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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Alluring Pampanga: Travel to Bacolor & The Sunken Church

San Guillermo Church, Bacolor Pampanga

After visiting Betis Church in Guagua, Pampanga, I rode a jeepney and traveled to a nearby town of Bacolor. It was a 10 minute ride and as I arrived to this town, history caught my mind about Bacolor.

Source: Wikipedia

This town was famous due to the Lahar incident of Mount Pinatubo which erupted last 1991. The lahar or the mud flow in which a mixture pyroclastic material from volcanic deposits and water and flowed down to the river. The Lahar incident happened last September 1995 or four years after the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Bacolor was half buried by 6 meters and many lives were perished including houses and structures. 

House that was buried by lahar

Old structure

monument beside the church

The famous San Guillermo Church was also not spared in devastation. It was also known as Bacolor Church, one of the oldest church not only in Pampanga but also in the Philippines. It was constructed by Augustinian friars in 1576. It was one of the grandest church with several liturgical services, from baptismal to funeral and every day masses. The church was half buried and people tried to recover some religious items including the retablo or the altar and some statues of saints.

celebrated a feast

Welcome to Bacolor Church

half-buried church

Historical marker

my self pic

and another one

church facade

me again

Bell tower

I felt the nostalgic because what was left the upper half of the church and still managed to recover it. After 16 to 17 years of the lahar incident, it stood the test of time. I was really amazed on the church facade and there was a written in Latin on it which reads Rex Regum et Dominus Dominorum which translates King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I entered the door which formally a window and I immediately saw that the church was half buried.

entrance to the church

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

inside the church

view from the other side

only left from a former tall window of the church

The retablo was relocated in a spacious dome so it would fit. I felt the eagerness of checking each location of the church and commended the people of restoring the beauty of their church. Like also what I did every time I visit the church, I bowed my head, knelt and prayed.

picture inside


another one

preserved structure

To the right side of church was the Museo de Bacolor which showcased the history of the church and how it managed the restoration from the devastating lahar that almost ruined the town including the church. It also featured the adoration chapel that need to pass an arch. Several saints placed here and also the famous status of the Risen Lord which was featured in television hit May Bukas Pa which was shot and filmed here. Santino (Zaijan Jaranilla) was the main character. 

Museo De Bacolor


inside the museum

shot taken inside

sorry for the blurred pic

connecting to the church

history of the church

the devastating Mount Pinatubo eruption

lahar damaged those structures

Adoration chapel

passage along with saints

You need to pass this small arch

It was a rewarding experience especially you visit Bacolor Church. I was happy because of the Bayanihan (brotherhood/sisterhood) spirit of the people here in the town for the restoration of the church. Many loss their homes, livelihood/business or even relatives but their faith remained. It was such unfortunate that it happened but they never stop believing and continuing their faith to God. A nice visit and learning moment if you will visit this place. :)

the dome

side of the church



great to visit

Thank you Bacolor

Before I left Bacolor, I bought some pasalubong and purely delicacies. There were tamales or a rice grind with salted egg wrapped in banana leaves, suman or rice cake cooked in coconut milk wrapped in coco leaves, espasol or rice pounded with nuts and some toasted breads.

sold in Bacolor


Pasalubong items

How to get there?

via car / van - from Gapan-Olongapo Road, there was a marker at the road to the left (if you came from Manila via San Fernando City) that indicate a way to Bacolor town. Drive along the way and you will reach the town in 10 minutes and you will automatically saw San Guillermo Church.

via commute - from Gapan-Olongapo road, tell to the driver to drop you off to the road that will lead to Bacolor. Once you arrive, ride a tricycle and inform the driver to drop you off to San Guillermo Church. Tricycle fare will range from PHP20 to PHP30. Another one is a jeepney ride from San Fernando City proper (sign San Fernando-Bacolor-Guagua) and inform the driver to drop you off to Bacolor Public Market. Have a few minutes walk and you will reach the church in 10 minutes.


  1. oh i love those thing wrap on a banana leaves? i wonder. hope to visit it soon

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  2. Hi. Where did you buy the tamales?

  3. Hi, how many minutes from olongapo to bacolor crossing?

  4. I really love Pampanga, you did a great post here! but I think you missed the other Pampanga food trip.


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