Built in 1630, Barasoain Church (also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish) is located in the historical town of Malolos, Bulacan. It was founded by the Augustinian Missionaries in 1859 and served as the session hall of Malolos Congress, the first congress in the Philippines held in September 15, 1898 under the presidency of Pedro Paterno.
During the time of the Spanish regime, General Emilio Aguinaldo and his colleagues decided to transfer from Cavite to Malolos to strengthen their defense against the enemies. Barasoain Church served as a temporary refuge of Aguinaldo and some of the Filipinos. It is the place where their group planned their aim in reclaiming the provinces they gave up to the Spanish troops. They also signed up constitutions regarding the fulfillment of their plans. It also became the place for voting.
In 1884, the church was destroyed by fire. However, renovations were done resulting to the slight conversion of the whole place. On September 29, 1898, the Malolos Constitution was drafted and the Filipinos eventually won over the Spaniards due to their strong conviction and allegiance. Eventually, the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic was effectively held in this church in January 23, 1899. This significant place witnessed the powerful alliance of Filipinos towards the country’s freedom from Spanish conquerors.
There are three important political events that transpired in the Church:
- the first assembly of the Philippine Congress on September 15, 1898
- the declaration of the Philippine Constitution on June 21 1899, and
- the establishment of the first Philippine Republic on June 23 on the same year.
Barasoain is said to be a replica of the Barasoain Church in Navarra, Spain. In its convent the Universidad Literaria Cientifica de Filipinas was first housed. Part of Barasoain Church is the Barasoain Church Historical Landmark Museum where one can see famous paintings on the ceilings on the dome. The light and sound museum is under the management of National Historical Institute. This museum is devoted to preserving the fruits of the Philippine-Spanish Revolution as well as freedom and the Filipinos' heritage of democracy. It houses a collection of religious artifacts from all over Bulacan.
As an important national landmark, Barasoain church was thoroughly and professionally restored in 1998 for the Philippine Centennial celebration. All alterations and remodeling to the original structure were removed and the church was returned as close as possible to its appearance at the time of the historic Constitutional Convention of the Malolos Republic. The existing convento adjacent to the church was converted into a museum, and new parish offices and priests quarters were constructed at the rear of the church compound.
The architecture of Barasoain Church engages the viewer for its curved facade, rose window and medieval bell tower. Floral motifs and frescoes of angels and saints adorn the interior.
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