Take Me to Church “St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church” – Beautiful Sunday
My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108
It’s time to go back and continue to share our travel, in this enchanting province called Laguna in the Philippines. A place filled with art, food, nature, stories and architecture. Today I am excited to share with you again one of my favorite subjects in photography which is churches. As some of you might already know this is a subject that takes me to the zone and would be very difficult to pull me away from it. Join me today as I take you with me around this church that was established in the year 1676.
St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church
This Roman Catholic church is located in Pakil, Laguna. Also known as Pakil church I have been told that a local horror movie called Shake Rattle and Roll part 11 was shot here. I have not seen the movie yet, but I guess this old church was a perfect venue for them. Like most of the Spanish churches in our country it also has been damaged multiple times by earthquakes.
The style of the church is a mix of Corinthian and Ionic design. The materials are made from bricks, gravel, sand and cement.
The church marker that was added in 1988. Written in our local language I took the liberty to provide the translation.
The Church of Pakil
Construction made from bamboo and nipa by Padre Francisco Barajas with patronage
of San Pedro de Alcantara when Pakil separated from Paete,1676. The construction of
the stone convent and church was ordered by Padre Fernando Haro, 1732; burned 1739
and completely finished ,1767; Tower extended, 1777; Unveiling of the Virgin of Turumba.
1788; Again was burned, 1851; Reconstructed by Padre Juan de Llarena. Destroyed by an
earthquake the tower and roof of the church. 1881 Reconstructed by Padre Juan de Dios Villayos.
The ceiling and altar was installed by Padre Paulin Camba. 1883, Again destroyed by and earthquake,
1937 rebuilt by Padre Federico Diaz Pines with the help of the Confederation of United Catholics.
The altar was made into marble by Padre Joseph Regan and consecrated by Bishop Alejandro Olaila,
1959. The tower and ceiling was reconstructed thru the management of the the Parish Council of the
From the outside you could already see the beautiful stone engravings on the walls of the church.
With so many details you would want to have a closer look at the time tested engravings. A patina on the stones has also developed thru the years which adds to the beauty of this architecture.
There are holes on the cross of the church which I think may have been installed with lights. It would be amazing to visit the church at night and feel a different vibe.
There are statues of saints housed on the walls outside. Time has caught up and fading paint and crumbling is clearly visible.
Before we go inside I figured to check the sides of the church.
Also decorated with stone carvings, the sight of it almost takes you back thru time. The power cables in our country are all above ground and I always think that it is very unsightly especially in front of beautiful architectures such as this.
Unlike, the few churches that we visited this one was not fortified with a buttress to withstand earthquakes. Although it has been damaged by earthquakes multiple times they still didn’t incorporate it.
As mentioned, it also has a Corinthian design in which is visible on the columns of the side entrance.
The bell tower is an iconic symbol in churches. I love the sound of those bells, but with all the churches that we visited, I have never been able to climb up the bell tower. Maybe on our next churches to visit I’ll have a chance to climb up.
The tower has two level and I think there are seven bells. The second level has four and the first one has three.
Time to see what the inside looks like and I was very hopeful to get more detailed shots inside.
There was a funeral on going and there was no chance to get closer to the altar. I guess I could only take photos near the entrance.
The big wooden doors of the church has that medieval feel to it. I’m not sure what type of wood is used, but I like how they kept its original form which adds to it’s character.
The Holy Water basin is quite unusual to what I normally see which are angels. This one looks like some sort of creature and I wish we had some to tell us the story behind it. With a crown, sharp teeth, pointy ears and there are spheres held with each hand.
The inside of the church is beautiful and I hope I could come back here to have a closer look at the artworks and retalbo that houses the statues.
There are painting on the ceiling which I could not make of. Now I really would need to come back here.
From the back the stations of the cross are paintings from unknown artists. The pews are no longer original and looks new. We had some churches that we visited that had pews that looks very ancient.
Since we didn’t have a chance to get closer we headed to the convent on the side of the church.
A small courtyard is well kept and had the statue of the Virgin Mary in the center.
The hallways of the convent had stalls which sold rosary, holy water, prayer books, key chains and other religious items.
There is a festival held in this town during April and May called the Turumba Festival to honor the Our Lady of Sorrow.
The image of Our Lady of Sorrow is a depiction of Mary being pierced with a dagger in the heart. As the story goes a painting was found by fishermen in September the 15th the year 1788. The painting was caught in the net of the fishermen in Laguna de Bay. The painting was surprisingly heavy so they left it on the shore. The next morning women found the painting as it was dry, another thing that was unusual no one could move it. They called the priest and other church members. Miraculously they were able to lift it and take it to the church. This was the beginning of the Turumba festival which is the longest and largest religious festival in our country.
The original painting that was found floating is located somewhere in the church and it is similar to the painting above. It is the one with the rotten wooden frame.
Another depiction of Our Lady of Sorrow.
Photos from previous festivals shows how grand the festival is.
Another section of the convent houses religious artifacts and more paintings.
This piece is painted on the ceiling and has no information of the artist and I asked around, but no one knew. If it wasn’t such a busy day it would have been nice to have a quick chat with the local priest. I could have learned a lot more about this church.
A framed copy of the Shroud of Turin. Most of you might already know what it is, but just to add information to others, it is a burial linen cloth that is said to bear the image of Jesus Christ.
Age also shows inside the convent with a ceiling that looks like it could fall anytime now.
We headed outside to see what else we could find.
A statue of an angel that has some sort of rag placed on it’s head. Could be one of the old statues that used to hold the Holy Water basin in front of the church.
The prayer area where you light up a candle. Usually there is a donation box when you light up a candle. Right now there is no one around praying this afternoon.
I happened to see a window by the side and was able to get closer shot of the retalbo.
All things comes to an end and the mass might be longer so there was no chance to take more photos inside. Still it was another enjoyable day for me.
The mountain behind the church has a large cross overlooking the town. It is a good thing I had my zoom lens with me to get a shot of the big white cross. I was told you could hike up to that cross which is less difficult than the one we previously climbed A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus”. A great addition to this beautiful town and maybe we could climb up there if time permits.
Thank you for joining me in this short tour of Saint Peter of Alcantara Parish Church. Taking photos of churches is something I would never get tired of or bored with. I has grown on me like a song that gives me peace. Looking forward to share more of our travels and I hope you join me again.
Until then have a blessed Sunday everyone.
Visit some of my old works to see some of the churches in the Philippines.
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All photos are original and taken with
12-32 mm kit lens
Olympus 40-150 mm