Barasoain Church

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Barasoain Church
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish
Barasoain Church as seen from its plaza.
Barasoain Church is located in Philippines
Barasoain Church
Barasoain Church
Republic of the Philippines
14°50′48″N 120°48′46″E / 14.846649°N 120.812679°E / 14.846649; 120.812679Coordinates: 14°50′48″N 120°48′46″E / 14.846649°N 120.812679°E / 14.846649; 120.812679
Location Malolos City, Bulacan
Country Philippines
Denomination Roman Catholic
Founded 31 August 1859
Dedication Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Events Seat of First Philippine Republic
Associated people Emilio Aguinaldo
Felipe Calderon
Pedro Paterno
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Seat of the First Philippine Republic
Designated 1 August 1973
Architect(s) Fr. Juan Giron
Architectural type Church
Style Baroque
Completed 1885
Number of domes None
Number of towers 1
Materials Adobe and concrete
Bells 5
Diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of Malolos
Province Ecclesiastical Province of Manila
Bishop(s) Jose F. Oliveros
Rector Dario V. Cabral
Vicar(s) Jonathan Lazaro

Barasoain Church (also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish) is a Roman Catholic church built in 1630[1] in Malolos, Bulacan.[2] It is about 42 kilometers away from Manila. Having earned the title as the Cradle of Democracy in the East, the most important religious building in the Philippines,[3] and the site of the First Philippine Republic, the church is proverbial for its historical importance among Filipinos.

Founded by Augustinian Missionaries in 1859, the church is also renowned for its architectural design and internal adornments.[1] The original church was burned during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, but was later renovated.

The church recorded some of the important events occurred in the country. While it has been a temporary residence of General Aguinaldo, three major events in Philippine History happened in this church: the convening of the First Philippine Congress (September 15, 1898), the drafting of the Malolos Constitution (September 29, 1898 to January 21, 1899), and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic (January 23, 1899).[4] By Presidential Decree No. 260, the church was proclaimed as a National Shrine by President Ferdinand Marcos on August 1, 1973.[5] Unusual for newly elected presidents in the Philippines, the church has been a venue in many inaugural affairs. General Emilio Aguinaldo and former president Joseph Estrada were the only two who have been inaugurated in the place.[6]


Opening of the Malolos Congress in 1898

Historic Barasoain started as a village of Malolos in 16th century and was created as an independent town in 1859. It was reannexed with Malolos in 1903 and this explains the presence of a stone church here. Barasoain had its first stone edifice in 1871 which replaced a temporary one, but was later burned in May 1884 during the Santacruzan. Construction of the current structure was started in 1885 while the belfry was constructed in 1889. The church became the most historic church in 1898. Hundred years later--in 1998--President Joseph Estrada took his oath of office in this venue.

On August 1, 1973, under Presidential Decree No. 260, President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared the church compound as a national historical landmark. It was stipulated that the "preservation, restoration and/or reconstruction shall be under the supervision and control of the National Historical Commission Institute in collaboration with the Department of Tourism."[7]


The term "Barasoain" was derived from Barásoain in Navarre, Spain to which the missionaries found the place in Malolos in striking similarity. When the Spanish-Filipino revolution broke out, the Spanish authorities coined the term "baras ng suwail," which means "dungeon of the defiant" because the church was a meeting place for anti-Spanish and anti-colonial illustrados.[6]

The first and the new site[edit]

Bell Tower of Barasoain Church

Eight years after the founding of Manila, the Augustinian friars founded the Town of Malolos in 1580. A settlement was made by the Augustinian missionaries and they created Barrio Barasoain in 1630. A church made of nipa and bamboo was constructed near the river between Maluslos (Malolos poblacion) and Barasoain. In that same year, Malolos Friar Curate and Vicario Foraneo Fray Agustin Carreno, OSA established the first chapel at the old Ermita of the old Cemetery of Malolos. Abandoned in 1680, it served as the temporary visita of Barasoain, located in front of the Casa Tribunal (Presidencia), which is now commonly called "Casa Real de Malolos." A big fire in the 17th century destroyed the new church.

Another church building was commissioned and constructed on a new site, its present location—corner of Paseo del Congreso and Antonio Bautista streets. Under the supervision of Rev. Fr. Francisco Royo, O.S.A., the new church was built, made of light materials. In 1884, during the celebration of the Flores de Mayo (Nuestra Señora del Carmen), Patroness of the Parish, the temporary church was burned.[8]

From 1630 to 1859, priests serving in Barasoain were from the nearby church, the mother church of the town - Parroquia dela Inmaculada Concepcion of Malolos. Since the formal establishment of Barasoain as an independent parish to Malolos Church in 1859, several priests were assigned by the Augustinian Order, and later by the Archdiocese of Manila and Diocese of Malolos.


