Barasoain Church

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Barasoain Church facade.JPG

The Barasoain Church, also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, is located in the historical town of Malolos, Bulacan. The parish was founded by  Augustinian missionaries in 1859, when Barasoain was separated from the town of Malolos and hence needed its own church. The church was completed in 1888. The Barasoain Church is of utmost historical importance to the country, having served as the session hall of the first congress in the Philippines, the Malolos Congress, in 1898.

History

Barasoain was known as Bangkal when it was part of the Encomienda of Malolos, which Miguel Lopez de Legaspi integrated with the town of Calumpit on April 5, 1572. When Malolos became a town in 1580, Bangkal remained a part of it. Malolos Friar Curate and Vicario Foraneo Fray Agustin Carreno, OSA built the first chapel of Barasoain in the same year at the old ermita of the old cemetery of Malolos. A fire in the 17th century gutted the structure.

Barasoain was separated from Malolos in 1859. A parish was then founded following this separation. A temporary church was consequently made out of a small ermita built by Fr. Melchor Fernandez in 1816, when he was parish priest of Malolos (1816-1840). A hewn stone church built from 1871 to 1878 by Fr. Francisco Royo replaced the temporary church, but it was destroyed by fire not long after, with only one of its bells, installed in February 1873, left to survive. Fr. Juan Giron, the successor of Fr. Royo, used the cemetery chapel for services until it was destroyed in 1880. Fr. Giron had a temporary chapel built out of nipa and bamboo, but this was burned down in 1884, during the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

In 1885, Fr. Giron hired the services of contractor Miguel Magpayo to build a huge church made of bricks and masonry. Constructed in the Baroque style, the church was completed in 1888.

During the Philippine Revolution in the late 19th century, General Emilio Aguinaldo and his colleagues transferred from Cavite to Malolos to strengthen their defense against the Spaniards. The Barasoain Church served as a temporary refuge to Aguinaldo and other Filipinos. In the church, the group hatched their plan to reclaim the provinces that they had given up to the Spaniards.

On September 15, 1898, the Malolos Congress, the first Philippine congress, convened in the Malolos Church to draft what would become the Malolos Constitution. Eventually, the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic was held in the church on January 23, 1899. The Barasoian Church witnessed the alliance of Filipinos towards the country’s freedom.

Political Events

There are three important political events that transpired in the church:

  • the first assembly of the Malolos Congress on September 15, 1898;
  • the declaration of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899; and
  • the establishment of the First Philippine Republic on January 23 1899

Architecture

The church 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 the 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 Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). This museum is devoted to preserving the fruits of the Philippine Revolution as well as the Filipinos' heritage of democracy. It also houses a collection of religious artifacts from all over Bulacan.

As an important national landmark, the 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 the church engages the viewer for its curved façade, rose window and medieval bell tower. Floral motifs and frescoes of angels and saints adorn the interior.

References

Citation

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