Malolos Cathedral

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For the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, see Manila Cathedral.
Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
(Malolos Cathedral)
Location Malolos City, Bulacan,
Country  Philippines
Denomination Roman Catholic
Former name(s) Malolos Church and Convent
Founded 1580
Founder(s) Rev. Mateo Mendoza OSA
Consecrated 1630
Past bishop(s) Most Rev.Rolando J.Tria Tirona OCD.D.D
Status Basilica Minore (Minor Basilica)
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Palacio Presidential
Designated 1950
Architect(s) Rev. Roque Barrionuevo OSA
Architectural type Church
Style Neoclassical
Groundbreaking 1580
Completed 1752-1753 (1st church)
1818-1819 (2nd church)
Number of domes 1
Materials Stone
Bells 12 (8)
Diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of Malolos
Province Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
Archbishop His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle D.D
Bishop(s) Most Rev. Jose Francisco Oliveros D.D
Rector Msgr.Pablo S.Legaspi Jr.

The Malolos Cathedral, also known as the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception (Spanish: Basilica Minore de la Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion), is the ecclesiastical seat of the Diocese of Malolos in the Philippines located in Malolos in the province of Bulacan.


The Pre-1863 lithograph photo of Malolos Church before the earthquake that torned down its clock tower in 1863

The Spanish conquerors arrived in Malolos in November 14, 1571[1] On April 1572 Augustinians headed by Fray Diego Ordoñez de Vivar from Guadalajara,Mexico established a mission chapel near River, (Canalate) he Christianized and baptized the natives. The settlement was annexed as one of the visitas of Paroquia de Tondo in May 13,1572, together with Lubao and Calumpit. Eight years later in 1580, a bigger church was built which was recognized as a Parish Church in the records of the Augustinian chapter of June 11, 1580 with Fray Mateo Mendoza OSA as its first curate minister. Malolos Convent have its jurisdiction to the Clerical and Christianization Missions in Binto (became Quingua Town in 1602) and Paombong in 1619 until 1635 as the Paombong Church became Parish. Due to the frequent submerging of its first location, they moved the church to another location facing Malolos River in 1591 (the present location of the church). Initially built from light materials in 1580-1591, later the church and convent were enlarged by 1590 under the curate Fray Cristobal Tarique OSA, where started to built church made of light materials. In 1599 Fray Roque de Barrionuevo started to built church made of wood and stronger materials. In 1673 Fray Jaime Balzac OSA started to built church made of stone and it was continuously built under Friars Ildefonso Tellez 1674, Diego Alday 1675, Juan de San Nicolas 1680, Lorenzo de Leon and Andres Ibarra and it was finished in 1700 In 1734, the church was retouched by Fr. Fernando Sanchez. Fr. Juan Meseguer finished this project in 1740 and Fr. Jose de Vivar applied the finishing touches in 1753. However, both the church and the convent were destroyed by fire in 1813. The construction of the present church was started in 1814 and it was finished in 1817 under Fray. Melchor Fernandez OSA. This prolific builder was also responsible for the addition of arches to the convent; the fortification of the belfry (to accommodate the installation of a clock); and the construction of the stone bridge connecting Malolos with Barasoain. However, the buildings were destroyed by a strong earthquake in 1863. Fray. Ezekiel Merino undertook the reconstruction of the collapsed structures which lasted until 1872.

Another severe earthquake took place in 1880 which destroyed the convent. Fray Juan Tombo began the restoration of the convent in 1883. It was completed in 1884 by Fray Felipe Garcia.[2]

As palacio presidential[edit]

Burning of the Malolos Cathedral in 1899

Malolos Cathedral served as the presidential palace of Emilio Aguinaldo during the First Philippine Republic from September 15, 1898 to March 31, 1899. Aguinaldo used the convent of the church as his office. During the Philippine–American War, the US Army decided to strategize their "Northern Campaign". US soldiers moved forward to Malolos in order to defeat Filipino forces in Malolos. Aguinaldo and his men decided to escape before the American Army arrived in the capital.

While escaping to San Fernando, Pampanga, Aguinaldo ordered General Antonio Luna to burn down the Malolos Church, as part of his scorched earth policy so that anything left would be rendered useless.

