/ 22 January 2021

AN ARCHIVIST from the University of Santo Tomas launched a book entitled “Simbahan: An Illustrated Guide to 50 of the Philippines’ Must-Visit Catholic Churches”.

Written by Professor Regalado Trota Jose with illustrations by Architect Allan Jay Quesada, the book features 50 of the most notable churches from Cagayan Valley to Mindanao.

These churches date back from the Spanish period to the mid-20th century.

The churches were selected for their cultural, architectural, and aesthetic significance, as well as their picturesque locations, Jose said.

“The book points to areas otherwise not within the purview of the usual visitor: not just the far and unheard-of, but also the very near or where there is art not meant to be seen,” he said.

“Each selection effuses some facet of that cultural fusion of art, life and nature that could only blossom in the Philippines,” he added.

Some of the churches featured in the book were the Church of Saint Raymund Peñafort in Cagayan; Church of Saint Paul the Hermit in San Pablo, Isabela; Church of Saint Catherine de Alexandria in Tayum, Abra; Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Charity in Agoo, La Union; Church of Saint James the Great in Bolinao, Pangasinan; Church of Saint William of Aquitane in Bacolor, Pampanga; and National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, known as the Baclaran Church in Parañaque.

Jose’s other publications were “Images of Faith: Religious Ivory Carvings from the Philippines,” “Impreso: Philippine Imprints (1593-1811),” “Power, Faith, Image: Philippine Art in Ivory from the 16th to the 19th Century,” “Visita Iglesia Bohol: A Guide to Historic Churches,” and “Of War and Peace: Lantakas and Bells in Search for Foundries in the Philippines.”