Monday, December 1, 2008

Church of Hilongos, Leyte

The Facade - Hilongos Church

The Altar


Right Side

Left Side (Old Entrance)

The Immaculate Concepcion Parish is located only across the Municipal Hall. The Church is a 17th century edifice as presented in the landmark put up by the National Historical Commission. The “cota” that encircles the church was constructed in that year to protect the church from the marauding “moros”.

Hilongos Church is a classic example of a well-preserved fort (cota) and church. Hilongos way back in 1700’s was already a parish with its neighboring towns included as its jurisdiction. In Palompon, early settlers sailed to Hilongos to attend masses every Sundays. The belfry of the 270-year old stone church in Hilongos, Leyte and the fortification of stone around the church was built to protect the early settlers from the onslaught of Moro raids. The frequent Moro raids made the Leyte churches unique, with fortification of massive coral stones.

The church in Hilongos was buit in 1737, but during the American occupation, a Katipunero, Francisco “Kikoy” Flordeliz, was forced to surrender by the US forces, but he refused. The whole town of Hilongos was burned including the church. But the ruin was masterfully renovated not to touch the original architectural make-up of the structure. The old church is still there, but an extension was built in 1960’s. The ruin of the altar was transformed into a devotional garden (dagkutanan) with statues of saints and decorated with ornamental plants and flowers.

It is quite clear that the church complex underwent major renovations over the centuries. The old entrance, formerly the main entrance to the fort, is now blocked. Area in this side now became a school (St. Therese School of Hilongos) and the old nave converted to the transept of a new church. A newer convent has been built inside the fortification that guards many of the church’s antiques including silver vessels from the 18th century. The church interior is completely new in contrast to the convent which may have been completed in the 19th century.

The bell tower build by Fr. Celis-Diaz is an independent multi-story structure, now plastered over with Portland cement. Examination of extant remains indicate that the church and the surrounding walls were built as one ensemble and is akin to 18th century construction. Some bastions and walls of the original church’s fortification still remain. A fortification surrounds the church to which an older church façade is attached suggesting that the fort was coeval to this old structure.

People of this generation treated these architectural heritage sites differently, people wanted to make the place integral to modern fortifications walls and some bastions remain. Now, effort to preserve and protect the Hilongos church is a joint undertaking of the parish and the local government unit. History-conscious Hilongosnons wanted these walls to remain untouched and preserved the church ruin. Today, only in Hilongos, where we can find a church with a fortification.

Here is my watercolor painting of our church (Immaculate Conception Parish Church, Hilongos Leyte) 22" x 17" framed.


clarence said...

manghambog gyud ko nga nakagunit na ko ani nga painting.


nice painting sir!

timoy said...

mao jud bai clads...pero absent jud ko sa photo shoot with nancy r. cudis da. sayang. :)

clarence said...

mao lagi,
pero mrag nanawag naman imong barko ato nga time.

Vanjohnn said...

ako manghambog ko na naka shake hands ko sa naka paint ani!!

Earl said...

Timz: Way back 1990's our youth organization happened to pass Hilongos before the Hinunangan Southern Leyte. Todate, wala pa ko nakabalik didto. It was a nice place.

SOM graduate ka? Wow their trainings are superb! We used to cater SOM for their meals last 2000-2002 in Humayhumay, Lapu-lapu during their first employment.

timoy said...

@ Earl

yup! batch 1991-1994 ko.
pioneering mi sa SOM Cebu. :)

Obnoxious Queer said...

Hi Sir Timz,

Thanks for printing the certificates...and nice meeting you as well.

Looking forward to more meet ups with you!



Miong said...

nindot ang Painting, Sir Ruben tag pila ning imong frame? asa ni palita?

timoy said...

400+ kapin sa SM, naa sad sa ayala.
akoa lng pang ilisdan ang sulod. :)