Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan

Bulacan, with towns that had been established since the 1500s, is one of the first provinces to be Christianized. As such, it is not a surprise that we will find several churches here that are several centuries old. Let’s take a quick trip to our first list of the oldest churches in Bulacan.

Note: Mass schedules indicated are as per the normal schedule. Masses in most churches, including these, had been affected by the COVID-19 situation in Bulacan, and community quarantine guidelines that prohibit / limit mass gatherings. Please be guided accordingly.

Update: As of July 1, 2020, with Bulacan moving to Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) – with local restrictions, some masses are allowed to resume, but with limited capacity in the churches. Thus, some regular scheduled masses have resumed, but still not all. Please be guided accordingly.

Diocesan Shrine and Parish of St. John the Baptist (Calumpit)

Built in 1572, the St. John the Baptist Church is the oldest church in Bulacan. It was constructed under the supervision of Augustinian priest Fr. Diego Vivar-Ordoñez. Being one of the oldest churches in Bulacan and the Philippines, the church had been witness to the Filipino’s struggle against Spanish, American, and Japanese rule.

calumpit church; oldest churches in bulacan
Diocesan Shrine and Parish of St. John the Baptist (Calumpit)

Inside the church is a tunnel that, according to history, was used by priests during the Spanish regime to keep gold, religious statues, and ornate jewelry hidden from the sight of treasure hunters. It is believed that it was also in this tunnel that some revolutionaries and Spaniards were buried during the war. This was also Gen. Tanaka’s (Japanese Imperial Army) last battlefield.

It was restored most recently from 2015 and was turned over back to the Diocese by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines during the town fiesta in 2019. It was declared a diocesan shrine in 2013.

  • Location: Poblacion Road, Calumpit, Bulacan
  • Mass schedules:
    • Sundays: 5:30am; 7am; 8:30am; 4:30pm; 5:30pm
    • Mondays to Saturdays: 6am
    • Wednesdays (additional schedule): 5:30pm
    • Saturdays (anticipated mass): 6pm

Parish of Sta. Monica (Angat)

The Sta. Monica de Angat Parish is one of the oldest churches in Bulacan, dating back to 1758. This 400-year old church displays Baroque architectural characteristics. This could be verified with the existence of 18 adobe posts, along with eight windows. Windows, statued niches, and spaces between horizontal string courses, dividing the front facade into three parts, were ornamented with floral carvings. Also, foliated crestings on the raking course of the pediment were used as an added ornamentation.

Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan 1
Photo credit to the Colegio De Sta. Monica De Angat (batch 2008) Facebook Page

The ceiling paintings were created to resemble those at the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Also, History of Christianity in the Philippines and culture of Angat, Bulacan such as simbang gabiFlores de Mayoprusisyon ng Santissimo Sakramento, and fiesta were incorporated within the ceiling paintings. A fitting decoration for one of the oldest churches in Bulacan.

Augustinian priests were in charge of the management of the church from 1683 when Angat became a parish, until 1898. After this, the church management was turned over to diocesan priests.

  • Location: Matias A. Fernando Ave., Poblacion, Angat, Bulacan
  • Mass Schedule:
    • Sundays: 6am; 7:15am; 8:30am; 9:45am; 6pm
    • Mondays to Saturdays: 6 am
    • Wednesdays (additional schedule): 5 pm
    • Saturdays (anticipated mass): 6 pm

Parish of San Agustin (Baliuag)

Constructed between 1769 to 1774, the St. Augustine Parish Church in Baliuag is indeed among the oldest churches in Bulacan. The style of the Baliuag church is Baroque as seen on the facade and interiors. Dramatic tension is created by the interplay of volumes and openings. The Practico is the latest addition which mars the complete layout of a style.

The parish, apart from its beautiful church, is also famous for The Baliuag Lenten Procession on Good Friday. This is one of the longest Lenten procession in the Philippines. The procession around the town is joined by the parishioners along with floats (carozas or carriages) of life-size dioramas depicting scenes during the time of Jesus. The families of Baliuag launch over a hundred richly adorned giant floats depicting the passion of Jesus Christ.

Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan 2
  • Location: Benigno S. Aquino Ave, Baliuag, Bulacan
  • Mass Schedule:
    • Sundays: 5am; 6am; 7:30am; 9am; 10:30am; 4pm; 5:30pm; 7pm
    • Mondays to Saturdays: 5:30am; 7am; 5:30pm
    • Wednesdays, Fridays (additional schedule): 8am
    • Saturdays (anticipated mass): 5:30 pm

Parish of Santiago Apostol (Plaridel)

The church of Plaridel or Quingua was first established as one of the visitas of Malolos in 1581, and Fray Mateo Mendoza OSA who administered the Malolos Convent began the Christianization of Encomienda Binto y Quingua. With Quingua (currently called Plaridel) being one of the oldest towns in the Philippines, it’s not a surprise that its parish church is one of the oldest churches in Bulacan.

The present stone and brick church is barn-style Baroque mixed with Moorish ornamentation. At the peak of the pediment is a carving of the pierced heart of Jesus. Attached to the left of the façade is the five-story bell tower with a quadrilateral base and octagonal upper levels and topped by a cone-shaped dome. There are five bells in the belfry, the biggest of which is dedicated to Nuestra Senora de la Consolación.

Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan 3
Photo Credit to Lumang Simbahan Facebook Page
  • Location: Gov. Padilla Rd, Garcia Street, Poblacion, Plaridel
  • Mass Schedule:
    • Sundays: 5am; 6:30am; 8am; 9:30am; 5pm; 6pm; 7pm
    • Mondays to Fridays: 6am
    • Wednesdays, Thurdays (additional schedule): 5:15pm
    • Saturdays: 5pm

Basilica Minore de Immaculada Concepcion (Malolos)

Malolos was Christianized in 1580 by the Augustinians and has been a focal point in the history of the country. The church had its beginnings with its first building in 1591, making it one of the oldest churches in Bulacan. In succeeding years, it has been rebuilt and enlarged.

The current church was consecrated in 1826 but was heavily damaged in the earthquakes of 1863 and 1880. These were renovated but was burned by the revolutionaries in 1898. Starting in 1963, the church was heavily renovated that portions of the facade and interior were altered.

Apart from being the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of Malolos, it has also played a very important role in Philippine History. It was a center of faith and ecclesiastical activities since Spanish times from 1571.

Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan 4
Malolos Cathedral

The Cathedral’s convent served as the presidential palace of Emilio Aguinaldo, during the First Philippine Republic from September 15, 1898, to March 31, 1899. It was later ordered to be burned down as Aguinaldo escaped further north in 1899.

Read: Malolos: Top 20 Epic Things To Do in the City

On top of the rich history of one of the oldest churches in Bulacan, the almost neoclassical design is beautiful. The most predominant feature is the dome that is intricately decorated when viewed inside the church. The church’s huge stained-glass windows, paintings, and religious statues are also exceptional. The long aisle and dramatic lighting also make it one of the favorite wedding church venues in Bulacan.

  • Location: Poblacion, City of Malolos, Bulacan
  • Mass Schedule:
    • Sundays: 5am; 6am; 7am; 8am; 9am; 10am; 11am; 5pm; 6pm; 7pm
    • Other Days, except Wednesdays: 5:30am; 6am; 7am; 6pm
    • Wednesdays: 5:30am; 6am; 7am; 5:30pm; 6:30pm
    • Saturdays (anticipated mass): 6pm

Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel / Barasoain Church (Malolos)

The Barasoain Church was originally founded by Augustinian Missionaries and built for the Roman Catholic masses in Malolos during the mid-1500s to early-1600s. No doubt, this is one of the oldest churches in Bulacan.

It was well-known for its intricate architecture and adornments. However, it was burned down at the height of the Philippine Revolution in the 1800s. It was renovated and reconstructed, but its haunting beauty still remained. 

Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan 5

Read: BARASOAIN CHURCH: A Symbol of History and Faith for 4 Centuries

In 1898, under what was then a revolutionary government, the Philippines’ capital was moved to Malolos. The Barasoain Church was chosen to be the site of the First Philippine Congress, more widely known as the Malolos Congress. This led to the drafting of the Malolos Constitution in 1899. With the constitution ratified, the Filipinos were able to inaugurate the First Philippine Republic. It was because of this that the church, one of the oldest churches in Bulacan, was dubbed as the “Cradle of Democracy in the East”.

  • Location: Paseo del Congreso, San Gabriel, City of Malolos, Bulacan
  • Mass Schedule:
    • Sundays: 6am; 7am; 8am; 9am; 10am, 11:00 AM, 5:30 PM & 6:30 PM (English mass)
    • Mondays to Saturdays: 6am; 6pm
    • Saturdays (anticipated mass): 6pm

Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de La Inmaculada Concepcion de Salambao / Parish of San Pascual Baylon (Obando)

The Obando Church was built by the Franciscan Order, headed by Rev. P. Manuel de Olivencia, the first curate of Obando, on April 29, 1754. This 400-year-old church is among the oldest churches in Bulacan.

The church was destroyed in World War II during the fight for the liberation from Japanese rule. According to some reports, the original statues of Our Lady of Salambao, Saint Clare and Saint Paschal Baylon were also destroyed during the fighting, and that the images presently venerated are commissioned replication of the original images. The church was rebuilt in 1947.

Visita Iglesia: A Tour to 7 of the Oldest Churches in Bulacan 6
Photo Credit to Lumang Simbahan Facebook Page.

This parish is most famous for the Obando Fertility Rites. These fertility rites even dates before the oldest churches in Bulacan. This is a dance ritual, and later also became a Catholic festival celebrated every May. Locals and pilgrims, sometimes dressed in traditional costume, dance and sing in the town’s streets to honor and beseech Obando’s three patron saints: San Pascual (Paschal Baylon), Santa Clara (Clare of Assisi) and Nuestra Señora de Salambáo (Our Lady of Salambao).

Read: 5 Fascinating Bulacan Festivals during the Month of May

  • Location: Pag-asa, Obando, Bulacan
  • Mass Schedule:
    • Sundays: 5am; 6:30am; 8am; 9:15am; 10:15am; 5pm; 6:30pm
    • Mondays to Saturdays: 6am
    • Saturdays (anticipated mass): 5pm

Note: Send us your comments and suggestions for our 2nd list of the oldest churches in Bulacan. Watch out for more of our Visita Iglesia series that will feature not just the oldest churches in Bulacan, but also other parishes that are in the forefront of religious expression of our culture.

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