Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Article 1: Significant Examples of Church Architecture
                      in the Philippines
               by Architect Augusto F. Villalon

Church of Saint William the Hermit (Laoag, province of Ilocos Norte)

Built in 1700 under the direction of the Augustinian order. After its destruction by earthquake in 1843, the structure was completely restored. The over embellishment of the simple architectural form demonstrates the Filipino passion for surface decoration. Inspired by fancy rather than from the design discipline of the baroque style, Corinthian-inspired capitals crown a series of overscaled pilasters. Capped by urn-shaped filials, rosettes and acanthus leaves weave around the pilasters. Above the row of Corinthian columns, a row of pseudo-Doric pilasters anchored to the architrave are cut to allow the grafting of a third set of oversized pilasters. In apparent disregard of architectural principles, the delightful facade is made even more naïf with the exaggerated play of light and shadow on its overscaled surfaces.

Church of Saint Raymond Peñafort (Rizal, province of Cagayan)

Built in the 1650's by newly Christianized Kalinga from the Cordillera mountains directed by the Dominican order, the church is sited along a river that crosses the foothills of the Cordillera mountain range. This is one of the few remaining structures of rubble construction with fine decoration applied only to the facade. The solid squatness of the ensemble accentuated by high windows and its bell tower with melon-like finials suggest the appearance of a fortress.

Church of San Matias (Tumauini, province of Isabela)

Built in 1783 under the direction of Domingo Forto, a Spanish Dominican priest, this church is the country's foremost example of an ecclesiastical baroque structure built totally of bricks. Bricks of different styles were specially made to for this church. Specially made bands of decorative bricks are inserted within expanses of plain brick to create surfaces of delicate patterns of the facade. Finials crown the wavy silhouette of the facade. Its squat cylindrical bell-tower (c. 1805) is unique in Philippine baroque architecture.

Church of Our Lady of the Gate (Daraga, province of Albay)

Built in the 18th century under the direction of the Franciscan order, the church is dramatically perched on a hill to protect it from the cycles of destruction wrought by Mayon Volcano. It stylistically shares with Miag-ao (Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva) an individualistic, naïf but extremely delightful application of highly exaggerated baroque elements: solomonic columns, undulating cornices, flattened bas-reliefs of saints.

Church of the Immaculate Concepcion (Guiuan, province of Samar)

Built in the 18th century under the direction of the Jesuits, additions were made by the Recollects when they took over the church in the 19th century. This structure is an excellent example "fortress baroque." The church forms one side of the fort. Its exuberantly carved doors are also the doors of the fort. The richness of the interior is in total contrast to the squat, bulky and plain outline of the church exterior. Richly carved and highly polychromed retablos are the focal points of the apse and transept. The most notable aspect of the church is the shell and coral mosaic swags that outline the clerestory and the baptisery.

Church of Our Lady of Patrocinio (Boljo-on, province of Cebu)

Built in 1599 under the direction of the Augistinians, jurisdiction over the church was transferred to the Jesuits in 1737. Conceived as s fortress-church standing on a hill overlooking the sea with the feature of providing safety for the parishioners against periodic Moro raids, the exterior facade of this structure with its watch tower-like bell tower is perhaps the most austere in the chain of southern Cebuano churches and watch towers, particularly in the neighboring towns of Argao and Dalaguete. Constructed of locally quarried coralstone and topped with a roof of terra cotta tiles, the architectural volumes are kept pure, simple, practically unadorned, in direct contrast with its sumptuous interior.

Church of Saint Jerome (Morong, province of Rizal)

Built in 1615 under the direction of the Franciscans, the original church was extensively renovated in 1850-52 when the Indio master-builder, Bartolome Palatino, was commissioned to renovate the facade and build a bell tower. The lines of the facade sweep outwards, away from the flanks of the structure, accentuating the center of the facade where the principal entrance is situated. Pairs of engaged columns frame the openings at the center of each of the three facade levels. Pedestals, deep-set cornices and finely carved scrollwork and floral relief add to the vertical thrust of the composition that is crowned with the vertical thrust of an octagonal bell tower.

