Roman Catholic Parish Church of San Juan Bautista / Location: Calumpit, Bulacan
Strategically located at the confluence of the Baliuag River and Rio Grande de Pampanga, Calumpit was the first town in Bulacan to be Christianized. In 1572, together with Lubao and Betis in Pampanga, Calumpit became a visita (mission chapel) of Tondo under the administration of the Augustinians. Three years later the town received its first prior. Its religious territory was extensive, comprising what are now the towns of Candaba, Macabebe, and Paombong which were former visitas. Construction history of the church and convento is practically nil since the parish archives within both buildings were burned by the revolutionaries during the Philippine Revolution. However, it is know that both buildings were rebuilt before 1779. The bell tower was reconstructed in 1829, although its upper stories were recently altered.
The ornamentation of the facade is unique in the country, distinguished by bands of figurative carving and a multicurved roofline over the pediment. The bands of carving, representing various biblical personages, run horizontally along the middle of the facade’s lower level and the arch over the main entrance. Similar carvings frame the entrance of the south side. Much of the carving, especially that of the garlands and foliage, is curiously swollen and recalls certain 18th-century Mexican churches. A similar technique was used for the two escutcheons on the facade of the church in Pakil, Laguna. The one-of-a-kind silhouette crowning the facade unfortunately lost its vitality when it was incorporated into a larger, gable-shaped pediment several years ago. The facade of adobe blocks has also been cemented over; in contrast, the sanctuary walls were stripped of their stucco covering to reveal brickwork.
The church is clearly renovated, especially at the transept and the transept crossing. Furthermore, the facade bas-reliefs have been painted in a contrasting colors of white and terra cotta.
SOURCE: Manila News-Intellegencer
Originally posted 2013-11-21 23:43:57.