I stood mesmerized infront of that brick wonder. Its massive circular pediment with a huge rose window at the center, the finials, whirls and flora. Saints and wheels and volutes. Its circular belfry, one of a few in the country looks more like a wedding cake with its whitewash color and decorations of flowers, shells and diamonds was just a sight to behold.
It was almost a decade ago that I decided to travel all the way to Tumauini in Isabela. I was still a telecoms engineer based in Cebu that time and a company training in Makati was just the perfect opportunity to visit this National Cultural Treasure. It was the book Great Churches of the Philippines that first introduced me to this church and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.
Tumauini Church, whose patron saint is St. Mathias, was built under the supervision of the Dominicans in 1753 and finished in 1805. Its outstanding and ornate decorations made of bricks, customized and numbered is its main draw. The ornateness of the facade decorations is echoed in the interior. Behind the church are flying buttresses and at its sides are engraved years as well as Dominican symbols. At its right are the ruins of the convent with one dome showing the outstanding brick work.
My evening flight arrived in Manila from Cebu and it was just a less than an hour that I was already at the Victory bus station for my trip to Tumauini. Eight hours after, with the morning sun still low, I was looking at Tumauini Church in awe. I took photographs, checked the interior and the convent ruins. After an hour or so, I was lugging my bag to the waiting shed and waited for my bus back to Metro Manila.