Friday, October 10, 2008

Saint Mathias Church - Tumauini, Isabela

Parish Church of San Mathias in Tumanuini, Isabela was built in the 1780s by the Dominicans. It was built by Fr. Domingo Forto from 1783 to 1788. With a keen eye to details and an affection to decoration, Fr. Forto created a work of art in his church. To achieve the ornamentation he wanted, he went as far as importing artisans from Pampanga to carve the wood moldings for the clay insets. Likewise, he devised an ingenious method that assured him that the laborers followed exactly his design, especially when he went away on missionary travels. A closer look at the spiral relief of the facade shows carved out numbers that indicate the proper sequence of the bricks. Some of the bricks were even stamped with a date; one brick displays the year “1784″ Paired pseudo-Corinthian columns on the facade create a vertical rhythmic division, perhaps inspired by native foliage. Directly above an arched doorway in the central portion of the facade, a niche for a statuette precariously sits within the heavy laden horizontal cornice . . .(Heritage Conservation Society)
This is a well-preserved church in Isabela, the best and most artistic brick structure in the Philippines and maybe in the whole world. The intricate arrangement of bricks, carefully laden in the walls of the church is evident in the church itself. The cylindrical bell edifice was added to served as watch tower during the Spanish era. The statute of Sto. NiƱo at the front of the Church wall were already damaged due to typhoon and calamities for hundreds of years, yet remains standing. Sitting from the inside of the Church to pray, you can feel the aura dating back to almost six (6) centuries. The "Jewel of the Valley", this is how Benito Legarda described St. Mathias Church. "The abundant ornamentation is seemingly overwhelming to the untrained eyes that it is easy to miss the fine details that give life to the facade. Perhaps one must take moments of repose to scan the wealth of each red clay, brick and discover the trimmings of flowers folliage, swag and angel faces. Some ornamentation are so subtle that discerning their meanings or allusions could bring a sense of fulfillment . . ." as described by Roger Gaspar in hi column at Philippine Estate Magazine , March - April 1996 issue.

You can watch the details of the brick formation by yourself in this video of stafan07, which he posted in You Tube (please stop the WOW Philippine video above, before you play stefan's video) :

Thursday, September 25, 2008