Information about Betis Church
Photo by Betis Heritage Church - Santiago Apostol Parish
Betis Church, or The St. James the Apostle Parish Church in Pampanga, is best known for its beautiful ceilings that have earned it the nickname "Sistine Chapel of the Philippines." Macario Ligon painted the murals on the ceiling with frescoes and trompe l'oeil artwork, which Victor Ramos in the 1970s later restored. Meanwhile, the main altar boasts elaborate designs, with statues at the retablo and angels on the columns.
The current baroque-inspired church is a testament to the skills of the locals of Betis. In recognition of its exceptional design, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, along with the National Museum, declared the church a National Cultural Treasure.
Headed by Father Jose de la Cruz, the Baroque-inspired church was first built in 1660. Its preliminary structure was made of light materials composed of stucco and wood. It was rebuilt using concrete materials in 1770 when a fire broke out.
The church's rectory was burned together with all the documents about baptism and historical catalogs in 1908. Beautification of the church's interiors was done in 1939 by its last Spanish priest, Father Santiago Blanco.
Best time to visit
To get a better look at the church's grand ceiling, it's best to drop by in the morning when there is a lot of natural light inside the church.