Panay Church or the Church of Pan-ay (also named Santa Monica Church) was built way back 1698 but was destroyed by a typhoon according to some sources. It was reconstructed by Father Miguel Murguia in 1774 but got heavily damaged again by a typhoon in the 15th of January, 1875. Then it was rebuilt again around 1884 by Father Beloso which is now the present church you see in the photos. You can actually see a brief description of the church history in a tablet found beside (right side) the front door.
The church Father Beloso rebuilt has 9 feet thick of solid rock wall made from stony corals that’s enough to withstand any hurricane or typhoon thrown at it. Yes, those walls are ridiculously thick probably to ensure the faithful that the church is an immovable fortress of faith that will not crumble in the midst of fierce trials and tribulations. Probably the church serves as a concrete reminder of Jesus parable of the wise and the foolish builders found in Matthew 7:24-27.
The church also has the famous bell called “dakong lingganay” or big bell. It was commissioned by the same Father Beloso to Don Juan Reina to cast this massive bell which is the largest in the whole country and maybe in all of Asia. The bell weights at 10.4 tons and was made by 70 sacks of gold coins.
The bell you actually see in the photo is a bronze replica – the one made from gold coins is still hanging way up the church tower you see in the photos. There’s no way a bell that huge and heavy can be stolen in the middle of the night without making a ruckus. There are 8 more smaller bells that surrounds the biggest bell of them all.
Too bad we were not able to climb up the tower (though I’ve been to the tower like twice years back). Anyway we went to Panay church just to take some photos right after visiting my auntie, cousin and nephew (previous post). Then we went back to Roxas City to have our lunch at RML Manokan before finally leaving for Kalibo Aklan. So yes, here are the photos of our visit to one of the oldest baroque churches in the Philippines:
Leia, Me and Jorge…
We were really grateful to Jorge for accompanying us to Pan-ay town proper which is where the church is situated. It is a 15-20 minute ride from the city proper and a 5 minute ride from Tanza where my relatives live. Yeah, we had fun taking photos of us with the beautiful Santa Monica Church, the Museo De Santa Monica and also the Panay Presidencia building which I think is the Municipal Hall.
Through the lens of Jorge’s cam:
So that’s a wrap for our Panay, Roxas trip!
Here’s Leia’s side of the story from her blog Technicolor Waves of Rhapsody about our whole Capiz trip.
Next stop: Kalibo and Boracay Aklan!
p.s. the reason why we were on a hurry was because we wanted to get home as soon as possible to catch up for the boat going to Mindanao. Sendong or typhoon Washi struck both Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and left a destructive wake in its path leaving thousands dead and hundreds missing.
All flights were suspended going to Cagayan de Oro (Iligan doesn’t have an airport) the day the storm struck and the earliest boat that was going to Cagayan (no boats from Iloilo to Iligan) was four days to go. We couldn’t get home early and the regular plane tickets were way beyond our budget so we decided to continue with our Panay Island adventure and take a boat on schedule.
The original plan was to go to Boracay first before Roxas City, but decided to head first for Roxas instead. Despite the bad news, we were relieved to know that both our families (Leia’s parents, my mom, siblings and their families) were safe.