The sky was starting to darken as a convoy of vehicles made their way into the plaza of a famous church in Morong, Rizal.
I totally forgot about this trip after being swamped by heaps of backlogs. It was almost a year and a half ago since we made our way into four churches around the province of Rizal and Laguna. I guess there’s no better time to write about it and be done with my 2010 (yes 2010!) backlog than now.
With a group of photographers from Pinoy Photography Org, I got my first taste of how beautiful the churches of Rizal are. Popularly referred to as Morong Church, St. Jerome stands beautifully proud against the day’s overcast weather.
Built by Chinese craftsman in 1615, it sports a Neo-Baroque façade worthy of being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traces of Chinese origins is evidenced by two Chinese lion sculptures at the plaza entrance, one of which was stolen a few years ago, most probably due to the legend that a treasure was hidden inside it.
The three-tiered octagonal bell tower acts as the churches focal point and rightly so. The combination of blank unpainted mortar walls and intricate details is just overwhelmingly beautiful. The trims are a complex work of layering. And it is said that some of the decorative elements used were even of Mexican origin giving it the unique physicality of Baroque architecture.
Four angels, representing Prudence, Justice, Restraint and Courage guard its four corners and a Franciscan coat of arms indicates that it was once assigned to the Franciscan missionaries.
With the church probably being the tallest structure for miles around back in the day, it acted as a beacon not only for religious matters but for the local fisher folks as well.
Morong Church’s interiors are quite Spartan; plain white floors, rough adobe walls and painted wood-trussed ceiling. But surfaces can be deceiving, what’s special about the church are the relics it holds.
Parts of St. Jerome’s body, the parish patron, were given to then parish priest Rev. Fr. Larry Paz during his pilgrimage to the Vatican and is currently housed at its sanctuary. One is encased at the top of the main altar and the other is guarded by the Knights of St. Jerome and is open to public viewing every Saturday.A mass was being held during our visit and we had to be quite discreet as we photograph its insides. That also meant that we were unable to view the said relics. Happy with a few photographs we exited the tunnel-like door of the cathedral and went out into a more somber sky, time to hurry to the next church on the list.
ST. JEROME CHURCH | MORONG CHURCH
Gov. Martinez St.
Click to view location on Google Maps
PART OF A RIZAL-LAGUNA LOOP DAY TOUR: Morong Church | Baras Church | Pakil Church | Paete Church