Longos Church of Laguna, A Church That Was Abandoned for 4 Decades

After visiting Lumban and Magdalena Church, we headed next to Kalayaan Laguna, particularly in Barrio Longos. We visited an old church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist but unlike other churches, this one is situated far from the town plaza. To give you some info, when the Spanish arrived in the Philippines, they adopted this policy known as “reduccion“. Here, they build a so-called “Poblacion” or settlement to invite people from far-flung barangays to move into the central town or the “cabecera”, allowing them to evangelize easily and to protect themselves from natives. It also allows them to collect taxes relatively easier. Within the cabecera, they build the new church along with the town hall or the “Ayuntamiento“. This explains why most churches in the country is always situated near the town hall or the town plaza.

In case of Longos Church, however, it is situated far from the town plaza. The town of Kalayaan, Laguna is relatively small composed of 3 barangays; Longos (formerly known as Babaye), San Antonio (formerly known as San Pablo), and San Juan (formerly known as Abacao). Longos was the old capital town of Kalayaan which explains why the church was founded in that barrio. It was until 1946 when former President Manuel Roxas ordered the transfer of the seat of government from Longos to San Juan. A newer church was built in San Juan.

The convent and its some parts was later destroyed by an earthquake. Even some ecclesiastical treasures were lost when the time goes by. And there were some artifacts that could be found in San Agustin Museum in Manila. When the parish lost its church status, it was unfortunately neglected and abandoned for four decades. To add more to the damage, the church suffered another devastating loss when it was damaged by a typhoon in 1995.

It was reconstructed and finished on December 16, 1995, when the first simbang gabi was held. On February 13, 1996, Bishop Francisco San Diego order decreed of canonical erection of the Parish of San Juan Bautista. In 2006, however, the church’s roof was destroyed by Typhoon Milenyo.
Architecture-wise, San Juan Bautista Parish features a classic Baroque style. The main entrance used to have a porch. It comes with a simple yet very old façade with a bricked belltower on the left side. Sitting in front of the church is an old fountain. The center of the façade is a niche that enshrines a statue image of Saint John the Baptist. Located on both sides are stained glass windows with images depicting the image of Our Lady of Peace or Nuestra Senora de la Paz (the second patron of Longos) and the image of the Baptism of Jesus. There is also a small rose window on its pediment.


The steel cross on top of the church pediment


The Old Bell tower of Longos church


An image of San Juan Bautista found on top of church’s main gate

The interior of the church is equally mesmerizing. While the roofs are obviously newly replaced, you can still see the old original structure of the church.

The first thing you will notice upon entering the church are these steel beams holding a large incense burner known as “Botafumeiro”
DSCF1620tThe beams contain the Benedictus or the Song of Zechariah in Latin
_DSC0339tOne of the church’s rare feature is this Giant incense burner known as Botafumeiro and only few of this burners in the country are still functioning.  The Botafumeiro (Galician for “smoke expeller”) is a famous thurible found in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container, or “censer”. It is suspended from a pulley mechanism in the ceiling on the roof of a church. Luckily, we do not have to visit Spain to experience this. This fully functioning Botafumeiro is often being used for special occasions especially during the Feast of Saint John The Baptist and other patrons.
The main altar is composed of three retablos.
The two-layer main retablo enshrines the image of Nuestra Senora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace) on its center and the image of Saint John the Baptist above.
The image of Nuestra Senora de la Paz of Longos Church
The image of Saint John the Baptist of Longos Church
A beautifully ornate tabernacle of Longos church sitting in front of the main altar
If that’s not beautiful enough, the Longos church also houses a large and multiple-layer “Custodia” for the Blessed Sacrament. They often use this during the Solemnity of the Corpus Christi
One of the side altars enshrines the image of San Pedro Bautista, a martyrs saint who was once assigned here in the country. He was the one behind the construction of San Sebastian Parish in Lumban. While most of the church’s records were missing, it is said that San Pedro Bautista is also the one who founded Longos Church.
Underneath San Pedro Bautista’s altar is a very interesting piece of relic. It features rocks that are said to be found on the site where the Visitation took place.
Sitting in front of the altar is another relic. It is a relic of San Pedro Bautista recently given by the Basilica Minore de San Pedro Bautista from Quezon City.
The other side altar enshrines the images of Saint Joseph the worker and the young Jesus
Underneath it is another special relic. These are rocks that are said to be found from the workshop of Saint Joseph
You can also spot an antique bas relief of Saint John The Baptist in the side of the church.
There’s also another one in the Baptistry depicting the baptism of the Lord
Old paintings on the side of the church
A painting with the image of saint John The Evangelist
You can also spot a bust statue of Saint Blaise oddly placed in one of the walls.
Jesus Nazareno
A painting of San Sebastian
Santo Cristo
Mater Dolorosa
In one of the small chapels in the church, you’ll find an image of Santa Filomena
A relic of Santa Filomena

This post also concludes my Laguna Pilgrimage series 2022: Feel free to check the rest of my entries here:

Also feel free to visit my articles about these Laguna churches

Places to visit in Laguna

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