Lazi Church

Roman Catholic Parish Church of San Isidro Labrador / Location: Lazi, Siquijor / Built ca 1882-94, under Fr Toribio Sanchez, OAR

The island of Siquijor was governed from Cebu until about 1854, then from Bohol until 1893, and from Negros Oriental until the end of the Spanish era. One of the barrios of the principal town, also called Siquijor, gained its political independence through a decree signed on 31 May 1854 by Gov-Gen Manuel Pavia y Lacy. The new town exchanged its original name Tigbauan for the maternal family name of its “sponsor,” as was quite common in the latter part of the 19th century. From the 1860s onwards the name’s spelling varied from Lacy to Laci; today it is Lazi.

The provincial of the Augustinian Recollects (OAR), who spiritually administered Siquijor, Negros, and Bohol, succeeded in having Lacy erected by the Bishop of Cebu as a parish on 8 Aug 1857. Construction of the present church and convent is credited to Fr Toribio Sanchez, OAR, parish priest from 1882 to 1894.

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The two buildings, set on the higher part of town, uniquely face each other across a road. The San Isidro Labrador church is cruciform in plan. Its walls, like those of the convento, are of quadrangular cut coral-stone slabs, typical of the Visayas region, with very minimal articulation. The church’s significance lies in the amount of wood used. The triangular pediment is of vertical planks painted red. The interior from the floor to the retablos to the ceiling is of excellent workmanship in wood. The floor is of alternating dark and light planks forming a “fish-bone” pattern. All this provides a rare example of how the earlier churches may have looked like.

The convento across the street strikes one as disproportionately large for such a small town. It is said that it served as a restful way station for the missionaries in the islands nearby. The remarkably sprawling structure features an arcaded ground floor with a high-pitched roof of galvanized iron sheets. The sliding window panels utilize colored glass instead of lampirong shell panes. The interior walls are of tabique pampango, woven bamboo slats plastered with lime. The amakan ceiling, also of thin bamboo strips, has retained its original lime plaster.

The Lazi church complex was declared a National Cultural Treasure on 31 July 2001. The retablos were conserved and restored by the National Museum. The roof and pediment were restored by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

SOURCE: Manila News-Intellegencer


Originally posted 2005-11-22 03:07:03.