The Church of St. John the Baptist was originally built in 1859. Its original altar (as well as original baptismal records and canonical books) was burned on September 28, 1862 but was immediately rebuilt by Fr. Leoncio Lopez.
On February 12, 1945, during World War II, the church was burned by the Japanese. After the war, it was rebuilt by Fr. Eliseo Dimaculangan.
The 3-level Baroque façade has a semicircular arched main entrance flanked by fluted pilasters, semicircular arched stain glass windows (St. Dominic and St. Lorenzo Ruiz) and twin, 4-storey (square in the first two storeys and hexagonal for the upper two) bell towers topped by a dome. The choir loft level has a small circular, stained glass window while the broken pediment’s raking cornice has undulating lines.
Jose Rizal was baptized at its baptistery on June 22, 1861 by Fr. Rufino Collantes and his godfather Fr. Pedro Casanas.
The original baptismal font, recognized as a National Historical Landmark (Level 1), including original church items and reliquaries during Rizal’s time, have been preserved and refurbished.
Displayed on the left side of the baptistery entrance is a transcript of Rizal’s existing baptismal record issued by Fr. Leoncio Lopez.
At the right side of the church, facing the entrance, is the Garden of Gethsemane, a small garden with sculpted, life-size images of the Stations of the Cross and a Well of Repentance (Balon ng Pagbabalik Loob).
Church of St. John the Baptist: J.P. Rizal cor. Mercado St., Poblacion 5. Tel: (049) 545-1565. Feast of St. John the Baptist: June 24.
How to Get There: Calamba City is located 53.3 kms. (a 1.25-hour drive) from Manila and 46.5 kms. (a 1-hour drive) from Santa Cruz. The church is located across the plaza and adjacent to Rizal Shrine.