It took us two trips to fully inspect and really appreciate this marvellous Jimenez Church particularly named San Juan Bautista Church. The day before, we passed by this church in haste after a tour of Oroquieta City. It was late afternoon and the church was closed. I wasn’t satisfied seeing just the faced. My fellow travel blogger, Apple of Sole Searching Sole had the same sentiments that we should get back here the next morning. It was a good decision lest we’ll miss one of the most beautiful and well preserved in the island of Mindanao.
It’s hard to let the opportunity of seeing the Jimenez Church pass by knowing it was declared a National Cultural Treasure in July 31,2001 by the National Museum and one of the 26 Spanish Colonial Era churches under the conservation program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). This baroque church was constructed on an upper hill of the town in 1862, initiated by the Augustinian Recollect, Father Roque Azcona. Construction was believed to have been finished sometime in the late 1880s.
Protected and Conserved
We had to ask permission from the caretaker to have the church opened when we went there the next day. The caretaker said there were already important items looted and stolen from the church already so they have to keep it locked most of the times. I’m not fully knowledgeable on church heritage but I know aesthetics when I see one. The ceiling paintings where I didn’t hesitate to lie on the floor to take pictures and appreciate were painted on canvas sometime 1898 and pasted on the wooden roof. The dome paintings were particularly impressive.
The caretaker also took us to the second floor to view the steel pipe organ installed by Father Constancio Asencio after the church completion around 1891. Up on the roof, the caretaker also showed us the original tile roofings covered by the steel roofing for protection.
We were glad we decided to visit the Jimenez Church again and able to see its features that made it an important heritage to the country. One of the attractions and gems of Misamis Occidental.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.