Dalaguete Church

Roman Catholic Parish Church of San Guillermo / Location: Dalaguete, Cebu / Built 1802-25

The town of Dalaguete takes its name from a tree common in the area. A list that goes back to 1582 mentions Dalaguete as one of the encomiendas of Cebu. A 1599 document declares it a visita (mission chapel) of Carcar. The town is said to have been founded in 1711. Other sources state that it was founded in 1690 as a visita of Carcar, and elevated to a parish in 1711, with San Guillermo el Ermitano as its patron. Because of hostile attacks on the coastal towns of Cebu, the construction of watchtowers was given priority in the 17th and 18th centuries. Three watchtowers were built in Dalaguete.

A chapel of light materials must have been built when the visita was established. The construction of the present church began in 1802 under the direction of Fr Juan Chacel. A bell cast in 1805 was probably hung in a temporary bell tower. Although Fr Chacel was assigned elsewhere for two years, he returned to Dalaguete in 1818 and continued working on the church. The church was completed in July 1825, three months before Fr Chacel died.

The convento was built from 1832 to 1842. The belfry was constructed from 1854 to 1860. In 1860 the altar was finished with marble and the floor with tiles. Structural repairs were undertaken starting in 1868. In 1905 a silver frontal was installed at the main altar. In 1931 the roof tiles were replaced with galvanized iron sheets. In 1935, Canuto Avila of the San Nicolas district of Cebu City was commissioned to decorate the ceiling with paintings while Fr Ruperto Sarmiento was parish priest. Avila, assisted by his sons, worked on the painting for six months, from 1 July to 16 December 1935.

The church is 60 m long, 18 m wide and 11 m high. The belfry is 9 m wide and about 13 m high. A one-story building connects the belfry to the church.

The facade is divided by cornices into three horizontal sections, and by thin pilasters into three vertical sections. At the apex and ends of the raking cornice are finials. The pediment is a triangle with truncated side corners. At the central section, resting on the cornice, is a decorated niche over which floats a small round window. The walls of the side sections of the pediment are unadorned. The central section of the second level of the facade has a small niche, resting on the lower cornice. On both side sections are relatively large arched windows that rest on the lower cornice. The central section of the first level of the facade is almost wholly occupied by the arched portal, which nearly touches the cornice above it. On the side sections of the first level are niches that appear to hang from the cornice above them.

The three-story bell tower is octagonal, with arched openings and a domed roof surrounded by a balustrade. Like the bell tower of Argao, it has a mechanical clock. It has at present 10 bells, all functioning. The treasures of the Dalaguete Church include the painted decorations on the ceiling and the finely carved rococo ornaments of the principal and side retablos.

Dalaguete Church was designated a National Historical Landmark through the National Historical Institute Resolution No 3, 2004.

SOURCE: Manila News-Intellegencer


Originally posted 2006-11-22 01:05:12.