From Liliw, Jandy, Maricar, Violet, Lanny and I continued on our way to the next Laguna town of Nagcarlan. This historic mission town was founded in 1583 by Franciscan Fr. Tomas de Miranda (known in history to have planted the first grains of wheat in the country). It became an independent municipality in 1595. This would be my second visit to this town, my first being 15 years ago (April 4, 1999).
As such, I was excited to revisit the town’s prominent landmarks – the Church of St. Bartholomew and the Underground Cemetery, both of which were featured in my articles written for the defunct TODAY (now Manila Standard TODAY) as well as in my first book “A Philippine Odyssey: A Collection of Featured Travel Articles” (New Day Publishers, 2005) and a previous blog entry in B.L.A.S.T.. My photos of these places were taken with roll film then.
Being a long time ago, a lot has changed with the town. For one, there were now many one way-streets and it took some time, and patience, before we reached the church located opposite the market but far from the municipal hall (which is nearer to the Underground Cemetery).
Restored in “Laguna Baroque” style by Fr. Vicente Velloc (the same priest who built the Underground Cemetery), its impressive brick facade features super-positioned orders consisting of coupled columns on the first level and single columns (reaching only halfway on the walls) on the second. Its pediment has a Baroque-inspired slightly curved raking cornice.
The unusual, 4-storey bell tower, built by Fr. Fernando de la Puebla, is topped by Muslim-inspired crenelations. Unlike in Pagbilao (Quezon) and Majayjay, we weren’t able to climb it as the door leading up to its stairs was locked.