Monday, November 26, 2007

St. John the Baptist Church, a historical landmark in Misamis Occidental

A PEACEFUL and tranquil town somewhere in Misamis Occidental marks a great historical impact in the whole of Misamis Occidental. It stood as witness to the battle and struggle of the early residents of Misamis Occidental and neighboring provinces.

The church of Saint John the Baptist in the municipality of Jimenez in Misamis Occidental was built in the early 1859 by a Recollect friar, Fr. Roque Azcuna.

This is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and a look-alike church in Malolos, Bulacan -- the famous Barasoain Church. Indeed, it was known that the architect who designed the Barasoain Church is also the very same person who was instructed to design the St. John the Baptist Church in the municipality of Jimenez.

The materials used in building the church were coral stones, egg whites, lime and solid masonry. It measured 150 feet long, 10 feet wide, 50 feet high and a patio with clay bricks roofing.

Fr. Azcuna's works was continued by his successor, Fr. Jose Abad in 1886. It was during Fr. Abad's time that the floor, ceiling, and the beautiful altar was built. The posts that were eaten by termites were replaced by narra wood.

In 1891 until 1898, the church received the most beautiful adornments under Fr. Constancio Asencio. It was in 1894 that the famous pipe organ from Zaragosa Spain arrived, which was made by Roques Hermanos Constructores. The bell tower, a 19 meters high made of stones was built and in 1896 the clock bell that rings by itself every hour was installed on top of the center tower. Well-crafted icons and paintings adorned the church ceiling. It was done by Don Julio Sanz Cruzado from Bilbao, Spain.

On February 4, 1974, repair and restoration works of the church was started. And it was year 2000 that the National Commission on Culture and Arts declared it a National Treasure. The Program Conservation and Restoration of church mural and paintings was undertaken by the National Museum of the Philippines.

For more than a century, the church withstood the test of time. It is a living testimony of how our ancestors live their lives and their religious beliefs. It is also a sanctuary of religious relics, its beauty and antiquity survived the passing of time.

si Dr. Vernon N. ang nag picture ani. Nice picture Doc. :-)

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