Our first and second day in Laguna was quite rough. The weather was really not cooperating with us and we had to change our entire plan. Originally, we were supposed to visit at least three agri-tourism farms in Laguna including the Tanaw de Rizal Park (Tayak Hill), the St Ambrose Biodiversity Farm (Mini Tayak), and the Esmeris Farm. We only had the chance to visit the later one (Check: Esmeris Farm in Liliw, Laguna). Luckily, our last day went exactly as planned. The weather was absolutely fantastic. Hiking, however, will not be advisable for us since we need to have enough energy for another 3-hour long travel back to Cavite. We decided to go for a swim and a trip to Laguna will not be completed without trying their hot spring.
It was a beautiful morning indeed and before we pack our things up, my sister and I decided to visit the public market of Bay, Laguna. We passed by an old church the other day and I just took the opportunity to visit it before leaving the town. It was indeed an old church and in fact, it was considered as the oldest Roman Catholic church in the entire province of Laguna. It’s the San Agustin Church or more popularly known as the Bay Church. Interestingly, despite the neat facade (Paete Church is actually more old-looking), this church was first established in 1571.
The Church is dedicated under the patronage of Saint Augustine. Aside being historically considered as the oldest Roman Catholic church in Laguna, Bay Church is also the only Augustinian church in the town. The entire complex is gated and once you entered the premises, you will be greeted by its simple yet spacious landscape. The church features a very simple facade without any notable ornate details. There is a couple of niches featuring Saint Augustine and San Nicholas de Tolentino. A large stained glass window can be seen on the center with image depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (flaming heart is also the symbol for Augustinians)
Outside the church is a couple of pillars with statues depicting the images of the Sacred Heart of Mary and Jesus.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue outside the Bay Church. History-wise, the first church of Bay was made out of poor materials like bamboo and nipa and was originally situated near the shore of the Laguna Lake. It was administered by the Augustinian friars of Provincia del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus. It became an independent parish in 1578. In 18th century, the ecclesiastical administration of Bay was transferred to the Orden of Franciscan Minors (OFM), with Father Domingo Martorel as its new parish priest on November 23, 1737. From the original site along the lake, the church was transferred to its present site later known as poblacion, or town center.
In 1804 a structure made of bricks and wood was built under the supervision of Fray Geronimo Hervas OFM. construction of the church continued until the tenire of Fray Pedro Moya in 1864. Just like most churches in Laguna, Bay Church shares the same fate during the 1880 Luzon earthquake. It was utterly damaged by the earthquake and even brought number fatalities within the townspeople. The church also suffered greatly during both the Japanese occupation and the second world war.
A history marker in front of the church
The church’s main door
The side of the church is supported by thick buttresses
You’ll also find old church bells near its chapel
One of the old bells in display
You will also notice some tall Ipil-ipil trees nearby
The belfry of Bay Church
Interestingly, underneath the belfry is a small chapel dedicated to Saint Augustine
The image of San Agustin in the chapel of Bay Church
The stunning interior of Bay Church.
The center nave and altar of Bay Church
The closer look to its retablo. The altar comes in 2 tiers with eight niches dedicated for various saints. The center highlights a large crucifix with a triangular-shaped tabernacle at the bottom. The upper tier of the altar features images (left to right) of Saint Joseph, the Immaculate Conception, Saint Ambrose, San Martin de Porres. The lower tier features San Lorenzo Ruiz, San Nicholas De Tolentino, Saint Augustine and Saint Faustina.
A painting of Saint Augustine and the Burning heart. A replicated copy of Philippe de Champaigne’s painting.
Another painting of Saint Augustine
In case you missed the first part of our Laguna Trip, feel free to revisit the link below.
►The Esmeris Farm (Daang-Hari Campgrounds) in Liliw
►Saint John the Baptist Parish / Liliw Church
You Might also want to visit my Laguna Pilgrimage entries too.
►National Shrine of San Antonio De Padua – Pila, Laguna
►Immaculate Conception Parish in Santa Cruz, Laguna
►Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Pagsanjan, Laguna
►Saint James The Apostle Parish – Paete, Laguna
►Saint Peter of Alcantara Parish – Pakil, Church
►Nuestra Señora De Candelaria Parish – Mabitac, Laguna
►Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Parish – Pangil, Laguna
►List of Churches in Laguna for Visita Iglesia