Molo District, Iloilo City
Province of Iloilo
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Molo Church in Iloilo was originally built made of tabique pampango with a chalk roof, then built temporarily with nipa by Fr. Jose Ma. Sichon in 1863. Plans for a concrete structure were made in 1866 and approved by Bishop Mariano Cuartero in 1869. The present Gothic-Rennaisance church was immediately built after the approval of the plan. In honor of Saint Anne, this church was known to be a feminist church because of the two rows of sixteen female saints line on both sides of the altar. Molo Church was visited by Dr. Jose Rizal in 1886 because of its biblical paintings and it served as the evacuation center during World War II. The church was damaged during the liberation of the Philippines from Japan and was repaired by Rev. Manuel Alba with the help of the congregation.
The church was declared a national landmark by the National Historical Institute in 1992 through the representation of Sir Knight Rex S. Salvilla. It is the only Gothic church outside Manila.
Molo Church features a two-level facade that makes use of the texture of the stone to enhance the distinct Gothic-Renaissance elements apparent in the stucture. A strong vertical movement makes the church seem lean to the eye from most angles and is enforced by the tapering arrangement at the center composed of the arched main portal, an arched stained glass window, a circular motif and a small saint’s niche at the pediment. This movement is echoed by the bell towers that flank the facade, each topped by elaborate spires. The church has three naves, lit through shallow arches that provide a solemn, diffused glow. An intricately carved wooden retablo serves as the interior’s focal point, sporting numerous spires. The niches have pointed arches, which is a Romanesque feature. Mariano Mabunay and Jesue Huervas were comissioned to paint the murals in the church’s interior, which depict the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. Sixteen corinthian columns define the nave, each sporting a statue of a female saint. These saints are Sta. Marcela, Apolonia, Genoveva, Isabel, Felicia, Ines, Monica, Magdalena, Juliana, Lucia, Rosa de Lima, Teresa, Clara, Cecilia, Margarita and Marta. A statue of the church’s patroness, St. Ana, is housed in the retablo, along with statues of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Trinity. The main portal is guarded by statues of two archangels: Michael and Raphael. Molo Church is flanked by two bell towers and these hold thirty bells of different sizes. These create a pleasing, multi-layered tolling when sounded simultaneously. – wikipilipinas.org