After my hefty lunch of Pancit Batil Patung, I went back to my hostel to freshen up and prepare for my next destination - Tumauini, Isabela. I really wanted to see this town’s centuries-old church and its famed cylindrical bell tower. I’ve been stunned at the splendor of this church as I've seen its photos on the internet. From the hostel, I took a tricycle to the city's central terminal and hopped into a public van bound for Ilagan, Isabela. After about an hour, I alighted at Tumauini town center and walked towards the church.
The church made of stone was built in the 1783 and completed in 1805 by the Dominicans. The Church of San Matias or the Tumauini Church is well known for its cylindrical bell tower, the only of its kind in the Philippines. The church walls are made of red bricks. It is said that artisans from Pampanga custom-built the wood moldings used for the clay insets of the bricks.
The facade has a lot of ornamented bricks too. Looking closer at the bricks, you’ll see carvings of flowers, saints, angels and foliage. I was amazed with how the bricks were laid so well. Very detailed! It is definitely one of the most beautiful brick churches I've seen so far.
Connected with a small bridge, is the church’s cylindrical bell tower painted in white that looks like a tiered wedding cake. It has ornamental designs that look like laces, beads and hearts. Unfortunately, the paint is already diminishing and it certainly needs restoration.
It was declared by the government a National Historical Landmark on February 24, 1989.
It was a Sunday when I went there. Kids were playing at the church grounds, while some town folks were starting to arrive for the 4:00 P.M. mass.
When they opened the door, I asked someone if I could climb the bell tower. The kid took the key to open the gate of the stairs leading to the bell tower.
We crossed the bridge connecting to the bell tower and reached the 2nd level of the bell tower.
It was dark inside as the light is busted. Then the kid said that there was one time that a snake was found inside. OMG! Hahaha! Yes! I was scared and didn’t dare to climb it. Hahaha! I don’t want to be bitten. LOL!
I left the church as the mass is about to start.
This church's unique architecture has withstood the test of time. So, if you visit the province of Isabela, don't miss the chance to drop by at Tumauini Church, truly one of the province's beautiful landmarks.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Tuguegarao City, take a public van to Ilagan Isabela and alight at the Tumauini town center. Fare is 60 pesos and travel time is about an hour. From there, you can take a tricycle (10 PHP) or take a short walk to the church which is a few meters away from the national hi-way.
If you're coming from Manila by bus, take a Tuguegarao bound bus and tell the bus collector to drop you at Tumauini town center. From there, you can take a tricycle or walk towards the church, a few meters from the national hi-way on the left side of the road.
This is part of my solo northern luzon adventure in Tuguegarao City and Peñablanca in Cagayan and in Tumauini and Cabagan in Isabela province that happened last November 5-7, 2011. Cagayan and Isabela are the 44th and 45th provinces on my list and this adventure is my 13th solo trip. Join me as I crossed a river and a bridge, explored a cave, visited churches, experienced local delicacies and walked through the streets of Tuguegarao City.
Tuguegarao City and Peñablanca
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