lazi_kumbento_6

I was awestruck with Lazi’s kumbento & church

The beautiful wooden railing of the grand staircase leading to the second floor of Lazi’s kumbento

The huge Lazi kumbento built between 1887-1891 attributed to Fray Toribio Sanchez. CLICK TO ENLARGE

I was speechless and shaking my head in awe of finally coming face to face with the structure that stood before me: massive, immense, and delightfully beautiful.

Built during the sunset years of the Spanish colonial period by the Augustinian Recollect friars, its lower level is draped with a series of arches made of coral stones; the second level of wood with large windows and a huge roof with still original galvanized iron sheeting, sloping gracefully.

It is more than a hundred years old and patterned after the humble nipa hut (traditional Philippine house) that is well adapted to the tropical clime. One can consider it as an oversized bahay-na-bato.

The coral stone church of Lazi under the patronage of San Isidro Labrador

The herringbone pattern of the church’s wooden flooring

Tucked in one of the smallest provinces in the Philippines, Siquijor, with just a little over 70 kilometers of circumferential road, an hour by fastcraft off the shores of Dumaguete City. In the municipality of Lazi, under the shade of century old acacia trees lining the road are two heritage structures that make this place special.

It was my first time to visit Siquijor, my 80th and last province to visit in the country and I only had one objective, to shoot and write about the architecture of Lazi’s beautiful kumbento (parochial house) for a publication. But I was never prepared to actually see for myself the structure and its equally impressive but simple church.

The interior of the church. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The church dedicated to San Isidro Labrador is austere, with simple embellishments at its facade and with a wooden pediment. It was built in 1884. But entering the structure can give one goosebumps: the retablos are still original, there are twin pulpits at both sides and, what’s stunning is the herringbone wooden flooring!

Inside the roof. Check the teenaged boy at the lower left to scale.

Galvanized iron sheet marking: Trademark Redcliffe

At the kumbento, which was built from 1887-1891, is u-shaped and is believed to have served as a retreat house or summer place for Recollects serving in Negros and Mindanao. This explains its immense size and is thought to have from 20-30 rooms. A close scrutiny of the flooring and wooden posts has notches where these partitions might have been attached.

Original colored glass at the windows. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The grand staircase leads to the beautiful second floor. Wooden ceiling at the main hall while sawali covered with limewash in the rest of the ceilings. Thin partitions of tabique pampango are still present while windows have still original clear and colored glass panes. At the back is a huge cistern, the aljibe, that collected rain water.

The aljibe or cistern at the back of the kumbento

But I was more impressed with the roof and I just have to check it out. With a wooden ladder and one of the sacristans, Alistair, as my guide, we entered into a cavernous space with wooden trusses thereabouts. Its around 8-10 meters high at the topmost reaches.

While it can be hot inside as the roofing is made from galvanized iron sheets, the structure is well designed for the hot climate with its edges having good ventilation. Note that the iron sheets are still original and a close inspection of one of the sheets bear the Redcliffe trademark.

The portion of the kumbento showing the azotea. The room inside is the Siquijor Heritage Museum

I was shooting the kumbento for the next two days, sleeping at one of the quarters, and it afforded me to know more of the structure and its interesting details. Together with the church, these two structures are real treasures that are worth preserving and every Filipino should visit and treasure.


The Pinoy Explorer - The Visayas Roundup
This is my entry to the September 2012 PTB Bloggers’s Blog Carnival hosted by Ding Fuellos of The Pinoy Explorer.

Ang Langyaw’s trip made possible by Airphilexpress, the fastest growing budget airline in the Philippines!

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

9 Comments

  1. Earl
    July 20, 2012 @ 16:11

    Pagka-nindot sa colored glass window bai.

  2. estancabigas
    July 20, 2012 @ 19:21

    mao jud bai. and these are still original 🙂

  3. Lazi’s staircase railing and ceiling | Langyaw Travel Photography
    August 2, 2012 @ 14:24

    […] above as one climbs the grand staircase of Lazi’s old kumbento, one can see this beautiful architecture scene with the railings forming a ‘U’ framing […]

  4. » How’s a Talingting (Siquijor) fiesta goes? | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    August 7, 2012 @ 14:16

    […] the Augustinian Recollects who administered the island during the 19th century. They also built the biggest kumbento in the country, found at […]

  5. » Lumen, the puto vendor in Lazi | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    August 12, 2012 @ 1:01

    […] shoot assignment on the town’s massive kumbentowas already done and, early in the morning, at just before 7 AM, I was walking to the market of Lazi […]

  6. » Cheap but great accommodations at Go Hotels Dumaguete | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    September 1, 2012 @ 17:27

    […] just came from Siquijor for a photo shoot of Lazi’s heritage kumbento and returning to Dumaguete, I decided to just stay for the night than going immediately back home […]

  7. Mai_Flores
    September 11, 2012 @ 12:12

    Ang impressive ng upkeep! And if there’s one thing that I liked about the interiors — it would have to be the colorful glass window panes! By the way.. awesome Visayas Roundup! 🙂 The Blog Carnival is such a grand idea put to life. 😉

  8. estancabigas
    September 11, 2012 @ 23:44

    really great place there @Mai_Flores:disqus 🙂

  9. » 2012 Travels & achievements, Part 2 of 3 | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    January 1, 2013 @ 12:27

    […] completed all 80 Philippine provinces when I got an assignment to photograph and write about the Lazi kumbento in Siquijor for a national architecture magazine. It’s really an interesting place to be and […]

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