Pardo Church

Pardo Church
Church of Santo Tomas Villanueva in Pardo, Cebu, ca 1990 (CCP Collection)

Roman Catholic Parish of Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church Complex / Location: Pardo, Cebu / Built 1880–1893 / Architect: Domingo de Escondrillas

Cebu City, officially the City of Cebu (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Sugbo; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Cebu; Spanish: Ciudad de Cebu), is a 1st class highly urbanized city of the island of Cebu in the Central Visayas Region, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 922,611 people,  making it the fifth-most populated city in the nation and the most populous in Visayas.

Located some eight kilometers south of Cebu City, Pardo was established as a town in 1863 out of the merging of the barrios of Inayawan, Bulacao, and Basak. It became an independent parish on 10 April 1866 after it was separated from San Nicolas.

Plans for the church were drawn up through the efforts of Fr Meliton Talegon, OSA, parish priest from 1866 to 1873. Designed by Domingo Escondrillas of the public works office in Cebu, the architectural plan was approved in 1872. Fr Manuel Ybeas, OSA, who succeeded Talegon in 1873, started the construction in 1880 and completed the church in 1893. Renovations and modifications were carried out under succeeding parish priests, but the basic structure of the church remained.

The church’s walls are of coral stone and lime. The original roofing was of red-clay tiles with rafters of molave and apitong. This was replaced with galvanized iron and, presently, with colored zinc roofing.

The Pardo Church departs from the standard facade of Augustinian churches in Cebu. Vertical rows of small round windows recall the Byzantine style, also seen in Ginatilan, Cebu. Its belfry is integrated into the entire fortress-like structure, which is marked by a four-level belfry. The belfry is flanked on both sides by twin cylindrical towers capped with four-sided cupolas. The balustrades at the topmost level are not part of the original plan. There used to be a pointed cupola at the fourth level. Blind windows decorate the third level of the facade and the fourth level of the bell tower, whose pinnacle is crowned by a globe of solid wood mounted with a cross. An ojo de Dios (eye of divinity), formerly a rose window, now decorates the second level. On the ground level is the main arched door of the church. Four pairs of stilted windows and a pair of side-entrance doors allow ventilation from the side of the church.

The interior embellishments of the church are also not common to Augustinian churches in the province. The main door opens out to a single spacious nave, with a transept forming a cruciform before the main altar. In the original plan of 1872, this terminated in an apse in which the altar was located. Another unusual feature is the way diagonal walls link the ends of the transept with the apse on one end and the nave on the other. A similar arrangement is seen in other Cebuano churches such as Liloan and Mandaue. Space for the sacristy at the back of the altar lengthened the structure, now with a trapezoidal end. A dome rises above the crossing and another above the retablo mayor. There are side altars at the south and north wings of the church.

A late 19th-century structure, the Pardo Church was built at a time when building construction was already more strictly regulated by Church and state. Thus the church conforms to a plan, which is seen in the consistency of the design and execution of exterior and interior sections as well as in the standardization of embellishments.

Stone facings from the cylindrical towers flanking the facade fell due to the earthquake of 15 October 2013. Otherwise the church was saved from major damage.

Felipe Fernandez de Pardo was born in Valladolid, Spain and was ordained a priest in the Order of Preachers. He served as Rector Magnificus of the University of Santo Tomas for two consecutive terms from 1652 to 1656. On January 8, 1680, Pope Innocent XI appointed him Archbishop of Manila. On October 28, 1681, he was consecrated bishop by Diego de Aguilar, Bishop of Cebu with Ginés Barrientos, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, serving as co-consecrator and assisted by Father Andrés González. He served as Archbishop of Manila until his death on December 31, 1689.

While bishop, he was the Principal Consecrator of Andrés González, Bishop of Nueva Caceres (1686).



SOURCE: Manila News-Intellegencer (1991)

Originally posted 2000-11-22 21:01:03.