Contemporary times[edit]

From the ashes of war, the church was rebuilt from 1902 to 1936. Under Msgr. Pedro Abad, the baptistery was built and blessed by the late Rufino Cardinal Santos on 28 February 1954. The pews were acquired in 1957 by Msgr. Marcelino Montemayor and the roof was replaced during the time of Msgr. Francisco Domingo. The Malolos church became a cathedral with the installation of first diocesan bishop, Most Reverend Manuel del Rosario D.D., in March 1962. With the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Msgr. Virgilio Soriano commissioned a new altar in 1967. Mrs. Amparo Bautista-Julian donated a statue of the Immaculate Conception which was placed on top of the bell tower. When the cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Cirilo Almario, Jr. DD on December 4, 1976, the communion rail was dismantled and the sanctuary was renovated with stained glass windows. The old convent was reconstructed and expanded to accommodate the bishop's residence, chancery office and parish convent. During the incumbency of Msgr. Macario Manahan, the St. Joseph Social Hall was built; the old baptistery was transformed into a mortuary chapel; and a crypt was constructed below the main altar. When Rolando Tria-Tirona O.C.D., DD became bishop and moderator of the Team Ministry, renovations and repairs were undertaken like the Diocesan Hall being refurbished into the Mary Magdalene Hall. It was under the tenure of Bishop Tirona that the cathedral was elevated into the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on December 4, 1999. The present bishop, Jose Oliveros DD continues to make improvements especially with the church patio and its environs. The statues under the Kalayaan tree, the memorial cross fronting the Basilica and the Presidential Gale constituted different phases which are connected with the Patio Development Plan.

Parish priests 1580-1961[edit]

From 1580 up to the present time, Malolos Cathedral has a long list of parish priests who administered the church. The list includes priests from the Augustinian Friars and Archdiocese of Manila.

Due to the antiquity of Malolos Church, the list of parish priests from 1580 to 1680 came from other sources such as catalog of Augustinian Province archive.

Source: Catalogo Bio-bibliografico Religiosos Agustinos de la Provincia de Santisimo Nombre de Jesus de las Isla Filipinas des de su Fundacion Hasta Nuestros Diaz Author: Fr.Elvino Perez,Manila Establicimente Tipografico,Colegio de Santo Tomas 1901

Parish Priest Year assigned
Fray Mateo Mendoza OSA 1580-1584
Fray Diego Muñoz OSA 1584-1585
Fray Pedro Tristan OSA 1585-1590
Fray Cristobal Tarique OSA 1590-1591
Fray Francisco Bustos OSA 1591-1600
Fray Andres Ibarra OSA 1600
Fray Roque de Barrionuevo OSA 1600-1605
Fray Juan de Valderama OSA 1605-1609
Fray Francisco de Castramonte OSA 1609-1611
Fray Antonio Marquez de Figueroa OSA 1611-1614
Fray Fernando de Santa Maria Trujillo OSA 1614-1618
Fray Pedro de Salcedo OSA 1618-1623
Fray Diego Robles OSA 1623-1626
Fray Mateo de Braceros OSA 1626-1635
Fray Agustin Carreno OSA 1635-1636
Fray Juan de Trezo OSA 1636-1639
Fray Andres Jimenez OSA 1639-1641
Fray Sandro Moncada OSA 1641-1650
Fray Cristobal Enriquez OSA 1641-1653
Fray Lorenzo Figueroa OSA 1653
Fray Jeronimo Ramos OSA 1653-1656
Fray Jose de Mendoza OSA 1657-1659
Fray Diego Arellano OSA 1659-1662
Fray Jeronimo de Leon OSA 1662-1665
Fray Diego Gutierrez de la Fuente OSA 1665-1669
Fray Francisco Martinez OSA 1669-1671
Fray Jaime Balzac OSA 1671-1674
Fray Ildefonzo Tellez OSA 1674
Fray Diego Alday OSA 1675
Fray Jaime Balzac OSA 1677-1680
Fray Juan de San Nicolas OSA 1680

The list below is from the Malolos Cathedral Archive. Note that the Malolos Church was burned in 1899, and records are incomplete. Malolos Cathedral recorded the list of priests only from 1673.

