Carcar Church’s neoclassic retablo mayor

The neoclassical retablo of Carcar Church is notable for its details and symbols.

The neoclassical retablo of Carcar Church is notable for its details and symbols.

Central to the interior of the church is, of course, the presbytery. In the church of Carcar, the neoclassic and wooden retablo mayor is the main focal point and complements well the façade. It is unique in design with lots of beautiful details and symbols.

At the central niche of the retablo, an image of Sta. Catalina de Alexandria is enthroned. At it’s side are wooden steps that gives access to this niche. Framing the image are a pair of corinthian columns and an elaborately decorated arch. The center of the pediment has the SC symbol that we have seen in the baptistry and may, again, refer to the initials of the patron saint.

Atop the pediment are four carved images flanked with representations of the sun and moon, a common imagery that I have found in many Augustinian built churches in the country. This can also be found on the doors of Angat and Hagonoy churches in Bulacan as well as a retablo frontal of San Agustin. At the extreme ends are two urn-like finials.

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. Below the central niche are the letters that represent Jesus and below it is a relief of a lamb, just atop the tabernacle. Flanking the patron saint are two niches that now bears the image of Mary, at the left-facing the altar, and Jospeh. Both are carrying the baby Christ.

At both extreme sides of the retablo mayor are two curtained covered doors topped with a triangular pediment. This portals lead to the sacristy. Atop these two are symbols of the papacy and the Augustinian order.

At the lateral naves of the church are two side altars. Unlike the central one, the retablo is simple and bears the images of the Sacred Heart of Christ as well as the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


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  2. hello estan,

    i have seen an old picture of the church the retablo show no sice niches. and there were chandeliers. the retablo looks grander without the side niches (mary and joseph). these are later additions i supposed. and it used to be the calvario that occupies the central niche and not the santa.


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