Pinaglabanan Church

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Saint John the Baptist Parish
St. John the Baptist Parish
Pinaglabanan Church
Parokya ng San Juan Bautista
Pinaglabanan Church 7.JPG
The church's eastern façade and Centennial Belfry
14°36′18″N 121°01′41″E / 14.6049°N 121.0281°E / 14.6049; 121.0281Coordinates: 14°36′18″N 121°01′41″E / 14.6049°N 121.0281°E / 14.6049; 121.0281
Location140 Pinaglabanan Street, Barangay Pedro Cruz, San Juan, Metro Manila
Country Philippines
DenominationRoman Catholicism
Founded15 July 1894
Founder(s)Rev. Fr. Roman Pérez, OFM
DedicationJohn the Baptist
Cult(s) presentOur Lady of Perpetual Help
John the Baptist
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationCultural Property
Architect(s)Luis Arellano
Architectural typeNeo-Romanesque
Number of spires1
ParishSt. John the Baptist Parish
ArchdioceseRoman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
ArchbishopLuis Antonio G. Tagle
Pastor(s)Rev. Msgr. Nestor C. Cerbo, P.C., STh.D

Saint John the Baptist Parish (colloquially, Pinaglabanan Church; Filipino: Parokya ng San Juan Bautista) is a 19th-century Roman Catholic church in San Juan City, Metro Manila, Philippines.[1] It belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.


The church derives its name from John the Baptist, to whom it is dedicated. He is both the patron saint and namesake of the city, which has the ceremonial name of "San Juan del Monte" (Saint John of the Mountain), owing to the area's hilly terrain.

The edifice is also known colloquially as the "Pinaglabanan Church", as it is several metres from the Pinaglabanan Shrine. The area near the church and shrine received the name "Pinaglabanan" (Tagalog for "battleground") as the Katipunan engaged the Spanish Empire in the Battle of San Juan del Monte, marking the start of the 1896 Philippine Revolution.



Although the parish was established on July 15, 1894, the construction of the first church happened a year after, under the supervision of architect Luis Arellano and the financial support of Mariano Artiaga. A Franciscan, Fr. Roman Pérez, OFM served as the first parish priest from 1894 until 1897.[2]

The newly built church then enshrined a centuries-old image of John the Baptist, after whom the town is named.[3]

Revolution against Spain[edit]

On 30 August 1896, the Battle of San Juan del Monte between Filipino and Spanish troops occurred on the tract of land fronting the newly built church. The battle, which was one of the first in the Philippine Revolution, is commemorated annually at the shrine and park that stands today at the site.[1]


The high altar within the western sanctuary of the church. A freestanding altar stands before it on a platform that extends into the main nave.

Ramón J. Fernández spearheaded repairs to the church, which was damaged in the Revolution. When Fr. Hernando Antiporda (who later became Auxiliary Bishop of Manila) was parish priest in 1951, the church was renovated and expanded under the supervision of architect Otilio A. Arellano, grandson of the original architect, Luis Arellano. The younger Arellano notably preserved the original façade and nave of the structure.[1] With the expansion, the church acquired two additional front doors.[2]


In 1975, Msgr. Severino Casas built two mortuary chapels in the church compound. Changes in 1983 included the lengthening of the nave and the removal of the choir loft above the main door, as well as the installation of the crucifix above a new altar. The retablo (reredos) was preserved, while the antique image of St. John the Baptist—which was previously at the top-centre of the retablo—was moved to the Saint Joseph Chapel.[2]

A rectory, social hall, and crypt were built in 1987 on the location of the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto built in 1955. A year later, a Perpetual Adoration Chapel was built, only to be demolished to make way for the Holy Child Parochial School (now the St. John the Baptist Catholic School). A smaller, air-conditioned Adoration Chapel at the ground floor of the school near the church's southern entrance was finished in 2009.[2]

Declaration as Historical Landmark[edit]

The St. John the Baptist Church was declared as a historical landmark through San Juan Municipal Council Resolution, Ordinance No. 63 Series of 1989.[2]

On 15 May 1994, the Feast of the Ascension, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, blessed and inaugurated the new San Juan Centennial Belfry, built to commemorate the church's hundredth anniversary. Architects Renato Berroya and Arsenio Topacio designed the structure, which matches the façade,[4] and houses the church bell that dates to 1896.[2]

Parish Priests[edit]

Name Years serving Present assignment
Most Rev. Protacio G. Gungon, DD 1977–1978 Bishop-emeritus of Antipolo / deceased
Rev. Msgr. Alfredo B. Rodriguez, H.P. 1978-2000 deceased
Rev. Msgr. Albert A. Venus, P.C., M.A.Ed. 2000-2001 Parish Priest, Our Lady of Fatima Parish (Fatima Avenue, Philamlife Village, Pamplona Dos, Las Piñas City)
Rev. Fr. Victor Allan B. Dichoso 2001-2002 Parochial Vicar, Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish (62 Constellation Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City)
Rev. Fr. Francisco M. Ungria Jr. 2002-2015 deceased
Rev. Fr. Herbert John B. Camacho (acting) February to July 2015 Parochial Vicar, Saint John the Baptist Parish, San Juan City
Rev. Msgr. Nestor C. Cerbo, P.C., STh.D July 1, 2017 – present


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Old Churches". City of San Juan, Historic City of Excellence. San Juan City Government. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Parish History". St. John the Baptist Parish. St. John the Baptist Parish. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  3. ^ "San Juan Tourist Attractions". It’s More Fun In The Philippines. Department of Tourism. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  4. ^ "San Juan City Landmarks: Pinaglabanan Church". Surprises from the Heart of the Metro. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2014.

External links[edit]