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Batangas: Balayan Church

Located at Plaza Mabini Street, Balayan in the province of Batangas, Balayan Church is one of the Spanish colonial era churches in the province. It is also listed as a National Cultural Treasure.

Also known as Immaculate Conception Parish Church, Balayan Church was constructed sometime in 1591 under the directives of the Jesuit Order right after the Franciscans turned over the supervision of the town to them. 
Balayan Church - Immaculate Conception Parish Church

Church facade with the newly constructed biblical images at its plaza.

The red brick bell tower

NHI Marker of Balayan Church

The first church was made from light materials mainly wood, bamboo, and nipa which was abundant in the area. However, due to the growing number of devotees and the frequent damages brought by Mother Earth, a new stone church was built in 1795. The church was dedicated in honor of the Immaculate Conception which is the patroness of Balayan. 
Church interior
The pulpit

The altar area

Despite the improved architectural design, the church still sustained major damages during the earthquake of 1870. The second and third levels of the bell tower and the upper levels of the convent had to be demolished due to the damages it sustained from the said earthquake. The devotees had to attend mass in a temporary chapel nearby while the church underwent repairs. 
The main retablo or retablo mayor
The side retablo on the right

The side retablo on the left
The beautifully painted church dome ceiling

After the reconstruction, the archbishop authorized the purchase of a retablo mayor, acheros, and pulpit in 1875. A few years later, an extension was also added behind the church which served as an antesacristy. The second and third stories of the belfry were then reconstructed in 1892 using bricks instead of stones which made the belfry's color different from the grayish facade.
One of the church's water fonts 
The Confessional box 

Inside the side chapel

Other displays inside the side chapel

He died quite young... 

During the Philippine Revolution, the Filipino secular priests took control of Balayan Church from the Spanish friars. However, they were later driven out by American troops who used the church as one of their headquarters in Batangas in 1900. 
The statue of Christ found outside the church

Some of the old bells of Balayan church...

...are now displayed on the left side of the church

I got to visit Balayan Church for the first time during our 2019 Visita Iglesia. It was the first church in our list of churches to visit. What I like about this church is its beautiful exterior and interior. Its fortress-like appearance evidently shows its baroque architectural design. What's more pleasing to the eye is the contrasting color of its orange brick belfry and its gray stone facade not to forget the reddish Immaculate Conception College beside the church. Regarding its interior, there's this feeling of being transported back in time when entering the church/ The retablo looks grand but what caught my eye was the ceiling painting above the altar depicting different scenes in the bible.

Overall, Balayan Church is a must-include for those planning to do a Visita Iglesia in Batangas.

Getting there:

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