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St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental

By on April 3, 2012

Part 13 of the Libotero Northern Mindanao Adventure series.

After saying hello to the dolphins at Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park, we ate late lunch at one local restaurant along the highway. We still had enough time to explore some key destinations so Eric, Marc and I decided to go further North to visit a National Cultural Treasure, the Church of San Juan Bautista in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
National Highway

From Sinacaban, Jimenez is the next town on the north so we boarded the first northbound bus that passed by. Like a lot of colonial churches, this one wasn’t on the main highway so we had to pay close attention to the surroundings. As soon as we saw a massive dome, we knew right away that it was the Church so we asked the bus driver to pull-over. From there, we hired a tricycle to take us to the Church.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Old trees and a wide open field where students spend their afternoons after class.

When I first saw the Church from the outside, it really looked old but simple. I said to myself, I’ve been to better churches. But as the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
The Church facade

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Coral stone is the top material that was used during the construction of this Church.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
If you plan to visit the Church, do it during daytime so you won’t struggle taking a decent photo of the facade against the light.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
The left side of the Church and the belltower

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
The Church clock, unfortunately, is not functioning anymore. I hope it’ll be included in the Church’s restoration and preservation efforts.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Image of the Virgin Mary on top of the main entrance of the Church.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Stairs leading to the belfry.

But as I took a step inside the Church, I bit my tongue. Oh my, this must be best preserved Church in Mindanao.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
The floor tiles have never been replaced since the Church was constructed in the 19th century. And take a look at those wooden pillars!

While taking photos inside the Church, one of the caretakers approached us and I felt nervous. Baka bawal mag-picture! But no, he actually offered to switch on the altar lights so we could take better photos. Thank you!

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
The main altar and the side altars.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
The Gothic-style altar really had nice fine details that were enhanced by the dramatic lighting. I personally think those fluorescent lamps are an eyesore though.

Not contented with my photo of the altar, I asked permission so I could get closer and take a better photo.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental

An unobstructed photo of the main retablo.

Probably, the best features of this Church can be found on the ceiling.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Take a look at those lovely details and colored glass!

You may think that the paintings on the ceiling are three-dimensional, but no, they’re just flat.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Church dome.

This amazing effect was achieved through the use of “Trompe-l’œil”, a very intensive technique which involves extremely realistic implementation to create an optical illusion that the depicted images are in 3D. This effect can also be seen in Betis Church in Guagua, Pampanga and Dauis Church, Bohol, among others. Literally eye-rolling, yes?

The caretaker was really very accommodating. He even brought us to a small room behind the altar where a mini-museum of sorts can be found.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Stations of the Cross.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Old Church paraphernalia used through the years.

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
This bell dates back to 1896! Sad to see it’s quite damaged though.

We were informed that the National Commision for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has initiated the rehabilitation and conservation of the Church. I hope that this goes on in the years to come so future generations may still be able to appreciate their heritage, especially that this Church is only one among a few preserved colonial Churches in Mindanao.

– – – – –
Before we left Jimenez, we spent a few minutes strolling around the poblacion and found a lot of interesting old houses. But this one just got our attention:

Jimenez Misamis Occidental
An abandoned old high school building. I hope it gets preserved.

(…to be continued)



  1. lurpee

    April 18, 2013 at 12:12 am

    ive been here last week…. we are having our vacation from dakak and accidentally our bus got trouble on the road of JIMENEZ and we are stranded for 3 hours.. we go to city hall and i just notice an old church with big tress around it. So me and my cousin took pictures outside the church… the church was close that time and we want to explore whats inside. So we asked permission to the caretaker, and he welcome us with pleasure… I was amazed when i got inside! it was incridible!!!! then we took pictures alot ツ

  2. annie bibbs

    June 19, 2014 at 1:14 am

    …Thank you very much in taking time for photo shots in our centenarian church this is the church of ” SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST ” where I received my baptismal, first communion and my confirmation I love and missed the church….so very happy to hear that there will be in coming renovation of the church….your picture is so beautiful it reminds me, way back then when I was young. I learned most of my beautiful prayers at this church during the month of May at Catechism time…is there any way you can send me a copy of those picture I look at this picture so many times ????

    Thank you

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