Church of San Francisco de Asis (Siquijor, province of Negros Oriental)

Built in the 19th century under the direction of Secular priests, the church is constructed of coralstone blocks abundant in the Visayas. The simple structure is long and squat. Its severe, box-like nave connects to a plain facade. Niches flank the main entrance, naïf pilasters accentuate three unaligned windows on the facade that evokes an architectural pediment.

 
about the author:
Augusto Fabella Villalon [BA Sociology, University of Notre Dame; M Arch Yale University] practices architecture in Manila, having completed a range of projects in the Philippines and other Asian countries. He has been active in the field of craft preservation since 1975, and in heritage preservation since 1985. He is currently in charge of the conservation management project for World Heritage Sites in the Philippines and writes a column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

de:http://www.ncca.gov.ph/ncca-search.htm


Article 2: 16th to 19th Century Church Architecture in the Philippines
                   by Architect Augusto F. Villalon

While the Philippines was under Spanish rule (1521 - 1898), Spanish friars joined the Philippine missions to Christianize the population.

The friar, a man of god and not an architect, used skilled Filipino artisans who were unaware of Western construction and artistic techniques to build a church following the friar's faint recollection of European baroque churches that he had seen before his making the long journey to the Philippines. The typical architecture in the tropical, island environment was a dwelling, built of wood, bamboo, rattan and palm (nipa) thatch or grass, usually raised from the ground on stilts that was totally adapted to the environment. The houses were susceptible to fire, yearly typhoons or eathquakes. The unexpected result of the mixture of Filipino, Chinese, European and Mexican influences was the creation of a distinctively Filipino adaption of the baroque style.

The uniqueness of Filipino church architecture was honored by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee by inscribing four churches in the UNESCO World Heritage List as the "Baroque Churches of the Philippines."

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion (Sta. Maria, province of Ilocos Sur)

Built in 1765 under the direction of the Agustinian order, the ensemble resembles a citadel sited on the crest of a solitary hill rising above one side of the Santa Maria town plaza. The architectural ensemble presents its side and detached pagoda-like bell tower rather than its façade to the town. Thick contrafuetes (buttresses) are attached to the walls, reinforcing the structure against earthquake damage. The bell tower is constructed a distance away, protecting the main church structure from possible earthquake damage. Approached on foot by ascending a long, wide flight of piedra china, steps that rising from the edge of the town plaza, the small, cramped plaza at the top of the steps is bounded by the church façade that faces the convento, enclosed by an arcaded bridge that connects both structures.

Church of San Agustin (Intramuros, Manila)

Built in 1587 under the direction of the Augustinian order, this is the oldest existing Philippine Church and one of the few examples of an ecclesiastical complex specifically conceived for an urban setting. Originally built as the Agustinian Mother House, the complex includes the church, monasteries, cloisters and botanical gardens encompassing an entire city block in the walled city of Intramuros, Manila. The austere architecture is framed by a small plaza facing the principal church entrance that is perpendicular to the street. Structurally well protected against earthquake damage, the thick buttresses do not extend outwards from the exterior walls in the manner of most Philippine Colonial Churches. Instead, they are incorporated into the interior, forming a series of magnificent side chapels that line both sides of the church. San Agustin houses one of the country’s leading collections of ecclesiastical art and rare books.

Church of San Agustin (Paoay, province of Ilocos Norte)

Built in 1710 under the direction of the Agustinian order, the ensemble of the church and detached bell towers are truly majestic in scale when viewed from the edge of the plaza that faces the ensemble. Detached from the church façade the bell tower tapers as it rises from the ground in a fashion reminiscent of a pagoda. The stone façade is plain at the bottom. Light, elegant decorative carving is applied close to the top of the pediment. A row of feathery stone finials that seem to gently brush the sky with delicate Oriental strokes accentuate the triangular top of the pediment. The earthquake protection system in this structure is probably its most dramatic feature. Exaggeratedly thick buttresses protrude quite a distance from the ground to be countered by a smaller volute near roof level topped by a stone finial. Swirling upwards to the sky, the massive stone buttresses take on a magical lightness.

Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva (Miag-ao, province of Iloilo)

Built in 1797 under the direction of the Augustinian order, the church is one of the most successful examples of the exuberant Philippine Translation of western baroque design principles into a hybrid local style. The church’s architectural composition follows the box-like structure attached to the rear of a pediment façade. Non-symmetrical bell towers, squat at the bottom but tapering upwards solidly anchor each side of the façade. The deeply incised relief carving gives the façade a remarkable three-dimensional quality.

The nalf carving depicts Saint Christopher dressed as a Filipino farmer, carrying the young Christ on his shoulders across a river set within a luxuriant field of primitively carved, out of scale representations of Filipino flora and fauna. In keeping with the nalf character of the ensemble, the architectural details are likewise very exaggerated in scale.



