Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tabaco Church in Tabaco City, Albay

As I like to see century-old churches, we did a quick tour of San Juan Bautista church in Tabaco City, Albay. Its on the main road across the city hall, another evidence of the Spanish colonial governance, wherein the church and the state are one and the same.

Just like the other churches on this region, the church was constructed using volcanic materials between 1864-1879. The first church was constructed in 1616, but was later destroyed by Mayon volcano's most destructive eruption in 1814.

There are 3 unique features of this church, which is the only church designated as national cultural treasure on this region by the National Museum. First, the large bell tower on its right side has rocaille designs, or stone carvings with design of shell, flowers, ferns, etc. if you will look closely on its photo below. Second, it has unconventional floor plans with compartments that has no known purpose, baffling the historians until now. Third, the wall stones have masonic markings. Could it be that the freemasons have hidden treasures there somewhere?

Some remains of the dead were also deposited on the church walls, bearing Spanish inscriptions. 

However, this church also fell victim to the modernization, as the stained colored glass windows were relatively new. Same with the ceiling and church altar.

The original wooden retablo flooring has also been replaced with cement/stone materials.

Outside the church is a "Christ the King" monument, flanked by angels.

Opposite the church is the city hall with tabak (bolo) monument, showing the city's main bolo or knife-making industry. The city was named after its main product, the tabak (bolo), not from tobacco as some people wrongfully assume. Unfortunately, I was not able to buy even a knife  or a scissor to see how good their craftmanship is.

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