Since the erection of the church, its second church on the second site built by Fray Francisco Royo was destroyed in a fire in 1884. Prompting various renovations from time to time. The present church was the Fray Giron version of the church structure itself, which was very similar to how the church looked like during the Spanish Period. The facade has Neo-Classic touches and its rounded pediment is echoed by the arches and rose window at the lower part.[9]

Throughout those years, Barasoain Church have undergone several changes and variations of its main retablos. It was made of wood during these years: 1925, 1940, 1950, and 1990. Finally, due to the celebration of the Centennial of Philippine Independence in 1998, Monsignor Moises B. Andrade, together with the National Historical Institute (now NHCP), Provincial Government of Bulacan, then-Municipality of Malolos and Diocese of Malolos decided to revive the original 1885 stone retablo of Barasoain Church hidden in the back of the sanctuary. Church renovations were done in 1997, a year prior to the Philippine Centennial celebration.

The church consists of two structures: the church; and an adjoining convent. While the left part outside of the church is a medieval bell tower, the entrance of which has bamboo arches linings and its sides are rose windows. Its architectural design is simple although it has paintings on the ceilings and has a divided nave, which makes it look bigger than its actual size. The altar has glimmering lights despite the church's historical reputation.[10] Floral motifs, frescoes of angels and saints embellish the interior of the church. Right in front is a convent which has a museum dedicated to the three historical events that took place in the church.[4] Barasoain Church Ecclesiastical Museum has been a repository of important artifacts found within the vicinity of the province,[11]

Philippine bill issue[edit]

Before 1998, the image of the church has been depicted in certain monetary bills, namely the English series one peso bill and the Pilipino, Ang Bagong Lipunan, and New Design series ten peso bill together with an image of Apolinario Mabini on the other side. However, it was replaced by a ten-peso coin without the representation of the church. In 2009, local priests and Laban ng Bulacan movement officials, led by their chairman John Paul Albert Limpo, initiated a signature campaign to appeal to the Philippine Bangko Sentral restoring at least the image of the church in any present Philippine bill.[12]

Corollary to the removal of the image, Msgr. Angelito Santiago, the then-rector of Barasoain Church once averred, "the people are starting to lose a sense of nationalism and history and a nation’s currency system ought to help bring them back. Thus, as the parish priest, he initiated on October 22, 2007 a signature campaign among the parishioners and tourists, both local and foreign, for the inclusion of the picture of Barasoain Church in Philippine peso bill in order to inculcate and remind the Filipinos of the significance of Barasoain Church in the history of the nation. Getting more than 10,000 signatures, which included the signatures of Malolos Bishop, Jose Oliveros, Malolos Mayor Danilo Domingo, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado, he sent the petition letters to then Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Central Bank Governor Amando Tetangco, Congresswoman Marivic Alvarado requesting to put the picture of Barasoain Church in the 200-Philippine peso bill since the ten-peso bills, which bore the picture of the Church, were no longer being reprinted. The petition of the local officials, led by John Paul Albert Limpo, Chairman of Laban ng Bulacan movement, was considered by the government and then restored the Barasoain Church replica on the new 200-Philippine bill alongside the image of President Joseph Estrada taking his oath of office on June 30, 1998. The reverse portion depicted President Fidel V. Ramos on the re-enactment of the declaration of Philippine Independence at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1998 as well as the Philippine Centennial Logo.

Finally, after three years of petition, in December 2010, upon the issuance of the new Philippine Peso bill, the Barasoain Church is finally back in the Philippine 200-peso banknote.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Bulacan". Travel Global Pinoy. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  2. ^ Watson, Todd (27 July 2013). "God in the Philippines". Inside Investor. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Marquez, Teodoro S. (1968). "Malolos, Bulacan and Philippine Nationalism: Collected Writings". TSM Books and Souvenirs Enterprises and Agency Services. p. 4. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  4. ^ a b "Barasoain church Historical Landmark". National Historical Institute. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  5. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 260". Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  6. ^ a b "Other facts about Barasoain". Geocities. Archived from the original on 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  7. ^!nhcp-barasoain/c4po
  8. ^ "National Historical Commission Of The Philippines | Republika Ng Pilipinas". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  9. ^ estan (2008-03-17). "Simbahan. Philippine Heritage Churches and Related Structures". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  10. ^ "Bugs at Barasoain: Volkswagen Club visits Bulacan’s historic church". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2007-11-18. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Things to Do and see in Bulacan...". Wow Philippines. Archived from the original on 26 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  12. ^ Reyes, Carmela (2007-10-16). "Priest wants Barasoain Church depicted in RP money as before". Breaking News/Region ( Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  13. ^ "Newscore". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 

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