Barasoain Church


Barasoain Church is deemed the the most important religious building in Philippines, even greater than the Manila Cathedral, the seat of the archdiocese of Manila. 

Also dubbed as the "cradle of democracy," the church - located in the city of Malolos in Bulacan province - played an important role in the birth of the First Philippine Republic, the culmination of the revolution against Spain. 

The bell tower

The congress which drafted the constitution of the first republic convened in the church in 1898. The constitution, the first republican constitution in Asia, was promulgated a few months later, in January 22, 1899. The new republic was then inaugurated a a day later, also in the church.

Due to its historical importance the church was proclaimed a national shrine in 1973.

I first visited Barasoain when I attended a conference about the centennial of the Philippine revolution. I (and a friend) visited it again as a sidetrip on our way back to Manila from the Woodland Airpark to do the ultralight flying thing. The church was closed when we arrived, so we were only able to appreciate it from the outside.

Aside from its historical importance the church has an interesting architecture. The current structure was built by the Augustinians in 1885; the first structure, consecrated in 1630, was burned in 1884.

The rose window with capiz shells
The architectural style of the church was late 1800s eclectic [1], a mix of Baroque, Romanesque and neo-classical styles. In the case of Barasoain, the facade is mainly oval-style Baroque. 

The main door
To its left when facing the church is a hexagonal three-tiered medieval bell tower, which was also made of stone blocks, with an arched window on each face. 

On the top of the bell tower, just below the pointed roof, was a battlement, with crenels added as decoration. 

The main door is made of hard wood, intricately carved with images of biblical scenes. 

The rose window was done in Romanesque style but with a local touch. Instead of stained glass, capiz shells were used to let the light in. 

Capiz windows were also used in the attached convent on the right side, which has a distinctive half-circle arcade on the first floor. The convent now houses two museums, the Barasoain Church Ecclesiastical Museum and the Historical Landmarks History Museum.

Just behind the bell tower is a courtyard, which contains a chapel and several sculptures, including a Pieta.

The Pieta in the courtyard
How to Get There:
The church is located in the city of Malolos, about 42 kilometers north of Manila. On the North Luzon Expressway northbound, take the Tabang exit and follow the road until you reach Malolos.


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