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The San Guillermo Parish Church is one of the oldest churches in Pampanga. It was named after Bacolor’s patron saint, San Guillermo, where the church is located. It is also known as the “half-buried church” of Bacolor because of the lahar overflow in the province during Mount Pinatubo’s eruption. Despite being half buried, the church is still being used as a place of worship among the residents of Bacolor.
Bacolor is a third-class municipality in the coastal province of Pampanga. It is one of the oldest towns in the Philippines and is composed of 21 Barangays. It is situated 71 kilometers from Manila and 47 kilometers from Clark International Airport.
Bacolor is one of the oldest towns in Pampanga. Historical records show that Bacolor has been in existence as early as 1571. The first church was initially built by Augustinian friars in 1576, on the land of Don Guillermo Manabat, a rich landlord who was believed to be the founder of Bacolor. However, the church was destroyed by an earthquake.
In 1897, the church was reconstructed by Fr. Manuel Diaz. However, in 1991, the San Guillermo Parish Church was almost wiped out from the map when Mount Pinatubo erupted. The lahar flow reduced Bacolor’s Church into half of its original height.
Today, San Guillermo Parish Church has been recognized as a famous tourist destination in Bacolor, Pampanga. It has also been used as a key shooting location for a Filipino teleserye that has led to an influx of tourists visiting the church.
Originally standing at twelve meters high, San Guillermo Parish was designed with a central nave and well-lighted transept with windows. It boasts of having a main retablo, side retalbos and pulpit that are heavily gilded with gold leaves. The church’s indoor decoration depicts the Baroque-style of architecture.
After the earthquake, the original door was buried by mud and can no longer be seen. The former church windows are now being used as the main entrances to the church.
Aside from the historic church, you can also explore Museo de Bacolor beside the church. It was an old convent turned into an art gallery. It once served as the command headquarters of Dom Simon de Anda.