Parish Priest Year assigned
Fray Francisco Lopez OSA 1673-1734
Fr. Yniguez OSA 1734-1736
Fray Manuel Cortezar OSA 1740-1741
Fray Josef de Viaz OSA 1742-1743
Fray Manuel Sacus de Nicolas OSA 1744
Fray Josef de Victoria OSA 1745
Fray Bernardo de San Guillermo OSA 1746
Fray Jose de Leon OSA 1749
Fray Manuel Cortezar OSA 1750-1752
Fray Josef de Viaz OSA 1753-1755
Fray Jose Montero OSA 1756
Fray Domingo Deovides OSA 1757
Fray Gregorio Gener OSA 1758
Fray Biaz Aguirre OSA 1759
Fray Jose Mediavilla OSA 1760
Fray Antonio Miranda OSA 1760-1768
Fray Manuel Ortega OSA 1768
Fray Pedro Cordojuela OSA 1769-1770
Fray Diego Perez OSA 1770
Fray Matiaz Nubia OSA 1771
Fray Antonio de San Prospero OSA 1772-1774
Fray Carlos Manrivero OSA 1774
Fray Joaquin Maturana OSA 1775-1801
Fray Benito Santillan OSA 1801-1800
Fray Juan Crespo OSA 1801-1802
Fray Andres Vigil OSA 1802
Fray Dionisio Santa Maria OSA 1803-1815
Fray Cayetano Lopez OSA 1815
Fray Melchor Fernandez OSA (the urban planner of old Malolos he built the Malolos Bridge and the present building of Malolos Church) 1816-1840
Fray Francisco Miro OSA 1840-1858
Fray Feliciano Concepcion OSA 1858
Fray Juan Tombo OSA 1859-1885
Fray Rafael Canlapan OSA (Canlapan Street in Malolos named after him) 1886
Fray Felipe Garcia OSA (opponent of the famous women of Malolos) 1887-1889
Fray Agustin Fernandez OSA 1890-1895
Fray Moises Santos OSA 1895-1898-
Fray Juan de la Rosa (the last Spanish Augustianian curate of Malolos expelled by the Filipino revolutionaries 1898)
Fr. Gregorio Crisostomo 1899-1900 (the first Filipino parish priest of Malolos Church)
Fr. Osmundo Lim (assigned to Barasoain) 1900
Fr.Alejandro Carlos (start of American Occupation) 1900
Fr. Magdaleno Castillo (started the rebuilding of the Malolos Church) 1901-1911
Msgr. Jose N.Jovellanos 1911-1917
Fr. Maximo Ma.Jovellanos 1919-1922
Fr. Bartolome Zabala 1922
Msgr. Vicente Fernandez 1922-1937
Fr. Nicanor De Guzman 1937
Fr. Simeon Guttierez 1937
Fr. Enrique Reyes 1937-1946
Msgr.Pedro Abad 1950-1955
Msgr. Francisco V.Domingo 1955-1961-

Diocese of Malolos Era[edit]

Malolos Parish Church became the cathedral church of the Diocese of Malolos in 1961. The pope designates the prelates who shepherd the faithful within the See of Malolos.

Bishops Term Post Notes
Most Rev.Manuel P Del Rosario D.D 1961-1977 First Resident Bishop from Samar, Emeritus Bishop of Malolos now lying in rest at Malolos Cathedral's crypt.
Most Rev.Leopoldo Arcaira D.D 1966-1988 Auxiliary Bishop of Malolos
Most Rev.Ricardo J.Vidal D.D 1971-1973 Coadjutor Bishop of Malolos now Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu
Most Rev.Leoncio Lat D.D 1980-1985 Coadjutor Bishop of Malolos
Most Rev. Cirilo Almario Jr., D.D 1977-1996 Second Resident Bishop of Malolos from Cavite,now Emeritus Bishop of Malolos
Most Rev. Deogracias Iñiguez, D.D 1985-1989 Auxiliary Bishop of Malolos Meycauayan, the first Bulakenyo priest became bishop of Malolos as its Auxiliary.
Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, D.D. 1996-2003 Third Resident Bishop of Malolos from Cavite, now Archbishop of Caceres,in his term Malolos Cathedral became Minor Basilica in 1999
Most Rev. Jose F. Oliveros, D.D 2003-Present Fourth Resident Bishop of Malolos from Gumaca, Quezon. In his term Dioces of Malolos celebrated its 50th Golden Jubillee and Immaculada Concepcion de Malolos was canonically crowned

Style and design[edit]

The predominant feature of the Cathedral-Basilica is the semi-circular arch in its lower part. The ornamentation is moderate; the massing is well balanced and the symmetrical movement of the columns and openings are almost neoclassic. The facade is divided by single and coupled Doric columns in three segments, and is dominated by large semi-circular arches of the openings in the first level, and the smaller ones superimposed on the second level which are alternately semicircular and segmented. The triangular pediment strongly outlined by heavily projecting broken cornices is topped by a sort of acroteria in the center and torch-like finials. A statued niche flanked by fluted pilasters topped by a segmented canopy crowns the silted frame of the center window. Triglypha decorate the frieze and a stylized Augustinian emblem decorates the center of pediment. The over-all impression is one of the neatness of line, counterbalanced by the dramatic circular of the openings.

