A well-known architectural example in the Philippines, the Barasoain Church's image is as symbolic as the Philippine flag itself in the Filipinos' desire the gain independence from foreign rule. The church's design serves as a testament to its humble beginnings and to the period of history from which it has become known.
Began construction in 1885 and completed in 1888, Barasoain Church is a stunning example to the period in which Baroque architecture in Spanish structures built in the Philippines has become popular. The presence of the stone church also implies the presence of a well-built community with religion placed in great importance.
The stone church was constructed during the time of Fr. Juan Giron and was designed by Miguel Magpayo. It symbolized the founding of the town of Barasoain which was then a separate entity from the towns of Malolos and Santa Isabel. Years later after the Americans came to the country, the two towns will be again integrated with the town of Malolos with their parishes remaining as separate from one another.
Barasoain Church is an example of the typical church-convent-patio design of churches built during the Spanish period. The structure adopts elementary and well defined lines following the period’s trends. Various European historical styles, predominantly Baroque revival, were employed. The eclectic composition made use of the Early Renaissance technique of transfiguring the classical temple form into a new shape, in the case of Barasoain, into a Baroque oval-based design of the church facade. Then details and elements from Romanesque and Neo-classic styles were proportionally copied with delicate balance onto the basic façade outline.
The architectural design was an austere version of the magnanimous European Baroque and Neo-Classic buildings built by master architects. Since Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines were built by missionaries, not master architects, obviously there was less articulation. Only Basilica type or larger churches found in first class towns and cities, afforded two bell towers, elaborate façade, painted ceilings, a pulpit, replica statue-filled and gilded retablo, landscaped patios and a cloister, while the rest settled for whatever resources were available, including local materials and manpower.
The church nave is very simple. Its single nave is subdivided into three open aisles, a central nave and two side aisles, by two symmetrical rows of wooden posts which support the roof superstructure and arched ceilings. The ceilings were reconstructed in the later part of 1980s approximating the original oval-arched (vaulted) ceilings. The new wooden retablo was then removed and relocated to another site, revealing the original stone altar that was covered for a long time. The floor was raised and replaced twice because of periodic flooding inside the church. The old baldoza tile finish was replaced with granolithic topping, then recently overlaid with Bulacan marble veneers.
The Romanesque revival is clearly portrayed by the rose window, the receding arches, the solid blank base wall of the bell tower, the arched windows and the machicolations of each bell tower tier, the battlements on the top tier and the tower terminating in a pointed pyramidal cap which follows the tower’s hexagonal plan. The bell tower cap has been replaced with different tops for a number of times.
The all-timber second floor construction depicts local architecture features such as continuous row, from one end of the façade to the other, of light transfusing capiz windows and transoms subdivided into several bays so that window panels could freely slide open or close for the desired mode of natural light and ventilation. Air circulation is reinforced by the ingenuously provided ventanilla on each of the bay centers below the window opening. Hand-lathed window mullions are the only ornamental accents of the convent edifice. Other cool features are its high ceilings, a corridor which also doubles as continuous balcony connecting the spacious rooms and the outdoors through wide open window bays, and the high-pitched roof that responds to any inclement weather.
The church also contains a bell tower with the adoration chapel, devotional chapel with racks for candles and several sculptures found around the structure.