Skip to Content

Philippines: Mt Pinatubo all but buried this church!

In June 1991 Mt Pinatubo awakened from its 500-year slumber and erupted on the island of Luzon in the Philippines killing 800 and displacing 100,000. Today it’s a picturesque crater that people come to hike to.

But last week I was in the province of Pampanga and visited the church that was all but swallowed up by the 6 metre high lahar that oozed through town burying everything in its wake in 1995.

San Guillermo, Philippines

The new “upper” entrance to San Guillermo

San Guillermo, the parish church of Bacolor, is still a place of worship, only now you enter through what was formerly the upper windows where saints once stood and the bell tower on your left is only 5 steps above the floor.

San Guillermo, Philippines

Facing the altar with the bell tower just to my left

San Guillermo, Philippines

Standing under Jesus

The rafters look oddly low, I noticed when I walked in, before I knew the story. And taking a tour into the trancepts you see what were once windows now openings on the floor leading into prayer rooms and onto the street where cars now park under trees whose roots are still buried several metres below ground.

San Guillermo, Philippines

Walk past the blonde, blue-eyed crying Mary into the prayer rooms and galleries

Originally built by Augustine friars in 1576, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1880 and rebuilt in 1886 (take note Christchurch!) and the altar excavated after the lahar by the local community who also managed to salvage many statues and artefacts.

San Guillermo, Philippines

Images of the church before and after the lahar. Those windows in the left are at street level.

GK Philippines
Philippines: visiting the Silicon Valley for social entrepreneurs
← Read Last Post
El Nido, Philippines
Philippines: island hopping in Palawan
Read Next Post →

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

Please share!

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!