Pampanga Philippines: San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor
San Guillermo Parish Church is one of the oldest and largest churches in the Philippines. It was accepted as an Agustinian convent on December 31, 1576 on the lot owned by Don Guillermo Manabat. The church was restored by Fr. Manuel Diaz in 1897. The church boasts of having main retablo, side retablos and pulpit that are heavily gilded with gold leaves. The rich decorations of the church depict the Baroque style of architecture.
Only half of the original facade of the church can be seen today due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 which half-buried the church. After the volcanic eruption, the town’s people painstakingly excavated the altar and the retablo and relocated it under the dome in order for the tall wooden retablo to fit. The retablos niches are filled with centuries- old statues which were saved from destruction of the lahar.
The citizens of Bacolor take pride in their rich heritage which is why they carefully excavated the ornately carved main and side altars and restored in its immaculate condition. The church is already a world famous tourist destination prior to the lahar tragedies and present has remained being so.
The San Guillermo Parish Church was named after the town’s Patron Saint, San Guillermo. ThisPhilippine Religious Heritage was originally constructed by the Agustinian Friars in 1576 with Fr. Diego De Ochoa, OSA, as the first town’s parish priest. In 1880, the Church was destroyed by an earthquake only to be rebuilt by Father Eugenio Alvarez in 1886. On September 3, 1995, lahar flow from the slopes of Mount Pinatubo which was erupted on June 15, 1991, buried the church at half its 12 meter height.
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