Tuesday, April 6, 2010

St. Vincent Ferrer Church, Calape Bohol

Walking excitedly southwards from the public market, we mused that Calape’s church seemed to be unusually big (tall) than most I have seen in little provincial towns. And as we walked, I thought it even looked more attractive than Tubigon’s. When we reached the church yard, all we could say was… wow! It sits on a curving part of the highway that makes it a bit awkward to find a good frontal view. Nonetheless, viewed at different angles, this church looks like it were part of a fantasyland with Castilian fortresses! There is a small park in front, which probably became smaller due to that curving highway. In any case, viewed from the park and at the sides, this church really looks fantastic.

What I noticed as we viewed this church from various nearby vantages is the absence of crisscrossing black spaghetti (yes, the power, CATV and telephone lines) that ruins the view to many fine architectural landmarks in this country. That’s not to say that the church does not have electricity hehe. They just did a clever way of passing those wires elsewhere. That is why your view of the church is mostly unobstructed. Hmm, until now, I cannot pinpoint any specifics, but I am certain it looks like another church I have already seen. The church external colors make it interestingly dainty and it contrasts with the green grass and trees plus the orangey paint on park benches and planter boxes that mimics the color of their public market. Wonderful!

At the church entrance, there is a slab of marble etched with something that seems to describe when this edifice was contracted. Its one of the few I have seen in this country done in Latin language instead of the usual Spanish, English or Filipino. I did get that it says this church was constructed from 1933 to 1954. Ha?! 21 years? Well, maybe because of World War II. Funny this slab of an engraved marble made me wish my father would resurrect pronto for he was good in this kind of language which I think was part of this country’s law school curricula of yesteryears.

This is called the San Vicente Ferrer parish, and inside is a bit different from many churches we see all around the country. First, the floor… it has a marble-like finish adorned by yellow and green diamond shapes that come out like the leaves/flowers of poinsettia. The pew area of the floor has even more of those flowery design in smaller tile squares. Yes it may look checkered but not your beauty-parlor black and white style hehe. Here, they’re still white tiles but the flowers alternate in that green and yellow color. Plus, the central aisle, main entrance and altar areas are just plain off-white color with touches of the same flowery geometric patterns. Btw, did you notice the pews? Look at them again, the color too is unique, not the usual brown or reddish varnish.

Then there are the pillars (or posts, am not sure how they’re called). They’re a stylish works of art in themselves. All 8 pillars, plus the 2 that flank or enclose the altar look like they only go up to a certain height and from there they curve up to form some kind of arch where the lines meet with other pillars. Interesting to look at. Just keep looking up a while and you’d imagine you were in one of the European churches or castles. Maybe, I should start skimming on various old architectural styles so I’d know how to describes fantastic structures such as these. Are they called gothic? Renaissance? Ah whatever, basta, those pillars all the way to the ceiling look just mighty interesting. Ogling at the totality of its interiors, the effect seem to be a mix of Moorish designs and the usual European grand church interiors. Hey, aside from the speakers and electric fans, the pillars are each fronted by images of saints. Nope, they images are not stuck to the posts. They have their own pedestals placed in front of each pillar. Curiously, there are not so many side entrances – just two on each side. And aside from the big wooden doors with engraved designs, each has a screen door – a fairly new addition that I don’t know what for hehe. Now that’s different! Hmm, the windows, in the same design that tapers to the top are settled high up and not that big. Though it didn’t feel warm when we were inside, I wuld imagine it would be when this church is packed to the hilt like during Sunday masses or big events.

The altar is narrow and simple but equally attractive. While narrow compared to many church altars, this one has a deep recess creating a big space between it and the pews. And the high ceiling is not cluttered with anything, thus, the area looks airy and bright as it is also flanked by stained-glass windows plus other round and square designs that have holes to let more light and air flow in. The retablo only has four pedestals for images. One curious thing, there are 2, yes two altar tables. Now that got me wondering what for and why so! Both are equally big and grand. I asked the old ladies at one corner of the altar what might be the reason for two tables. While all paused to think about it, the most common reply was either a shrug or ‘it has been so since the start’. But one reply was rather philosophical but plausible… the old lady explained that the table on the upper portion, nearer the retablo, is The Lord’s table and is most sacred, while the lower table, nearer the pews, is for us humans to use as we celebrate masses. When I asked for examples, she said “like, for the priests’ use. Interesting!

See?! This church was a fantastic find. And to think, as said earlier, I had nothing in particular to visit in this town. Now I say, you have. Never miss this beautiful church.

Let’s go to the munisipyo?

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34


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