DAPITAN CITY | St. James Church | Lakad Pilipinas

The St. James Church in Dapitan City

The faithful of Dapitan City stood up and bowed as their priest showered them with blessings in the vernacular tongue. It was a Sunday and the cavernous hall of St. James Church is filled with locals attending mass. The choir started their last praise, an altar boy rang his bell and the people solemnly chorused along. Details of St. James Church EntranceIt was a quiet afternoon in Dapitan City. Kids were out chasing each other at the larger than life map that Rizal had made across the church but the streets were devoid of people. It seemed everyone has gathered inside the towering Dapitan Church.

Facade Details of Dapitan's St. James Church Named after St. James the Greater, one of Jesus’s first disciple, the church lords over the quiet city of Dapitan. Its unpainted fa├žade reflects a Baroque style that has hints of Moorish and Gothic influences. Soaring vertically towards the heavens, its meter-thick concrete walls support two bell towers, completing the church’s symmetry.

Inside St. James Church in Dapitan CityAlthough it is not the first Christian Church in Dapitan, it nonetheless carries great history within its chambers.

It was constructed by the Dapitanons in 1871 with galvanized iron walls and wooden floors. The makeshift materials were replaced with solid masonry thirty three years later. But it was not until 1964 when the final incarnation of the church took place as the walls were completely reconstructed with reinforced concrete.

St. James Church's Alter in Dapitan CityRizal was said to frequent the church every Sunday and a marker indicating his favorite spot is even engraved inside its hall.

Gazing at the exterior of St. James Church may not impress much; its design is overtly simple. With the exception of a few faux columns and the central stained glass window, there really isn’t much decoration flourishing along its walls.

Swirling Patterns on the Roof of St. James ChurchBut the magic of Dapitan’s church lies within. Enter its arched doorway and prepare to be hypnotized by its one of a kind ceiling.

Composed of interlocking white and pink rectangles, the design looks simple enough. But its effect as a whole is dizzying. The pattern swirls around domes and arches, drowning its audience far below in dizzying disarray.

Dome Details of St. James Church DapitanThe illusion is further heightened at the apex of the church where the central dome is located. Stare long enough and the hypnotic design might just induce a mild case of vertigo.

Afternoon Light Filtering Through the Choirloft of St. James Church in Dapitan CityThe choir continued their praises with faithful still echoing along. It wasn’t until the last notes of the hymn were sung that people dispersed into the quiet afternoon of Dapitan City. I took a moment and said my prayers. I gazed at the ceiling one last time, followed the masses and left the dizzying interiors of St. James Church.


Dapitan Location Map

St. James Church
Address: Junction Polo-Dapitan Park National Road, Dapitan City

GPS Coordinates: 8.654734,123.42465
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here


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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, November 24, 2012

12 comments:

  1. playful ceiling design. i wonder why it was chosen for something so religious as that establishment.

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    1. I'm guessing the design was really not meant to be vertigoish, it just appeared that way :)

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  2. I love the long shadows...
    Grabe ang opticla illusion na yan! heheh...ganda!

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  3. hanep yung ceiling parang optical illusion heheh

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    1. I think that's the best asset of this church talaga

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  4. it looks cool. the best cathedrals are in foreign counties, like italy, france, spain, and philippines. i am sure other countries have nice ones, as well. they are always very decorative, ornate, historical, and colorful, as if you are walking inside an interactive museum. for this one, the hypnotic swirly tiles on the tower ceiling seems to stand out the most for me.

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    1. I think the cathedrals in the Philippines really don't stand a chance to their European counterparts, we lack the materials here for really grand and lasting edifices during that era

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  5. I just love this cathedral. The ceiling is superb and I remembered the floors sa Notre Dame of Saigon na ganyan ang design though in black. It is hardest to make it that way they did. Parang ang concept, the more you go and pray, when you look up, you will be in trance. :)

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    1. Haha oo nga Doc Wends, baka ganun nga ang iniisip nila nung ginawa nila yan

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  6. ganda ng ceiling...eye illusion. Napaka artistic nung gumawa

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    1. Ang simple lang pag inisa isa mo, but view it as a whole and the design becomes very grand

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