Among the great wonders in Carcar
is the 124- year old St. Catherine’s Church. Although it is not the
very first church in Carcar, it has kept great wonders over the years.
formerly called Sialo, became a parish in 1599 under Fray
Gasper de San Augustine. Unfortunately, it was not known who built the
edifice, but it must be observed that the Augustinian friars during the
first years of the Spanish regime took charge of the parishes from San
Nicolas down to Tañon. Hence, St. Catherine’s Church is the second
oldest church in the entire province of Cebu.
Since the dawn of
Christianity in Cebu, until the year 1898, the orders of St. Augustine
handled the church in Carcar. Several Augustinian priests were assigned
in the church and in the convent. The church, which was smaller than the
present structure took 260 years before the new building was finally
Antonio Maglano became the "cura" of the parish of Carcar on
October 16, 1858. A year later, he began the construction of the present
day church. Several friars left it unfinished; thus, the construction
lasted for six years. At that time St. Catherine’s already had three
naves. The style was patterned after the "mujedar" in Spain,
comprising of two bells With an onion-shaped tip.
Fr. Gabriel Gonzalez
succeeded Fr. Maglano on November 17, 1865
Nine years later, Fr. Manuel
Rubio Fernandez from Asturias, Spain succeeded Fr. Gonzalez. He was able
to finish the construction for two years. Fr. Manuel was an exemplary
man. He designed the church with such great finesse, that anyone who
entered the church marveled at the authentic style of his craftsmanship.
One of his prides is his construction of the masonry and the wood
convent, which measured 33 meters in front and 22 meters on the side.
Unfortunately, he was
arrested in 1898 and was detained in Sibonga.
Catherine’s Church now holds an unprecedented history. Inspired by the
Graeco-Roman style, with strong Muslim influence, the church is made of
masonry with one main nave and two aisles. The nave measures 68 meters
long, 22 meters wide, and 12 meters high. The main entrance has a double
arch design inviting attention in the massive rectangular façade. The
twin bell towers of solid geometric pylons, act as buttresses but are
integrated as part of the façade. The twin bell towers end up at the
third level in the minaret shape common to Muslim mosques.
only embellishments that have been provided are the geometric flora on
the spandrels, the blind rose window below the upper recessed arch and
the carved Augustinian symbol above it. The simplicity of the design of
the façade is the counter-foiled by the complex pattern of the
upper-story of the Muslim like bell tower and the Baroque pediment. It
is noticeable that all the twelve apostles were carved in white except
for Judas, which was done in black.