|Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish|
Barasoain Church as seen from its plaza.
|Location||Malolos City, Bulacan|
|Founded||31 August 1859|
|Dedication||Our Lady of Mount Carmel|
|Relics held||John Paul II|
|Associated people||Emilio Aguinaldo
|Heritage designation||Seat of the First Philippine Republic|
|Designated||1 August 1973|
|Architect(s)||Fr. Juan Giron|
|Number of domes||None|
|Number of towers||1|
|Materials||Adobe and concrete|
|Diocese||Roman Catholic Diocese of Malolos|
|Province||Ecclesiastical Province of Manila|
|Bishop(s)||Jose F. Oliveros|
|Rector||Dario V. Cabral|
|Assistant priest||Edgardo Toribio, Jr.|
Barasoain Church (also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish) is a Roman Catholic church built in 1888 in Malolos, Bulacan. 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, 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. 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). By Presidential Decree No. 260, the church was proclaimed as a National Shrine by President Ferdinand Marcos on August 1, 1973. 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.
Barasoain was a barrio visit of Malolos until 1859, the year it separated from its matrix. Its titular patroness is Our Lady of mt. Carmel. In 1866, it had 10,516 souls; its population decreased to 9,618 in 1896. Construction of the Church: Fr. Francisco Arriola, appointed first parish on June 1, 1859, built the convent. A small ermita, constructed by Fr. Melchor Fernandez in 1816 while he was parish priest of Malolos (1816-1840), served as temporary parish church. One of the existing bells bears the year 1870. It was installed by Fr. Emterio Ruperez. It was donated by the “principalia (sic) of Malolos.” And dedicated to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel of Barasoain. Fr. Francisco Royo replaced the temporary chapel with a hewn stone church built between 1871 and 1878. This was soon destroyed by fire. The only remnant of this church is one of its bells, installed by Fr. Royo on February 30, 1873 and dedicated to St. Francis Xavier.Fr. Juan Giron who succeeded him, used the chapel of the cemetery until this one, too, was destroyed by the earthquake of 1880. Fr. Giron then built temporary chapel of nipa and bamboo which was burned down in 1884, during the solemn celebrations of the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
In 1885, Fr. Giron hired the services of contractor by the name of Magpayo and started, a fundamentis, the construction of a massive church made of masonry and bricks. The church was completed under Fr. Giron’s supervision. Jorde does not specify the year of its completion; he says only that, “at the time it was completed the pockets of Fr. Giron were drained.” In 1889, Fr. Martin Arconada started the construction of the tower and the restoration of the convent. Three bells were installed in 1897. One of them is dedicated to St. Martin, Bishop, and was donated by Fr. Martin Arconada. In 1894, Fr. Miguel de Vera undertook another restoration of the convent.
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.
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.
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.
Philippine bill issue
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.
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.
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