The name Barasoain Church isn’t new to us anymore for it became part of our childhood even though we are not from Bulacan. We usually see this church when we pay ten peso bill to the nearest sari sari store. And I remember in elementary when I got one mistake in our Makabayan quiz for misspelling Barasoain.
But as we grow older, we realize that it isn’t merely part of our childhood. As Filipinos, Barasoain Church plays a huge part in the foundation of our independence. Due to its historical importance, Barasoain Chruch, also known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, is claimed as the most important religious building in the Philippines.
Before anything else, let me first give you a bit of Philippine history. The church recorded some of the important events including the convening of the First Philippine Congress, the drafting of the Malolos Constitution and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic. Barasoain Church also become the temporary home of our first president. Wow! I can’t believe that all of these happened exactly on where I am today. It’s like I’m seeing signs like saying that Emilio Aguinaldo was here.
After suffering from two fires and an earthquake, the Barasoain priests finally decided on building a church that is not made of nipa and bamboo anymore. Using concrete and adobe, Barasoain Church is constructed and as you can see, it stands firmly up until now. Its architecture followed a baroque style with oval base. The wooden doors are intricately carved with biblical images and the rose windows decorated with capiz shells.
Alongside the church is this beautiful bell tower in its medieval design. Just like the church itself, the six-sided tower is built with stone blocks. It has a pointed roof and arched windows. I learned that the bells installed in this tower also share a story on Barasoain Church’s history. I just couldn’t remember it. Behind the tower, an image of Jesus stands. And if you will continue to walk behind it, you will meet the devotional area where you can light up candles and say your prayers.
The altar presents different religious images enclosed in golden columns and arches while the ceiling carries elegant chandeliers and is supported by intricately-designed pillars. However, if not only for the splendid altar and embellished columns, the interior of Barasoain church will neither look like a historical church nor like a national shrine. Due to unending renovations, the rest of the church already gives a modern vibe.
An additional reason why Barasoain Church is a must-visit is this small museum that features Sigaw ng Kalayaan, Watawat ng Kalayaan, Pagtindig ng Republika, Saligang Natas at Pinunong Kinatawan and Pagtatanggol sa Republika. It exhibits life-sized diorama of Emilio Aguinaldo and his gang during the Malolos Congress, old documents, municipal antiques, significant artifacts, Aguinaldo’s carriage by the exit and many more.
I couldn’t take clear photos of the exhibit because it’s very dark inside. Mom couldn’t enter alone because aside from the dramatic lighting and sound, the museum is quite creepy. However, regardless of the atmosphere, the five galleries are indeed educational and entertaining. We gained a lot of historical information. But sadly, it left us hanging becuase each galleries are small and the exhibit is more of readings and replicas.
In the middle of the parish, museum and other buildings, a small garden is situated. There are concrete benches and round tables that church goers can use while waiting for the next mass. I can even see students making their school staff here so I assume that a school is near the church. Since the park is surrounded with trees and landscaped beautifully, it is a nice place to relax and enjoy the breeze. I also heard that people can rent the garden as venue for events.
One thing we shouldn’t miss are the souvenirs! Your friends who haven’t been here will surely love a small remembrance from Barasoain Church from you. And you will find the perfect gift in this shop located beside the church. Rosaries, small statues, sculptures, frames, shirts, historical figures – name it and they have it. I really like the ten peso play money for it hides a lot of memories but I decided to buy this small pen holder. I absolutely admire how this thing is sculpted. It perfectly copied Barasoain Church!