Paete's most prominent eyesore

March 27, 2017

This is the Baroque Iglesia de Santiago Apostol, more popularly known as the Paete Church. It was built in 1884, although the first structure dates back to 1646 ; it and subsequent versions were destroyed by earthquakes until this current incarnation proved to be more resistant to such tremors. 

 The south transept and its intricate bas-reliefs, albeit ruined by the addition of a grotto and a tarpaulin for announcements. Many churches within the country, including those that were built during the Spanish period, have their architectural glories blighted by these trivialities.

 Yet, those two elements are nothing compared to this monstrosity: a 'cultural' stage that has managed to obliterate the sight of that southern wall. If you want to admire that portion of the church, you have to walk past that stage and into the transept's adjoining patio. There is no admiring the church's southern wall from afar. 


Still, you can use some bit of imagination and at least for the meantime, have a mental picture of that church, in the same angle, with that mountain and that expanse of sky behind it. You may also pretend that those unsightly electric lines are non-existent while you're at it.

 View taken from the sidelines of the plaza's basketball court. Note how the entire stage structure has completely blocked the church, save for the upper portion of the belfry.

You may think that I am just being a curmudgeon, and you could be correct in that assumption, at least at some point. However, you also may want to search online for images of examples such as the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva (the Miag-ao Church) and the San Agustin (Paoay Church)- two Baroque churches whose vistas are unimpeded and their cultural contexts spared from short-sighted public projects that while useful, do not integrate well into the location proper. Perhaps the local government of Paete, in a flash of wisdom, will someday move that stage into some place where it will be more benign, but I doubt that. Not when people accept whatever is offered or given to them. "Okay na 'yan", many Filipinos with marginal tastes would often say.

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