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St. Mary Magdalene Church, Hinigaran, Negros Occidental
Part 4 of the Libotero Negros Occidental Heritage Series
From Kabankalan City, the town of Hinigaran is about an hour away. Hinigaran is perfectly located just between Bacolod and Kabankalan and one of the landmarks of this bustling town is their century-old church. Since the church is along the national highway, it is difficult to miss! So, as soon as we passed in front of the church, I hopped off the bus.
The church is located directly by the highway with almost no sidewalk! Quite dangerous for pedestrians if you actually think about it
The church was built in the 19th century through forced labor under the Spanish colonization. The local faithful were said to have been required to work for 15 days and were only paid 15 centavos, thus, the place where the church stands is known today as Kinsehan or Quinchihan.
The church features Romanesque architecture which can be noted on the semi-circular arches on its facade and belfry.
The church was made using chicken eggs, limestone, corals, and bricks. The walls are 2-meters thick so hopefully the church would be able to withstand any natural calamity in the future.
At the left side of the church is a three-level belfry that is functional up to this day.The church bell is said to be made of silver and gold, that weighs an enormous 480 kilograms
Meanwhile, just beside the church, fronting the convent, are five old bells, that are as old as the church! Amazing. The church was completed in 1881.
It’s quite sad to see though that the bells look quite neglected as the immediate surroundings are full of scrap
See above photos: the bells are surrounded by scrap metal, wood, chairs, a removed gate, trash, an unused restroom, etc.
As I entered the church, I was very much surprised to see that the interiors have been heavily renovated, and in bad taste at that!
Disappointing! Sigh! I do not see any connection between the newly renovated interiors and the exterior design. Only the facade, walls and the belfry of the church remain original and untouched and I hope it remains that way, preserved for the appreciation of the next generations to come.
A funeral service was ongoing during my visit so I did not stay long inside the church. As I exited, I noticed that there seems to be something going on at the town plaza, so I crossed the street and explored.
(…to be continued)