Paete Church (also known as St. James the Apostle Church) is located in Paete, Laguna. St. James the Apostle is the patron of this church built in a town famous for its woodcarvers.
In 1580, Juan de Palesencia, a Franciscan friar built a friary in Paete. Its stone church and its convent were built in 1846. In 1717, Rev. Francisco de la Fuente led the construction of a stronger church, which was later destroyed by the earthquake of 1880. The church was reconstructed in 1884 by Rev. Pedro Galiano which was filled with century-old paintings and woorden statuaries. It was destroyed by an earthquake on 20 August 1937 and has since been rebuilt.
Paete Church blends a distinctly local style with Western baroque style. All the religious images were carved and/or painted by the residents of Paete long ago. It was completed in the early Spanish period, with a magnificent baroque altar, intricately carved images and 19th century murals by local artist Jose Dans. Although the church has been recently renovated, and the construction materials are not like the original, the designs remain mainly the same. The church is symmetrically organized and compact, with apertures limited to the entrance, choir loft windows, and the circular pediment windows. The ornamentation consists of floral bas-reliefs and acanthus leaves. A relief of Saint James treading on the bodies of dead pagans provide a focus which braids the floral ornamentation together. The triangular pediment has a trim of small ornamental volutes. The bell tower has arched windows and these peek out of the bell tower, rising in tapering tiers. A balustrade is carved on the windows around each level, topped by an octagonal belfry with small, slanting buttresses. Each side features a companile window and the bell tower cornice is a decorative terracotta screen.
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