When one mentions Calasiao, the thing that immediately comes to mind are its small, bite-sized rice cakes or puto. It was the same for me; that was until I actually visited the town, which is located in Pangasinan. While hunting for some pasalubongs to bring back home, we stumbled upon another of Calasiao’s treasure, its heritage Baroque church.
Getting there was easy enough, from the Dagupeña Restaurant, we simply rode a jeep and alighted at Calasiao’s Poblacion where the numerous puto and kutsinta vendors are centrally located. Calls immediately rang out, the vendors all vying for our attention.
Puto Calasiao’s difference from most putos is that it is fermented for days on jars before being processed. A plastic of the delicacy cost a measly Php20.00, about 1/4 kilo, and is very addictive.
From the puto stands, we saw the old Calasiao Church standing regally just a few meters away. We decided to drop by, curious about its history.
Surrounded by a metal fence decorated with sculpture of saints (I think) every three meters or so, we wended our way inside amidst the intense heat of the midday sun.
Calasiao Church is squat and built in the Baroque style of Architecture. It’s one of the biggest churches in the province. It is interesting to note that the church, one of the twenty six Spanish Colonial churches branded as a National Cultural Treasure, has two patrons, Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Calasiao Church is built in the Cagayan tradition of using bricks as building material. Although rebuilt numerous times due to fire and earthquakes, one can still see its original construction material peeking from some of its time-worn walls.
The most recent reconstruction of Calasiao Church occurred after the 1990 earthquake when its five-storey hexagonal bell tower fell off. Now, the thirty-meter high belfry has been fully restored and has now been equipped with automatic bells and chimes which could be heard for as far as eight kilometers away.
Right beside the church stands an equally antiquated structure, Calasiao’s Convento, which houses a small museum.
It was just too bad that the church doors were closed during our visit; we were unable to check out its interior which was said to have intricate icons and a beautifully painted ceiling.
After our brief visit and an unsuccessful attempt to enter Calasiao Church, we went back to the puto stands and did the next best thing; we bought a few plastics of the delicacies, ate a few and saved some for home.
St. Peter and Paul Parish
Address: Brgy. Poblacion, Calasiao, Pangasinan
GPS Coordinates Map: 16°00'35.4"N 120°21'25.1"E