Before pushing on to Camotes Island, we passed a stone church off Cebu’s Central Nautical Highway. Our necks craned as our van zoomed pass it. Framed by an empty plaza and white balustrades, the massive Danao City Church looms over the sparkling waters of Camotes Sea.
It was just too bad that we have no more time to check out it out since we were hurrying to catch the ferry to Camotes Island. I made it a point to visit the church the moment my soles made contact with mainland Cebu again.
The sun was scorching the concrete streets of Danao City as I approached the squat façade of the church. The heat was unbearable.
The Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church was built in 1755 and is constructed of cut coral stones which is a common building material for churches near coastal areas during that period. The architecture has hints of Romanesque architecture with a central rose window, faux columns and arched openings. Six white-painted angels guard the exterior of the church.
Connected on the right side of the church stands a four-level, eight-sided belfry. It houses three bells named after saints; the San Alipio bell, the Villanueva bell and the Sagrado Corazon bell. The tower is pierced by small rounded openings, two semicircular and a rectangular window.
The coral stone façade fades into a coat of white paint as one enters the interior. Its pitched roof is lined with exposed beams that form an interesting pattern over the ceiling. It terminates at the church’s transept crossing where the underside of its graceful dome is located.
Wooden balustrades run the entire length of the cruciform body of the church giving interesting contrast with its white walls. The retablo however is a typical golden affair with saints and a crucifix that’s found on almost every house of worship in the Philippines.
Intricately carved wooden pews can still be seen at the church interior; probably a remnant from the destruction it sustained from the Second World War. It’s something I have never really seen from any other churches I’ve visited.
The Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Danao City is an interesting stop if you’re travelling north of Cebu. I’m glad I decided to brave the sweltering heat of the midday sun and drop by the church after missing my chance the first time I saw it through the window of a speeding van.
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church
Address: Central Nautical Highway, Poblacion,
Danao City, Cebu
Telephone: (032) 200-3076
GPS Coordinates: 10.520546,124.028519
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here