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17 October 2013

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⛪ San Idefonso Church in Tanay Rizal is a living witness of the Past.



After we took a brief look of the Municipal hall where-in I considered it as a new White House in the Philippines (since White house in the Philippines is also located in Baguio), we went ahead to the Tanay Church the “San Ildefonso Church”. It is just a meter away from the Municipal Hall.

The Church is situated at the Town Proper of Tanay, Rizal. You can easily locate the church due to its stunning architectural design that you can identify right away. From Metro Manila, the terminal for Jeepneys and Vans are located in front of Star mall in Shaw Blvd. near MRT Station. From there, it will take two hours of travel amounting to PHP70. Just tell the driver to drop you at Plaza Aldea.
San Ildefonso Church was built from 1773 to 1783. And the remarkable architectural construction is a living proof of the past. It was erected in the second half of the 18th century by the Franciscans.
The Ecclesiastical Administration of Tanay belonged to Pililia up to 1606 when the first church was built. The town moved to San Antonio in 1620 but was transferred to this site in 1640. The Present Church was completed in 1783.

The Interior Design
The church's interior is rich, with five great examples of rococo-influenced retablos.

On the walls are the panels of the Via Crucis, The 14 Stations of the Cross inside of the said Church has an anomaly that can rarely be forgotten. The first twelve bear marks and features revealing the Malayan or native characteristics incorporated such as the somewhat squat appearance of the figures, including Jesus, the use of "Tambuli" made from carabao horn and of the "tabak" or native bolo instead of the usual Roman sword, while the last two bears features that are unmistakably Caucasian.

Because of the way in which they were indigenized through perspective, proportion, and other details-- one of the characters even wears glasses. Unfortunately, the constructions of the Via Crusis were not documented in the book or even in the History of the said church, yet it was extensively believed that the first 12 stations were done by the endemic artist of Tanay.

Moreover, aside from the issue mentioned above, another anomaly is usually noticed in the 7th station by visitors where Caiaphas, the High Priest wears a sunglass. All said, it is considered to be one of the most amazing Stations of the Cross in all of Asia.

July 31, 2001 it was declared a National Cultural Heritage by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts along with 25 other churches all over the Philippines therefore another great honor was endowed by the locals of Tanay. It is not just a church but it is a living witness of our colorful history.

The Attached Structure
Another, distinctive detail inside the church is the small altar attached in the wall. At first you, I was under the impression that it was just a designed but after asking one of the Altar boys I found out that the hanged small altar is functional altar during the mass of the Franciscan priests. Due to its huge size of the said church and during that time “sound system ( today we use microphone)” was not available yet, the Priests use the hanged altar during their sermons and homily so that they can be heard.

The Head Stone on the Floor 
As I continue to rove around the church I noticed headstones on the floor. Each of the said head stones there was inscribed names on it. “Bakit may mga Lapida sa loob ng Simbahan? (Why are those headstones exist inside the church?)”. I asked the Altar boy. “The Altar and the Floor were the burial ground of the Priests and with those High Positions of the Governance who died long ago” the Altar boy answered knowledgeably.  It was disturbing for me to walk on the floor knowing that someone’s remains were buried under the floor. The feeling of being scared mixed with a hesitation that “stepping above one’s burial is a sign of disrespect.”
Outside of the church is very old yet inside it is new. I believed the interior of the church was already renovated and maintained well.



After the picture taking, taking glance of the church and a short interview of the interview, we went to an eatery to buy foods for our lunch…. Next stop for lunch is DARANAK FALLS.

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