Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Half-Buried Church of Bacolor, Pampanga

Last month on a trip back to Manila from Subic, our group decided to skip SCTEX, for possible side trips along the old highway of Pampanga towns. I was hoping to see the Betis Church in Guagua, but fate brought us to the Bacolor Church instead.

Not far from a Razon branch where we've had quick halo-halo break, we turned right from Jose Abad Santos Avenue to a small road that leads to San Guillermo Parish Church of Bacolor, Pampanga. Despite being buried by about 6 m. from its original height, the church is still identifiable from the main road.

Flanked by its lone attached belfry to the left side, the church still looks beautiful, even though some refurbishments may have been done on its facade. The Latin inscription Rex Regum et Dominus Dominorummeans King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Originally built by Augustinian friars in 1576, the first church was destroyed by the 1880 earthquake. Reconstructed in 1886, half of the 12-meter high Baroque church was submerged by lahar flows in 1995, an aftermath of Mt. Pinatubo's June 1991 eruption. 

Local residents dug up the well-preserved retablo (wooden altar) afterwards and placed it under the church's dome. The currently-used church door now used to be a window, as the main large door was buried by lahar.

Below are the old and new photos showing the differences between the original church interior, against its current look. Note the elevated floor, making the ceiling much lower than before.

The very low arched opening to the Adoration Chapel and other church areas.

The mini-museum on the church's right side with recovered images of various saints.

Jesus Christ's image on a more secure part of the museum. He is the "BRO" whom Santino talks to on the popular "May Bukas Pa" teleserye before at Kapamilya channel.

As what I've read on an article about this sunken church, "Nature may bury the church, but it can never bury their faith".
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