Tigbauan Architectural Puzzle

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Tigbauan, Iloilo history, heritage, architecture. Unquestionably there have been many changes to this old Spanish church over the decades and centuries. One major change, the concrete belltowers seem to rest on a massive concrete structure, plastered and finished to mimic stone blocks.  But, if you look closely behind the concrete bell tower supporting structure, one sees what appears to be an earlier stone structure.  We’d  love to see a photo of the church before the concrete bell towers were added.  Does anyone know of such a photo?

Tigbauan Church Mystery - Overview

Tigbauan Church Mystery - Overview

Tigbauan Church Mystery - Detail

Tigbauan Church Mystery - Detail

Tigbauan - Painting in Convent - Does not answer this question but is tantalizing

Tigbauan, Iloilo, Painting in Convent - Does not answer this question but is tantalizing

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  1. The two concrete bell towers are of recent addition to the church of St. John of Sahagun. It was constructed during the curacy of the late Fr. Eleuterio Carton (may he rest in peace). It was not part of the original structure of the church. The church was damaged during the war and the entire structure except the facade collapsed (which explains why the rest of the present church is made of concrete). The old church was much larger and magnificent than the present one with a dome and a grandiose retablo, all of which were destroyed. A photo of the church without the two belfries can be found in Fray Galende’s Angels in Stone. There are also other old images of the said church in retrato.com.ph.

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  2. Never heard before that the Tigbauan Church has a tunnel leading to Tigbauan Central School and that the old cemetery site was infront of Tigbauan Nat’l High School.

    Well, being on the top of Mt. Labao during fine weather, the majestic Mt. Canlaon volcano in Negros Is. could be seen. I did experience viewing Mt. Canlaon while on top of of the so-called Mt. Labao. I am also a Tigbauanon.

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  3. Interestingly, Tigbauan Church has a tunnel going to Tigbauan Central Elementary School. The old cemetery site is in the front of Tigbauan National High School. Likewise, the Old Oton Bynzantine Church is the biggest and the most beautiful edifice in Asia but ruined by earthquake in 1948. The ruin church of St. Anne in Leon is also of great interest.

    Some notable site in Tigbauan is the spectacular beach of Namocon during sunrises and sunsets. Mt. Labao is also a wonderful site. The Tacuyong River although small but refreshing to the sight. The barangays of Taro, Isian, Isawan, Guisian, Jamog and Alupidian are also a “must-see” barangays.

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  4. hello…..i chanced upon your website while browsing the internet for possible links to our municipal official website which was just recently built recently by our well-meaning staff at the municipal office. will it be alright for us to post a link to your site at our newly opened website? we want our constituents to have the opportunity to explore our hometown the best possible way. Thanks!
    Pls visit our site http://www.tigbauan-iloilo.com for more updates on our town

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  5. We’re just back from Manila and a visit to the San Agustin Museum. They have a gallery with photos and information on the Augustinian churches of the Philippines — dozens of them, but nothing on Tigbauan. I think part of the exhibit was undergoing renovation. Anyway, I was thrilled to find an early Tigbauan Church photo in Pedro Galende’s “Church Facades” book.

    The photo, said to be from the Augustinian archives, was exciting to see. It shows the original (or at least earlier) twin bell towers. They were slimmer and hexagonal with hexagonal roofs. The bottom line of the carved stone pediment of the main church extended across the base of the twin bell towers. You can see remnants of this in the photo above. In all much more elegant than the present appearance. I suppose these towers were destroyed in the 1948 earthquake.

    But the really amazing thing was the roof of the larger detached bell tower of the Tigbauan church. Now it has a plain metal roof, but in the early photo it has a very Chinese, tiled hip roof with very concave Chinese-style rafters. The old roof is larger, bolder and overhangs the tower structure. It would look very much at home on a Chinese temple but shows up on a rural church in Iloilo! We had speculated on Chinese craftsmen at Tigbauan and we like to think this is evidence!

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  6. Thank you Michelle. Someone else also told me the same thing. I’ve also been told that I should take a look at the University of San Agustin archives and the Archdiocese Repository and Library in Jaro regarding both the Tigbauan church and the Molo church. I’m curious about the very Gothic bell towers at the Molo church. I’m ashamed to say I have not done any of this yet. I’ll give a report once I do. Bob Hammerslag

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  7. Meron photos ng church na wala pang concrete belltowers dun sa new and old editions ng Angels and Stones by father Pedro Galende.

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