Saturday, June 2, 2012

Siquijor's San Isidro Labrador Church: A national cultural treasure

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I've had the chance to see two of Siquijor's oldest churches during my trip there last month. I'm not really a heritage site fanatic but I'm appreciative enough of such architecture, as I've realized in my earlier trip to Bacolod (see here and here).

The San Isidro Labrador parish church in the town of Lazi was the first old church I entered in the island-province. I wasn't really planning on seeing it but my guide suggested I take a look because it had a hardwood floor. Well, I've never heard of a colonial-era church with wooden flooring before, so it was enough to pique my interest.

Built in 1884 under the supervision of the Augustinian Recollects, the church used coral stone and hardwood. It has two pulpits but is best characterized by its hardwood flooring. On July 2001, the church complex, which, I believe includes the old convent opposite the church (see here), was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum through Presidential Decree No. 374.

There's no denying that this church is really old. I mean, it shows.

I wanted to explore the church further up to the altar but my feet never moved beyond the entrance. It was awkward because a lot of local parishioners were hard at work scrubbing the floor and applying floor wax over it. The general cleaning signaled that their fiesta was just days away. So after snapping as much photos as I can from my distance, I took off.

I'm really amazed at the hardwood flooring. It's quite impressive that the local townsfolk were able to preserve it since the late 1800's. See the twin pulpits?

During the feast of San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore) last May 15, the church's official marker to commemorate its National Culture Treasure status was unveiled in a ceremony that followed the blessing of its newly-restored retablo mayor (main altar) and twin pulpits. The restoration was funded by a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy. The money was also used for upkeep of both roofing and flooring.

I'm just thinking if this is the marker in question. While it was "unveiled" only last May 15, naturally there was no veil over it yet before the ceremony, so this could be it. Sneak peak!

The church's exterior. It was hard to get a clear shot with the gigantic trees outside.

Hopefully next time there won't be people applying floor wax so I can see the altar and pulpits up close.


  1. What a beautiful place!!
    You have a really interesting blog! I'm following it! :-)


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