Text/Script for “Bells of St. Francis” – Tau Studio
1.Church of San Bartolome, Nagcarlan
Nagcarlan was only a small barangay when it was first colonized by the Spaniards who were led by Captain Juan de Salcedo,
the grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1571. The conversion of the natives to Christianity began shortly after the arrival
of the first group of Franciscans in 1578.However, it was only in 1583 that
the town had its first permanent priest, Fray Tomas de Miranda. The first church was made of wood and nipa. It was dedicated
to San Bartolome, one of the apostles.
In 1752, the town’s stone and brick church was built under the direction of Fray Cristóbal Torres. The materials
used for the construction of the church came from the nearby area. The missionaries simply relied on whatever material the
people may offer. This accounts for multi-colored stone and bricks that make the Church walls.
The church was burned in 1781 but Fray Atanacio de Argobejo did immediate repairs. Fray Fernando de la Puebla, to whom
the construction of the existing four-story bell tower is attributed, finished the repair works.
In 1845, the parish priest, Fray Vicente Belloc, did a general restoration on the church along the Baroque style.New and elaborately designed tiles were laid to add splendor to the church’s
In the 1990’s extensive repair and restoration took place under the supervision of the then parish priest, Monsignor
The Franciscan spirit continues to make its presence felt through the Franciscan coat of arms stamped on the bells of
of Nagcarlan. This seal of the crossed-arms of Christ and St. Francis is marked on the bells in all the Churches built by the Franciscans.
2.Church of San Antonio de Padua,
It was the Augustinian missionaries who first visited the town of Pila.
But in 1578, the Franciscans, led by Fray Juan de Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropresa, took over
the administration of the town. Impressed by the faith of the townsfolk, Fray Oropresa chose to establish stay in the town
while Fray Plasencia opted for the town of Lumbang as his home base. With Fray Oropresa as its first parish priest, the Church of Pila was inaugurated on the feast day of San Antonio
de Padua on June 13, 1581. With San Antonio as its protector, the church is said to be the first parish in the Philippines to be dedicated
to the saint.
The construction of the Church made of stone began in 1599. However, due
to constant flooding, the town altogether transferred to its present site of Sta. Clara in 1800. The present church together
with the convent was completed in 1849 under the supervision of Frs. Antonio Argobejo and Domingo de Valencia. However, both
buildings suffered damages during the 1880 earthquake.
The church faces the huge patio with its façade appearing as a well-arranged composition with proportional height and
width. Divided into three levels, the vertical division of the frontage is dominated by super-positioned classical Doric columns
in pairs at the middle part and single columns at the outer front. However, at the pediment, square piers that flanked the
niched statue of San Antonio de Padua replace the columns. The pediment’s raking cornice is lined above by balusters
terminated at the base by acroteria similar to that of Baras. Windows of the second level are with frontons while niched statues
of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart are found on thelower level. The
Franciscan seal forms as the keystone of the semi-circular doorway. On the left side of the church is the three level square
based octagonal bell tower.
church bell which has a date inscription of 1681 is known to be the third oldest in the country.
3.The Church of St. John the Baptist, Liliw
was a small barangay and part of Nagcarlan when it was first evangelized by Fray Juan de Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropresa.
In 1605, Fray Miguel de San Lucas was assigned as its permanently priest.The
first church was made of wood. It was dedicated to St. John the Baptist.In 1643, the construction of a concrete
church and convent began.An earthquake in 1880 partially destroyed the church
that was reconstructed in 1885. However, on April
6, 1898, the church was gutted by fire. Reconstruction, however, followed
thereafter. Tradition says that a wooden statue of San Buenaventura that wept blood in 1664 was being venerated in this Church.
walls of the Church are made of both red bricks and adobe blocks. The façade made of red bricks is divided into three levels.
To the right of the church is a huge three level square based octagonal bell tower covered with a dome on top of which is
4.Church of San Gregorio Magno, Majayjay
The stone marker found in the façade wall indicated that the first missionaries who visited Majayjay were the Augustinians.
Though it was not explicitly expressed whether a chapel was built, it is presumed that a structure for the purpose was built
in a site called May-It in 1571.A fire destroyed the structure in 1576. In 1578,
when the Franciscan friars led by Fray Juan Plasencia founded a mission in Majayjay they immediately rebuilt the burned church
that was dedicated to the patron saint St. Gregory the Great.
Though an authorization for the construction of a stone church was given in 1599, the project could not materialize
due to fires that gutted the church three times in between rebuilding. When the town and consequently the church were burned
in 1602, the new site of the town was transferred to Ilayan-Majayjay. Here a church of stone was built only to be destroyed
again by a fire in 1616. It was only in 1619, that the construction of a stone church began through the assistance of Maestro
de Campo Don Buenaventura de Mendoza. This church was completed in 1649. However, in 1660, a fire destroyed a large part of
the town, and the church, unfortunately, did not escape the disaster. This prompted the government to require the natives
to work uninterrupted for a period of six months in the rebuilding of the church. However, the workers saw no need for it
to be totally built. They instead re-strengthened the structural components of the edifice.Fray Jose de Puertollano decided to sandwich the ruined walls between two layers of brick, thus giving the church walls
an unusual thickness of about three meters.The repair was finished in 1830.In 1839, 1842 and 1848, typhoons destroyed the church and were subsequently
reconstructed by the people.
ofMajayjay staggers the eye because of its tremendous proportions and massiveness. The church, of stone and
brick, is in fact, one of the few, if not the only three-story church existing in the country today.”
the right of the church is the five level square bell tower with a conical roof.
