Sunday, July 10, 2011

*258. Pampanga Churches: STA. ANA CHURCH

GRAND OLD STA. ANA CHURCH. One of Pampanga's best-looking churches, was constructed from different materials sourced from all over the region. Its present foundation was begun in 1853. From the Augustinian Archives. Late 19th c.

The Sta. Ana Church might as well be the equivalent of the Manila’s Binondo Church –which, at least externally look the same, if not for the placement of their belfries. Wide, massive and spacious, the church, with its fenced courtyard, sits right in the center of the town, which began as a flat land called Pinpin, named after a prominent Chinese mestizo resident of the area.

Nestled near Arayat, Candaba and Mexico, Pinpin became a visita of Arayat in 1598. It was renamed as Sta. Ana, and in 1756, became an independent parish. It was only 23 February 1760 that a prior, Fr. Lorenzo Guevarra OSA, was assigned to Sta. Ana. He was assisted by Fr. Alonso Forrero, who baptized Vicente de Guevarra, the first entry in the libros bautismos dated 1760.

In 1853, the foundation of the present church was begun by Fr. Ferrer. Of stone and bricks, the church was eventually finished by Fr. Lucas Gonzales, who also added, in 1857, the magnificent hexagonal 5-storey canopied belfry, topped by a dome with a cross. The funds for the materials were raised by the people of Sta. Ana which were sourced from different parts of Luzon. The stones came from Meycauayan, Bulacan while wood was sourced from the forests of Porac and Betis. In all, the cost of the building was an astounding 5,568 Pesos and 25 reales.

The church, in the succeeding years was expanded to include a stone convento, built by Fr. Antonio Redondo in 1866. For five years, beginning 1872, the church was refurbished by Fr. Francisco Diaz and Paulino Fernandez. Fr. Felixberto Lozano constructed the fence in the mid 1930s, while Fr. Osmundo Calilung elevated the flooring of the altar during his term (1946-49). From 1955-1956, Fr. Francisco Cancio had the ceiling repaired and the bell tower given a fresh palitada.

Historian Mariano V. Henson recorded five bells in the campanera: Ntra. Sra. Del la Paz, dated 1879 and cast by Hilarion Sunico, was donated by Don Jose Revelino during the term of Fr. Paulino Fernandez. The biggest bell is dated 1857. All other bells inscribed with the names of Ntra. Sra. De la Correa, San Agustin and Sta. Ana, were donated by the town principalia at various years during the 1870s.

The interior of the church of Sta. Ana has been updated many times. The image of the town’s titular patroness, Santa Ana, appears with the young Virgin Mary in the central niche of the retablo mayor. Smaller altars hold vintage images. A relic of Santa Ana is also housed in the church.

1 comment:

michael redgrave said...

It's saddening to the point of appaling what they did with our beloved church recently..drom the rustic, classic adobe stone look, they plastered it with concrete then painted..probably to make it look "modern" which i think is just plain, pardom my word - stupid!