        Article 3: Our Delightful Filipino Baroques
The Churches of San Agustin, Santa Maria,Ilocos Sur, Paoay,
                 Ilocos Norte and Miag-ao, Iloilo
                by Architect Augusto F. Villalon

From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Spanish friars joined the Philippine Missions to Christianize the population. Building a stone church that would stand out among the bahay kubo villages immediately became an important requirement.

The new symbol of Christianity was built in the baroque style, the prevailing architectural style in Europe at the time. However, since the friar re-trained Filipino artisans to construct and embellish an ecclesiastical structure in the unfamiliar Western construction tradition, the delightful result was a pseudo-baroque style adapted to the taste and realities of the Filipino. The four churches illustrated have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion (Sta. Maria, province of Ilocos Sur)

Built in 1765 under the direction of the Agustinian order, the ensemble resembles a citadel sited on the crest of a solitary hill rising above one side of the Santa Maria town plaza. The architectural ensemble presents its side and detached pagoda-like bell tower rather than its façade to the town. Thick contrafuetes (buttresses) are attached to the walls, reinforcing the structure against earthquake damage. The bell tower is constructed a distance away, protecting the main church structure from possible earthquake damage. Approached on foot by ascending a long, wide flight of piedra china, steps that rising from the edge of the town plaza, the small, cramped plaza at the top of the steps is bounded by the church façade that faces the convento, enclosed by an arcaded bridge that connects both structures.

Church of San Agustin (Intramuros, Manila)

Built in 1587 under the direction of the Augustinian order, this is the oldest existing Philippine Church and one of the few examples of an ecclesiastical complex specifically conceived for an urban setting. Originally built as the Agustinian Mother House, the complex includes the church, monasteries, cloisters and botanical gardens encompassing an entire city block in the walled city of Intramuros, Manila. The austere architecture is framed by a small plaza facing the principal church entrance that is perpendicular to the street. Structurally well protected against earthquake damage, the thick buttresses do not extend outwards from the exterior walls in the manner of most Philippine Colonial Churches. Instead, they are incorporated into the interior, forming a series of magnificent side chapels that line both sides of the church. San Agustin houses one of the country’s leading collections of ecclesiastical are and rare books.

Church of San Agustin (Paoay, province of Ilocos Norte)

Built in 1710 under the direction of the Agustinian order, the ensemble of the church and detached bell towers are truly majestic in scale when viewed from the edge of the plaza that faces the ensemble. Detached from the church façade the bell tower tapers as it rises from the ground in a fashion reminiscent of a pagoda. The stone façade is plain at the bottom. Light, elegant decorative carving is applied close to the top of the pediment. A row of feathery stone finials that seem to gently brush the sky with delicate Oriental strokes accentuate the triangular top of the pediment. The earthquake protection system in this structure is probably its most dramatic feature. Exaggeratedly thick buttresses protrude quite a distance from the ground to be countered by a smaller volute near roof level topped by a stone finial. Swirling upwards to the sky, the massive stone buttresses take on a magical lightness.

Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva (Miag-ao, province of Iloilo)

Built in 1797 under the direction of the Augustinian order, the church is one of the most successful examples n the exuberant Philippine Translation of western baroque design principles into a hybrid local style. The church’s architectural composition follows the box-like structure attached to the rear of a pediment façade. Non-symmetrical bell towers, squat at the bottom but tapering upwards solidly anchor each side of the façade. The deeply incised relief carving gives the façade a remarkable three-dimensional quality.

The nalf carving depicts Saint Christopher dressed as a Filipino farmer, carrying the young Christ on his shoulders across a river set within a luxuriant field of primitively carved, out of scale representations of Filipino flora and fauna. In keeping with the nalf character of the ensemble, the architectural details are likewise very exaggerated in scale.

 
about the author:
 Augusto Fabella Villalon [BA Sociology, University of Notre Dame; M Arch Yale University] practices architecture in Manila, having completed a range of projects in the Philippines and other Asian countries. He has been active in the field of craft preservation since 1975, and in heritage preservation since 1985. He is currently in charge of the conservation management project for World Heritage Sites in the Philippines and writes a column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
de:http://www.ncca.gov.ph/ncca-search.htm

"Spanish Made Easy For Filipinos" main web page