Basilica de San Martin de Tours
|Basilica de San Martin de Tours
Taal Basilica, the biggest in the Far East
|Affiliation||Catholic (Roman Rite)|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Minor Basilica|
|Direction of façade||Southwest|
|Groundbreaking||1st church (1575)
2nd church (1755)
3rd church (1856)
|Length||88.6 metres (291 ft)|
|Width||48 metres (157 ft)|
|Materials||Adobe and coral|
Basilica de San Martin de Tours is a Minor Basilica in the town of Taal, Batangas in the Philippines, within the Archdiocese of Lipa. It is considered to be the largest church in the Philippines and in Asia, standing 88.6 metres (291 ft) long and 48 metres (157 ft) wide. St. Martin of Tours is the patron saint of Taal, whose fiesta is celebrated every November 11.
In 1575, 3 years after the founding of Taal town in its old site near the shores of Taal Lake, work began on the construction of its first church by Father Diego Espinar (O.S.A.) with Saint Martin of Tours as patron saint. The church was rebuilt in 1642 using stronger materials but in 1754, it was destroyed along with the town of Taal in the largest recorded eruption of Taal Volcano. This event led to transfer of the town and the church farther away from the volcano to its present site atop an elevated hill facing Balayan Bay. The ruins of the previous church can still be seen in San Nicolas.
Father Martin Aguirre donated the land and began the construction of the new church in 1755. It was continued by Fr. Gabriel Rodriguez in 1777 and by Fr. Jose Vitoria in 1782. Fr. Ramon del Marco decorated the church, built the convent and paved the "processional" road with bricks around the atrium of the parochial building. This church was damaged by a strong earthquake on September 16, 1852. The earthquake centered near Taal Volcano, though no volcanic eruption was recorded.
Construction of the present church was begun in 1856 by Fr. Marcos Anton with Spanish architect Luciano Oliver commissioned to design and manage the construction of the new church. Although it was unfinished, it was inaugurated in 1865. This huge church was completed by Fr. Agapito Aparicio in 1878, adding the main altar of Doric style measuring 24 metres (79 ft) high and 10 metres (33 ft) wide. He was also responsible for the baptistery made with tiles imported from Europe. A small tower on the left side of the facade contained the large church bell, which in 1942, was destroyed by an earthquake. It was reconstructed later, but its appearance did not match the church.
Minor Basilica and further restoration works
The church was then restored in 1953 in preparation for the Canonical Coronation of the Our Lady of Caysasay. The following year on December 8, 1954, the church was declared as a Minor Basilica, the third in the country to be given such honor. The church was again restored in 1972 by the Taal Quadricentennial Council for the 400th anniversary of the town's establishment. By Presidential Decree No. 375 on January 16, 1974, the church was declared a National Shrine.
The damaged belfry was later restored in 1990 under the supervision of the National Historical Institute. In 2011, upon the assignment of Msgr. Alfredo Madlangbayan, the Basilica underwent another massive restoration as sections the church interior were restored to its original trompe l'oeil ceilings and the tower was restored with a new set of carillon bells. The restoration was completed in November that same year.
- Diocese of Taal. "St. Martin of Tours Brochure". Retrieved on May 17, 2011.
- Maso (1904), p.75.
- Maso (1904), p.63
- Layug, Benjamin L. "A Tourist Guide to Notable Philippine Churches." Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 2007.
- Maso, Saderra (1904). "Volcanoes and Seismic Centers of the Philippine Archipelago", Dept. of Commerce and Labor, Washington.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Taal Basilica.|
- Taal Basilica Info Web Page
- Taal. Biyahero – Philippine Travel Portal.
- St. Martin of Tours Brochure. Diocese of Lipa.