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Friday, May 3

Bolinao Church—Mystery and History

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More than 400 years old and still standing, Bolinao Church.
After we reached the bus terminal in Bolinao, we took a glimpse of the posted map with tourist spots. It was already noon time when we arrived in this westernmost part of Pangasinan and we decided to eat for lunch in a nearby carinderia. Ulam cost P30 per order, and P20 for half of it. One cup of rice was P10. Enough energy has been restored for us to move forward to our first destination—the Bolinao Church.

Bolinao Weekend Fun2: Golden Sands & Water Falls

Bolinao Church
The Saint James The Great Parish, or commonly called as the Bolinao Church, was a very old church dating back its very first construction 4 centuries ago—or more than 400 years. I thought Camiling Church was already old which was erected 200 years ago, but look at this, it’s twice the age of our church in Camiling, Tarlac. Your great, great, great, great, grandfather of your grandfather was not even born when the church was constructed.

The Augustinian friars took over the missionary area, when it was first entrusted to the Dominican friars. The church was constructed sometime in 1609 (whow! Very old indeed!) by the Augustinian friars, chiefly because the Dominicans were not able to manage the entirety their missionary areas which was very wide knowing that there few to actually handle them all. Based on history, the church was 75 feet tall, or almost 23 meters high—which is the height of an eight-storey building. Unfortunately, an earthquake toppled the structure in 1788, burying the height to half of it. Another incident happened when the convent was burnt in the year 1819. What was left in the church was its remains, and when we saw the church inside, it was already renovated and could have been restructured already.
Our group in Bolinao Church.
The church was big and the ceiling was high. There were bats hanging on the trusses of the church. What we also noticed was that the trusses of the church were big chunks or blocks of wood. Maybe the first churches were built out of these trunks of wood so it can withstand or carry over the weight of the ceiling or roof. Another thing, though we cannot confirm, was the fact the truss carries steel truss over it. Hmm..that doesn’t sound good. But well, it could be possible that it was not carried by the wooden truss and that they just want to preserve the first materials of the structure.
Front of Bolinao Church


There was no mass when we arrived in the area. We just went inside for a simple prayer and photo ops. Nonetheless, the mystery of history was there to find out. I heard that there was unfounded information that the first mass was actually held in Bolinao, Pangasinan sometime in the 12th century. It was contrary to the belief that the first mass was held in a secluded island in the Visayas area (was that Limasawa?), which was stated in several books. The one in the Visayas area was documented (was that Pigafetta who was Magellan’s travel writer that time? Haha look at that, the first people on earth were the real travelers and navigators!). The one in Bolinao was not cited. It means to say that, the first religious women in the Philippines were not from the Visayas area but the ones in Bolinao, Pangasinan. But there were no concrete proofs to support this allegation.

Truss ceiling of the church

My comment in this part was that, the people of Bolinao should care about their church. If it’s possible, they must do some more beautification in the church area to a church like the one in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It doesn’t need more space, it only needs regreening of the area. And possibly, re-paint the whole church to a more attractive one. I find Bolinao as a tourist spot potential, it just badly needs reorganization (I love the way how they do it in Sagada) and things like that. The market beside it was a downer, because it was untidy (though the fish were fresh and great).
Bolinao Church inside

Bats hanging inside the church

The next thing we checked out after Bolinao Church was the Lighthouse, but to our surprised we saw a “lost stone” somewhere in the shores of Bolinao.


Bolinao Weekend Fun2: Golden Sands & Water Falls Travel Series:
Part 2: Bolinao Church--Mystery and History

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2 comments:

  1. Hey, thank you for this wonderful site. Actually, we're heading to Bolinao later this afternoon for a roadtrip. I just make some research about Bolinao, (though we have a guide) & your blog is the coolest to read! Thank you for the informations (esp. the cave part), now i have idea of where we go. More trips to come! Godbless :)

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