Quezon: Tayabas Basilica

Located in Tayabas in the province of Quezon, Tayabas Basilica is the largest church in the province. It also boast the 338-foot aisle which is the longest nave among all the Spanish Colonial era churches in the Philippines. 

Built sometime in 1580, Tayabas Basilica started out as a small open-air hut made of bamboo, cogon, and nipa. It could probably fit only thirty to forty individuals then. The church was then repaired in 1590 and was rebuilt using bricks in 1600. Sadly, the church was destroyed by the 1743 earthquake but like most churches then, it was quickly rebuilt and expanded by the faithful locals of Tayabas. Further expansion to the church was made between 1856 and 1866 under the supervision of Father Benito de la Pila. 
Tayabas Basilica facade


Basilica's seal
Plaza in front of the basilica
NHI Marker
The church became part of the history of the Philippine Revolution when Filipino forces led by General Vicente Lukban accepted the surrender of the Spanish army on the patio of the church on August 13, 1898. Decades later, during the Second World War, the church convent was used as a garrison by the Japanese Imperial Army before they were driven out by the returning American forces.
Church interior
The dome
Baptismal room
Church altar
The church became a Minor Basilica when Pope John Paul II conferred the said title to it on October 18, 1988. Then on July 31, 2001 by virtue of Presidential Decree no. 374, Tayabas Basilica and 25 other churches in the Philippines were declared as National Cultural Treasures.
The nave
The organ on the choir loft


Tayabas Basilica generally has a Baroque architectural design. However, traces of Chinese architecture and influence like the lion statues in front of the building shows some of the said influence to the church structure. Due to the shape of the facade and the connected buildings, Tayabas Basilica is often referred to by locals as the "Susi ng Tayabas" or Key of Tayabas.
Circa 1836
The old bell
View from the belfry
The church interior on the other hand was built in the Neo-Classical style. It has seven altars with the image of Nuestra Senora de los Angeles standing in the central retabulo of the altar. 
old church clock
Another notable feature of the church is its belfry. Not because of any fancy design but due to the 18th century clock installed in it. The clock is the oldest and largest church clocks in Asia. It stands 1.6 feet tall with a circumference of 1.38 feet. Its hour hand is 1.6 feet long while its minute hand measures 2.03 feet long. 
Angels of the patio
The church underwent major renovations and restoration in 2000 and another one in 2011. It was during the last restoration that solar panels were installed to provide power to the lightings of the facade making Tayabas Basilica the first Spanish Colonial era church in the Philippines to be solar powered.
The side area going to the priest's lodging
The fountain
Susi ng Tayabas


I got to visit Tayabas Basilica on the last day of the Experience Quezon 2016 Media Tour. During our visit, part of the left side area near the altar was being repaired. The museum was also closed. Luckily for me and a fellow media member, the area leading up to the belfry was open. We didn't miss the chance to head up the belfry and snap some pictures of the old bells and the town from a higher vantage point. 
The nave as seen from the choir loft
Overall, who wouldn't want to be married in a church with the longest nave. The bride would have the benefit of having a long bridal march and not to mention, plenty of time to ponder if her decision to marry is the right one. 

Getting there:

From Manila, Cubao, or Alabang ride a bus heading to Lucena Grand Terminal. From there, you can ride a jeepney or van heading to the town of Tayabas. When you reach Tayabas, you can just walk or ride a trike going to the basilica.

Ratings:
Pilgrims
Cleanliness
Overall rating

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