I’ve yet to confirm whether the Baras Church in Rizal really was the location of several films depicting colonial Philippines. It’s very easy to believe that it was.
Built with adobe and mortar, the church is among the usual rustic Baroque types built sometime in the 17th and 18th centuries. It looks huge outside, but inside it has a cramped feeling. The first time I went inside, I vaguely remembered the church in Guadalupe, Makati. All attention is immediately directed to the altar. Which is good, of course.
But a debate sparked in my mind when I saw the church’s ceiling — the rafters are infested by bats. First you feel amazed by the old logs that carry the structure’s roof. They withstood centuries! And then you see the bats hanging on them and making their weird sounds. The debate was whether to consider these blind and noisy creatures as pests or as some strange display of conservationism on the part of the church keepers. What about bat droppings?, I asked myself. I even saw some churchgoers deliberately avoiding the areas right above visible “congresses” of bats.
Nevertheless, the rest of the church is good. The reredos are fine and the tabernacle is given the best treatment. The images of the Stations of the Cross also look antique, and various details in the church are beautifully given faux gilding.
I’ll be frequenting this sanctuary in the coming months.