Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I was introduced to Philippine colonial churches by Regalado Trota Jose’s “Simbahan: Church Art in Colonial Philippines, 1565-1598” that was recommended to me by Oyet. It is a beautifully illustrated and well researched red-covered book that ignited the churchopile in me. The book is a must for Spanish-era church researchers. It is available in selected bookstores only and I bought mine at the Los Filipinos Bookshop at the Ayala Center in Makati.

Oyet also introduced me to F. Sionil Jose and his Rosales saga (i.e. Po-on, Tree, My Brother My Executioner, The Pretenders, Mass) that inspired my attempt at creative non-fiction and the search for my roots and past. I am slowly building a section of F. Sionil Jose in my small library.

Most of my materials on Augustinian-built churches are taken from Pedro G. Galende’s (OSA) “Angels in Stones: Augustinian Churches in the Philippines” --- a fine, comprehensive and illustrative book on Augustinian church building history. It is available at the San Agustin Museum, the Popular Book Store, and at the Tradewind Books in Intramuros where I brought mine at a discounted price. Interesting and surprising local history was also provided by the Ilocos Norte travel guidebook published by the Ilocos Norte provincial government and sold at the provincial museum. I wish every province should have one.

I mined Pedro V. Salgado’s (OP) “Cagayan Valley and Eastern Cordillera, 1581-1898” and Florentino H. Hornedo’s “On the Trail of Dominican Engineers, Artists and Saints in the Cagayan Valley and Batanes” for interesting and informative tidbits on Dominican church building history. Salgado’s book consisting of 2 volumes and that of Hornedo is available at the Popular Bookstore in Timog Avenue.

Emmanuel Luis A Romanillos’ “The Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines: Hagiography and Story” provided some details on the church building activities of the Augustinian Recollects. It is available at the La Solidaridad Bookshop in Padre Faura where I found my copy.

Valuable information were also sourced from the following general references: the National Historical Institute’s “Historical Markers: Regions I-XII and the National Capital Region” (available at the NHI library), Norma I. Alarcon’s “Philippine Architecture During the Spanish and Pre-Spanish Periods” (I got my copy from Tradewind), and the website of the National Commission on Culture and Arts and its brochure on national heritage sites.

My hero Nick Joaquin provided the social and historical context of this work mainly through his “Culture and History” which is a must read for Filipiniana fanatics. The book gave me a refreshing perspective on the evolution of the Filipino as a people and as a nation. His “Manila, My Manila” and “A Question of Heroes” are also guaranteed to be fine reading.

I am greatly indebted to these authors and institutions who made this endeavor much easier. I consider them part of whatever this work might accomplished. All errors, however, are mine alone.

Wish List

Its distressing for me to have so few references on those fine Franciscan churches except what I can glean from the NHI’s books on historical markers and the website of the Franciscan archives. A burning desire (but mostly a dream) is to one day write a book about them. Someday, I will find the time to finally visit their archive in San Jose del Monte, Quezon City which is just a long walk from our national office. I also long to have a copy of Rene Javellana’s “Wood and Stone for God’s Greater Glory: Jesuit Art and Architecture in the Philippines” and “Great Churches in the Philippines” but these books seem to be out of print and stock. My wish list also include Alicia M.L. Coseteng’s “Spanish Churches in the Philippines”, John Schumacher’s “Reading in Philippine Church History”, Gerald Anderson’s “Studies in Philippine Church History”, the National Media Production Center’s “Philippine Churches”, and Pablo Fernandez’s “History of the Catholic Church in the Philippines”.

What will I give for these books…

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