During old times, the Malolos Cathedral's bell tower was a topped with a triangular cone, it may be seen on the photos exist mostly on war times in 1898-1899. In 1970, during the major renovation of the Cathedral, the triangular cone at the top of the bell tower was removed and replaced by a concrete statue of the Immaculate Conception, donated by Amparo Bautista. The said statue still exists as of the present time.

Previously, the cathedral only had one door at the center. It was made into three doors in the 1950s

The image of the Immaculate Conception at the Altar Retablo[edit]

According to reliable information, the statue of the Immaculate Concepcion was made before the Second World War. The opus is attributed to Donding Ople, a gifted artist who was orphaned at a very tender age. The original work is kept in an undisclosed place but the statue at the high enclosure behind the main altar is the perfect replication of the original. Many of the devotees flock to the image of the Immaculate Concepcion.

The Miraculous Image of Our Lady[edit]

The Miraculous image of Our Lady enshrined in the main altar was carved by a certain Donding Ople in 1950. Due to the miraculous attributes in devotion to the Immaculate Conception. The Malolos Curia decided to produce some replicas. An elite replica of the said statue was first displayed at the right of the Sanctuary, at the middle, beside the statues of Saint Joachim at Saint Peter patriarch.

The devotion to Immaculate Conception seems to be very effective and was then reported to miraculous, so to enrich the faith of the Malolenos, a set of stairs was attached to the altar, that the people may go and touch the statue. This action was made under the time of service of the then rector, Msgr. Jojo Galvez and Fathers Ron Cristobal and Francis Protacio S. Cortez III as members. On this time also, the statue was officially named "Virgen Inmaculada Concepcion de Malolos."

In their tenure, a replica of the image was placed in front of the Adoration Chapel's Capella Sanctorum (Chapel of the Saints). The statue is elevated high and is connected down with a set of stairs. Beside the entrance stairs is a book entitled "Prayer Requests" where devotees are expected to write their prayers, on the middle at the highest elevation is the statue of the Virgin. Beside the exit stairs is a book entitled "Answered prayers." Devotees were expected to write their own experiences of divine intervention through the said statue. The main reason of putting it apparently below the image, just after seeing the statue is that, reported incidents state that "just touching the image of the Virgin already performed the miracle."

The Canonical Coronation and the 50th Golden Jubilee[edit]

Due to popularity of miraculous attributes, a petition was made for the Canonical Coronation of the image at the main altar of Malolos Cathedral. In May 2011, the Vatican granted the petition for the canonical coronation through a papal bull. The Solemn Canonical Coronation held last March 10, 2012.

During the time of Msgr. Jaime Garcia and Fr. Conrado "Badong" Santos, Jr. and Renato "R.J." Brion, [2009–present] renovations and refurbishments inside and outside the cathedral and its patio were started in preparation for the Canonical Coronation and the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Malolos. When Msgr. Jaime Garcia died on June 4, 2011, Fr. Pablo S. Legaspi, Jr. replaced him as rector, continuing and completing the needed refurbishments in preparation for the diocese's Golden Jubilee.

The Kalayaan Tree[edit]

The Historical Kalayaan Tree

The Kalayaan Tree (Siar) is located in the patio of the Cathedral. Based on certain reports, it is not certain that Aguinaldo planted this tree because it is already matured Siar tree when the First Philippine Republic were established. The historical significance of this tree is that of a living witness to the Malolos Republic. Aguinaldo and his Cabinet have conducted many political discussions there. Under the tree is a monument that symbolizes the meeting of Filipino revolutionaries represented by Gregorio del Pilar and Gen. Isidoro Torres; Don Pablo Tecson, an erudite legislator; Padre Mariano Sevilla, a nationalist leader of the church and Doña Basilia Tantoco, portraying a woman freedom fighter.


  1. ^ Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, volume 34, page 304-310, paragraph 3
  2. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°50′32″N 120°48′42″E / 14.84233°N 120.811589°E / 14.84233; 120.811589