Barasoain Church

Barasoain Church

Infobox religious building
building_name =Barasoain Church
("Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish")

image_size =220px
caption ="The Cradle of Democracy in the East"
location =Malolos City, Bulacan, flag|Philippines
religious_affiliation =Roman Catholic
consecration_year =1630
status = Suffragan Diocese
heritage_designation ="Seat of the First Philippine Republic"
leadership = Bishop
architecture =yes
architect =
architecture_type =Church
architecture_style =Neo-Classic
groundbreaking =
year_completed =
specifications =
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Barasoain Church (also known as "Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish") is a Roman Catholic church built in 1630cite web |url= |title=Bulacan |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work=Travel Global Pinoy |] in Malolos City, Bulacan. Having earned the title as the "Cradle of Democracy in the East", "most important religious buildings in the Philippines" [Citation |last=Marquez |first=Teodoro S. |last2= |first2= |publication-date=1968
title=Malolos, Bulacan and Philippine Nationalism: Collected Writings |publication-place= |publisher=TSM Books and Souvenirs Enterprises and Agency Services |isbn= |page=4 |url= |accessdate=2007-12-02
] , and the "site of the First Philippine Republic", the Church is proverbial for its historical importance among Filipinos.

Founded by Augustinian Missionaries in 1859, the church is also renowned for its architectural design and internal adornments. The original church was burned during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution however, it was renovated. It is about 42 kilometers away from Manila.

The church recorded some of the important events occurred in the country. While it has been a temporary residence of General Aguinaldo, three major events in Philippine History happened in this church: the convening of the First Philippine Congress (September 15, 1898), the drafting of the Malolos Constitution (September 29, 1898 to January 21, 1899), and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic (January 23, 1899).cite web |url= |title=Barasoain church Historical Landmark |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work=National Historical Institute |] By Presidential Decree No. 260 , the church was proclaimed as a National Shrine by President Ferdinand Marcos on August 1, 1973. [cite web |url= |title=Presidential Decree No. 260 |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work= |] Unusual for newly elected presidents in the Philippines, the church has been a venue in an inaugural affairs. General Emilio Aguinaldo and former president Joseph Estrada were the only two who has been inaugurated in the place.cite web |url= |title=Other facts about Barasoain |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work=Geocities |]


Historic Barasoain used to be independent from Malolos and this explains the presence of a stone church here. The Parish Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had its first stone edifice in 1871 to replace a temporary one but was burned later. In 1885, the current structure was started while the belltower was constructed in 1889. The church was the scene of the proclamation of Philippine Independence and recently, where Erap Estrada, whose abbreviated presidency was marked by corruption, took his oath of office.

The facade has Neo-Classic touches and its rounded pediment is echoed by the arches and rose window at the lower part. [ [ Simbahan. Philippine Heritage Churches and Related Structures] ]


The term "Barasoain" was derived from the Filipino word "baras ng suwail", which means "dungeon of the defiant". The term was coined because the place was once the rendezvous of Filipinos who were in opposition to the laws imposed during the reign of the conquerors of the country. The term was also been attributed to a name originated from a well-known church in Navarra, Spain. Priests and missionaries who built the cathedral had gone to the place and saw a beautiful church and later named it to the one built in Malolos.


Barasoain Church was founded by Augustinian Missionaries. Built on the 1630, the original church was destroyed in a fire on 1884 prompting various renovations. However, the structure itself was very similar to the Church during the Spanish era.

The church consists of two structures, the church and an adjoining convent. While the left outside of the Church is a medieval bell tower, the entrance of which has bamboo arches linings and its sides are rose windows. Its architectural design is simple however, it has paintings in its ceilings and domes which makes it look bigger than its actual size. The altar in the inside has glimmering lights despite the church's historical reputation. [cite web |url= |title=Bugs at Barasoain: Volkswagen Club visits Bulacan’s historic church |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work=Manila Bulletin |] Aside of which, floral motifs, frescoes of angels and saints embellish the interior of the Church. Right in front is a convent which has a museum dedicated to the three historical events that took place in the church. While the Barasoain Church Ecclesiastical Museum has been a repository of important artifacts found within the vicinity of the province, [cite web |url= |title=Things to Do and see in Bulacan... |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work=Wow Philippines |] the Church's Historical Landmarks History Museum concerns on preserving the fruits of the Philippine Revolution as well as freedom and the Filipinos' heritage of democracy.

Philippine revolution

During the Philippine revolution, Barasoain serves as the haven of the "Congreso Revolucionario" assembled inside the Church with the ilustrados as its delegates and Gen. Aguinaldo as the leader. [Citation |last=Alip |first=Eufronio M. |last2= |first2= |publication-date=1974
title=Philippine History: A Conceptual Approach to Its Political, Social and ... |publication-place= |publisher=Alip & Sons |isbn= |page=303 |url=

When Apolinario Mabini failed to draft a constitution to contend the call for a constitutional assembly, ilustrado lawyer Felipe Calderón y Roca was instead laid on the table and this became the framework upon which the assembly drafted the first constitution.

On November 29, the assembly, now popularly-called Malolos Congress, finished the draft. However, Aguinaldo, who always placed Mabini in high esteem and heeded most of his advice, refused to sign it when the latter objected. In January 21, 1899, after a few modifications were made to fit Mabini's arguments, the constitution was finally approved by the congress and signed by Aguinaldo himself in the balcony of the church.

Two days later, the Filipino Republic (also called the First Republic and Malolos Republic) was inaugurated inside the Church with Aguinaldo as president.

Philippine bill issue

Before 1998, the image of the church has been used in certain monetary bills like the ten-peso Philippine bill together with an image of Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio on the other side. However, it was replaced by a ten-peso coin without the representation of the church. Local priest initiated signature campaign to appeal to the Philippine Bangko Sentral restoring at least the image of the church in any present Philippine bill. [cite news |first=Carmela |last=Reyes |title=Priest wants Barasoain Church depicted in RP money as before |url= |format= |work=Breaking News/Region | |date=(2007-10-16) |accessdate=2007-11-18]

Corollary to the removal of the image, Monsignor Angel Santiago, parish priest of Barasoain Church once averred, "the people are starting to lose a sense of nationalism and history and a nation’s currency system ought to help bring them back." [cite news |author=Inquirer news staff |title=Roundup |url= |format= |work=Inquirer Headlines/Regions | |date=(2007-10-18) |accessdate=2007-11-18]

The petition of the local officials was considered by the government with the restoration of the Barasoain Church replica on the new 2000 Philippine bill featured on the front side of the bill which is also depicting President Joseph Estrada taking his oath of office on June 30, 1998 while the reverse portion is President Fidel V. Ramos on the re-enactment of the declaration of Philippine Independence at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1998 and also shows the Philippine Centennial Commission logo. [cite web |url= |title=Economy and Development |accessdate=2007-11-18 |format= |work= |]

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