5.The Church of San Luis Obispo de
The Franciscan friars Fray Juan de Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropesa came to evangelize Lucban in 1578. It remained
a visita due to the scarcity of priests who will administer to the spiritual needs of the natives. In 1595 it was made a parish
under the ministry of Miguel de Talavera. A church made of wood was built and was placed under the protection of San Luis Obispo of Tolosa. In 1629, the
structure was destroyed and the church was transferred to its present site. A church made of stone and masonry covered with
nipa was soon built in 1630 and was completed in 1640 while the convent was finished in 1650. In 1683, the roof of the church
was changed to tiles and so with the convent under the supervision of Fray Francisco de Huerta. A fire destroyed the structure
in 1733. It was on the same year that the church was reconstructed under the administration of Fray Pascual Martínez and was
finished in 1738.
The chruch was partially destroyed during the Second World War and was reconstructed under the leadership of Msgr. Antonio
Radovan and with the assistance of some friends from America, and the Historical Conservation Society.
This church is very interesting in the sense that one has to analyze closer the frontage only to discover that columns,
statues and moldings dominate the wall surface. These elements are not noticeable due to the materials used. The style of
architecture of this church is Baroque as shown by the pediment and the curving lines of the stringcourse that divides the
façade into three levels. On the second level are semi-circular windows with spaces in between filled with statues of saints
on niches and stylized Corinthian columns. The main door at the ground level has double arches with flanking semi-circular
windows at the outer front. An octagonal three level bell tower on a square base stands on the left of the church.
6.Basilica Minore of San Miguel, Tayabas (with narrator)
7.Church of San Francisco de Asis, Sariaya (with narrator)
8.Church of Sta. Magdalena, Magdalena, Laguna
town of Magdalena was known as Ambling, a barangay of Majayjay, until it separated from the latter in 1821.The first church made of wood and cogon, dedicated to Sta. María Magdalena, was built in 1820. The following
year, the Franciscan Fray Antonio Moreno was appointed its first parish priest.
Pablo de la Concepción in 1829 decreed the building of a stone church so that the townspeople were levied taxes to raise fund
for the church building. In addition, the people were required to quarry sand and stone from the river. Construction work
on the church continued until 1839 and ceased after that. Resumption on the construction continued only in 1849 until it was
finished in 1855.
a rather large plaza, the church is elevated on a high podium reached by a flight of steps. At the left of the Church is a
four level octagonal bell tower on a square base. A domical roof with a lantern above is placed over the tower. The bell tower
was finished in 1861.
9.Church of San Sebastian, Lumban
was, for a time, the center of all missionary activities in Laguna. It was placed under the protection of St. Francis of Assisi because Lumban held the distinction
as the first Franciscan mission settlement. However, in the18th century, the town adopted St. Sebastián, the Martyr,
as its patron saint and since then, the parish bore the name of the saint.
1578, Fray Juan de Placencia chose to minister in Lumban. In order to begin the work of evangelization, a church made of bamboo
and thatch was constructed in a place called Entablado found in the northern part of Lumban. Destroyed by a flood,
a new church made also of wood was again built. However, the structure suffered another destruction and this time by fire.
In 1586, when Fray Pedro Bautista (now San Pedro Bautista) was the parish priest, he
obtained permission for the building of a new church and convent that was to be made of stone. With permission granted by
the governor general, LumbanChurch was reputed to be the first stone church built in Laguna. Finished in 1600 after long years of hard labor and several
tragedies, it was also considered to be the first Franciscan building made of stone built outside Manila. It was also here that the Blessed
Sacrament was reserved for the first time outside of Manila in 1600.
church was heavily damaged during the Japanese Occupation in 1941. In 1947, it was seriously damaged by a storm. The church
was repaired in the ensuing years.
church’s three-level facade has an austere design. On the right of the Church is the square based three level octagonal
bell tower. Atop the bell tower is the statue of San Sebastian, its patron saint.
10.Church of Santiago Apostol, Paete (with narrator)
11.Church of San Pedro Alcantara and Our Lady of Turumba, Pakil
town of Pakil was part of Paete until 1676 and Fray Francisco de Barajas became its permanent priest. Pakil took its name from its
Datu, Gat Paquil who ruled the town in 1575. Under the protection of San Pedro de Alcántara, its first church structure was
made of bamboo and nipa.
1732 the construction of the stone church and the convent began under the direction of Fray Fernando de Horo. Destroyed by
a fire in 1739, the construction of the church nevertheless, was finished in 1767.. In 1788, the image ofNtra. Sra. de los Dolores de Turumba was enshrined in the Church.
In 1851, a big fire destroyed the convent and a portion of the church. It was a miracle that the image of the Ntra.
Sra. de los Dolores de Turumba was spared from the fire. From then on, the devotion to the Virgin increased.
In 1852, both the church and the convent were restored under the supervision of Fray Juan de Llerena. In 1881, another
earthquake destroyed the bell tower and the church’s roof. Fray Juan de Dios Villajos immediately made repairs on the
roof on the same year. Then in 1937, an earthquake badly damaged the church that was repaired by Fray Federico Diáz Pines.
the interior of the church has been renovated recently, the design of the church remains the same. It’s facade is a
reflection of the fine craftsmanship the town is known for. It is embellished with cherubims, scrolls, royal coat-of-arms,
garlands, and horizontal stringcourses that divide the three levels of the church’s frontage.
of stylized Corinthian columns provided vertical relief to the whole design assemblage of the façade. Towards the base of
the pediment, the columns are topped by what could be similar to a monstrance carved with cherubim. Attached to the left of the church is the three level bell tower in receding sizes covered with domical
roof and on top of which is a cupola. The topmost level is octagonal while the lower two are square. The bell tower houses
four small bells and one huge bell that are rung daily at and