San Guillermo Parish Church

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Bacolor Church
San Guillermo Parish Church
Bacolor Church.JPG
Facade of the San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor, Pampanga
Bacolor Church is located in Philippines
Bacolor Church
Bacolor Church
Republic of the Philippines
15°00′01″N 120°38′54″E / 15.000263°N 120.648273°E / 15.000263; 120.648273Coordinates: 15°00′01″N 120°38′54″E / 15.000263°N 120.648273°E / 15.000263; 120.648273
LocationBacolor, Pampanga
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusParish church
DedicationSan Guillermo
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeChurch building
ArchdioceseRoman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando
ProvinceBacolor, Pampanga
ArchbishopFlorentino G. Lavarias, D.D.
Priest(s)Rev. Fr. Emil Guiao

San Guillermo Parish Church is named after San Guillermo, the patron saint of Bacolor, Pampanga, Philippines, where the church is erected. The church was originally constructed by the Augustinian Friars in 1576 – also the town's founding – with Fr. Diego De Ochoa, OSA, as the town's first parish priest. Having been installed as such two years after.

In 1880, the church was destroyed by an earthquake only to be rebuilt by Fr. Eugenio Alvarez in 1886. On September 3, 1995, lahar flow from the slopes of Mount Pinatubo which erupted into the world's notice on June 15, 1991, buried the church at half its 12-m height prompting its more than 50,000 town residents to evacuate to safer grounds in resettlement areas. Near the façade of the parish church is a museum which contains the history of the church. It also contains paintings of the Pinatubo eruption in 1991.


Bacolor is one of the oldest towns in the Philippines. The first church was built by the Augustinian friars in 1576 on the lot of Don Guillermo Manabat, a rich landlord believed to be the founder of Bacolor. An earthquake destroyed the church and a new church was built by Fr. Manuel Diaz in 1897. It has a central nave and well-lighted transept with windows. The main retablo, side retablos and pulpit are gilded with gold leaf. The richness of the decoration of Bacolor church depicts the advanced stage of baroque and rococo. In spite of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which half-buried the church on October 1, 1995, the structure is still being used as place of worship. It was already a world-renowned tourist destination before the lahar tragedies; now more tourists flock to the church whose remaining features are being preserved and maintained.[1]


The Altar of San Guillermo Parish Church

The church boasts of having main retablo, side retablos and pulpit that are heavily gilded with gold leaves. The rich decorations of the church depict the Baroque style of architecture. Only half of the original facade of the church can be seen today due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 which half-buried the church. After the volcanic eruption, the town's people painstakingly excavated the altar and the retablo and relocated it under the dome in order for the tall wooden retablo to fit. The retablos niches are filled with centuries old statues which were saved from destruction of the lahar. The citizens of Bacolor take pride in their rich heritage which is why they carefully excavated the ornately carved main and side altars and restored in its immaculate condition. The church is already a world-famous tourist destination prior to the lahar tragedies and present has remained being so. The choir area used to be located above the sanctuary but since the lahar occurred, the citizens of Bacolor decided that the area be moved.[2]

Museo de Bacolor[edit]

Part of the Church is the Recuerdos Sagrados de Bacolor (Sacred Memorabilia of Bacolor) or Museum.


This heritage church is part of the main venue for taping of ABS-CBN primetime show May Bukas Pa from February 2, 2009 to February 5, 2010, using the church as their Monastery. The production crew of May Bukas Pa was allowed by Fr. Jesus Manabat Jr. since the show's story has religious themes, and letting the crew film there helped in the maintenance and repair of the whole church compound. The Filipino Channel's aid in exposure led to an influx of foreigners and locals visiting the church.