Nasugbu in Batangas was one of the few towns evangelized by the Augustinian Recollects while the rest of the province were handled by the Augustinians. A few kilometers from the poblacion, in the town of Lumangbayan, aptly named as this translates to “old town” which is the original location of Nasugbu, is a Spanish colonial period church ruin, overun with vegetation and balite trees that is still being used by devotees today.
At first, I thought that this was damaged either by a natural calamity or a victim of a muslim slave raid but I found out later that it was one of the casualties of the Philippine Revolution at the close of the 19th century.
I haven’t seen any archival images or don’t have much information about the history of this church except from one reference I got, an article in the Nasugbu Tourism Quarterly entitled The Story of Their Dream (April – June 2000) by Francisco Villacrusis. In October 1896, the author wrote, the town was retaken by the Spaniards from the rebels who liberated it from the colonizers a month earlier. As punishment, all people who weren’t able to evacuate were rounded up inside the church and were torched to death. The town was also burned.
The church ruins is a quadrilateral structure with a single nave built using mamposteria (rubble) and some coral stones as can be seen in the image below. Bricks were also used in some portions. The original main portal has been boarded up already while a side entrance was expanded and is now the main entry point. The faÃ§ade is so damaged that its hard to discern how it looked like before it was destroyed. There is also evidence of a stone perimeter fence of which, a badly damaged portion can still be found at the back.
Today, the ruined church has a covered chapel inside and some devotees continue to pray at the wall where the alter used to stand. There are also candle vendors around as this was supposedly the place where the Nuestra SeÃ±ora de Escalera appeared just before it was bombarded by the Spaniards.