.

The open section is quite sparse except for a bas relief of St. John baptizing Jesus. But below it, is one beautiful and unique baptismal font that I have ever seen. In most churches, the typical fonts are made of a wide marble basin with two plain sections. Here, it is not as big but what it does compensate is a splendidly crafted and detailed half of a bivalve shell with a drain at the deepest part. Beside it are two circular depressions.

A beautiful marble baptismal font that is unique from those found in other churches.

A beautiful marble baptismal font that is unique from those found in other churches.

At it’s side, are two letters with the “S” superimposed on the “C” which might refer to the patron saint, Santa Catalina Martir. A ribbing at it’s slope can be seen just before terminating atop an octagonal stand. Looking at it however, I can’t help but think that this area might have already been disturbed. Upon close inspection, one would notice that a portion of the other half has been integrated into the wall and the depression cemented which will indicate that this is a later addition.

A made over space? Was this really where the baptistry was originally found? Unless I can ask people who might know about it, see archival images or someone can talk about it I can just speculate that it was renovated.


  1. The photo of my grandfather’s funeral shows the crucifixion tableau on the floor of the church. It must have been fixed to the baptistry during renovations. For me the tableau has the most beautiful faces among the statues in the church. Probably the oldest too, after the Sta Catalina was replaced by the present wide-eyed one.

  2. estan, the photo is in my flickr account. gibbs scanned it for me. It was taken in the 1954. In my contact list is vip. He has a photo of the altar for the missa cantata of his uncle, the priest. Taken around that time too. It is the “most close-up” picture of the altar area at the height of its gorgeousness.

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