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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Alluring Pampanga: Visit to the Amazing Betis Church

Great Outside. Amazing Inside

One of my itineraries in visiting Guagua was the Betis Church. It was featured in several travel shows and in magazines so I was interested because of the Philippine version of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. It was located at Betis, one of the sectoral areas in Guagua. The name of the church was Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) Parish Church.

A Baroque Church

Welcome to Betis Church

at the side of the church

right side

Bell tower

Built in 1660, it was a Spanish-era church in which construction was made primarily on wooden materials. But fire broke out for several times until finally the church was built on concrete materials in 1770. I was amazed about the beauty of the church and it stood the test of time. Little I knew that this church was one of National Treasure declared by the National Museum of the Philippines. I was invited by one of staff to come inside and see the country's version of Sistine Chapel. I knew that it was featured for several times but for me it was my first. As I entered the church, I was truly astonished. It was magnificent view as I looked to the ceiling. These are murals and paintings of the Holy Family, some biblical scenes, Catholic saints and more. It was comparable to the Sistine Chapel at Vatican City. I immediately took some pictures and I also warned by the staff not to use flash on it.

One word: Wow!

The Baptism of Jesus (located at the side)

nice painting

striking colorful!

great work of art

artistically crafted

taken infront

nice work by Betis people

great masterpiece

seal of National Treasure

happy to be here

so proud that I came here

Sistine Chapel? No it's in Betis Church

The Ascension of Jesus

worth the visit

The retablo or the main altar was greatly carved with some ornaments. Once you get closer to the altar, you feel the sanctity of the place. It was such an honor to visit and amazed the talent of the people of Betis that it was greatly made.

main altar

some saints

great looking

On the left side of the church is the Museo ning Betis (Betis Museum) which showcased the history of Betis and the church. It was a simple museum and according to one of the staff that this place was under renovation to improve the look of the museum. It was free but donations were accepted for the improvement of the museum. 

 to the Museum


nice crafted door

up close

inside the museum

explanation about the museum

interior paintings' explanation

retablos of Betis Church

the church map

History of Betis

The Woodcarving town of Betis

explains the History of Betis

and also here

Betis Church History

It's such a pleasure to visit Betis and I love the church, both exterior and interior. It was a salute to the people of Betis for such as wonderful creation and work of art. It also makes me proud because there was a design of paintings and murals in the Philippines as comparable to Europe particularly Sistine Chapel of Vatican. It was a worth visit to Betis Church and make sure to include this in your itinerary. :)

How to get there?

via car / van - once you reach the town of Guagua, drive along road that passes San Nicolas and along the way, you will easily find Betis Church since it was just along the road. Travel time from Guagua town proper to Betis is only 10 minutes.

via commute - ride a jeepney from Guagua town proper (Guagua-Bacolor-San Fernando) and tell the driver to drop you off to Betis Church. Fare costs PHP8 only.

Please check also this Guagua government website featuring Betis Church:

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