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Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan
Part 8 of the Libotero Pampanga and Malolos Heritage Series
From SM City Pampanga, I was planning to visit Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. I searched around the transport terminal looking for any means of transportation that would bring me to the historically significant church.
Since I was a child, I’d always look at the Barasoain Church in the ten-peso bill and say to myself, “I’ll go there someday” and my Pampanga trip was the perfect opportunity to make a short stopover at Malolos.
Fortunately, there are several jeepneys and vans that serve several points in Bulacan. A GT Express service was available for Malolos so I immediately hopped in. Fare was at P40, not bad.
For the entire duration of the trip, I was asleep, so I had no idea where we passed through, but I was quite sure we did go through the North Luzon Expressway. 30 minutes later, Manong Driver was poking me already as we had arrived at the van terminal in the Petron station along MacArthur Highway, Malolos City and I was the only passenger left inside the van. I felt quite embarrassed so I quickly jumped off the van, LOL. I immediately walked away and started looking for locals whom I could ask for directions. Passing by BPI, Greenwich and Chowking, I reached an intersection and then saw a queue of tricycles so I approached them. “Manong, sa’n po ba dito ang Barasoain Church? Malapit lang po ba? Pwede n’yo po ba akong dalhin du’n? Magkano po ang pamasahe?”, (Manong, where is the Barasoain Church? Is it nearby? Can you take me there? How much is the fare?) I asked. This old driver I asked gently replied, “Dayo ka ano? Malapit lang naman. Labinlima lang. Sige sakay na” (Hmm, you’re a tourist? Well, it’s just near. [Fare's] P15 only. C’mon hop in). And so I did. The engine started and we crossed the MacArthur Highway towards Paseo del Congreso St. We basically travelled just a straight line, about a kilometer long and in less than five minutes, we were already by the entrance of the Barasoain Church!
The Barasoain Church (also knows as the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish) was built in 1630 in Malolos. It has earned the distinction as the Cradle of Democracy in the East and one of the most important religious structures in the Philippines and the palace of General Emilio Aguinaldo.
The church is also known for its architectural design and internal adornments. The original church was burned during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution. However, it was renovated.
The church became a witness to three significant historical events, among them are:
- 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).
Because of this, the church was proclaimed as a National Shrine by President Ferdinand Marcos on August 1, 1973 by virtue of Presidential Degree No. 260.
Aside from the three events listed above, General Emilio Aguinaldo and Former President Joseph Estrada were also inaugurated in the Church as duly-elected president of the Republic of the Philippines during their time.
Right in front of the Barasoain Church is an imposing statue of Emilio Aguinaldo. He is the first president of our country and he made the church his home during his term of office. Behind his statue, are the flags used by the Philippines from the oldest to the current flag.
Even though the church isn’t part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List, I was very glad to have finally visited the church as it is the most important church in our country’s history. Some of you might find it weird that a 20-year old like me is more interested on old churches than bumming in the beach but that’s me. Although I really love the beach, and other natural attractions, I also really appreciate structures with historical value.
* The Barasoain Church is located approximately 42 kilometers north of Manila.
(…to be continued)