The Gothic Windows of Balic-balic

We do not know the name of the architect, but Fr. Esteban Exaltacion initiated a church building project during the mid-1930’s that aimed to build a Gothic cathedral on the hills of Balic-balic. Unfortunately, the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of Manila halted this grand vision. The unfinished Gothic church stood for many years providing the parishioners of Balic-balic a visual taste, although in a smaller scale, of the grandeur of European Gothic churches.
The facade of this “2nd Trinity” church reveals her Gothic aspirations. The apex of the arch shows the typical quatrefoil or four-leaf design repeated three times. This triadic repetition is typical symbol of the Trinity.

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The left and right side of the church shows pointed arched portals and windows, and tall towers typical of Gothic designs.

In most European Gothic churches, these arched and narrow windows provided the opportunity to create beautifully colored stained glass windows. However, the windows of Balic-balic remained plain and the lights entered with their unfiltered brilliance and glory. Maybe the parish could not afford to pay for the costs of having stained glass windows.
The inside of the Gothic church shows how the small and narrow scale allowed only from having two columns of rows of church pews lined up from the altar to the entrance door (unlike in today’s church where there are four columns).

Fr. Isidro Jose and Architect Beth Silva del Castillo worked on the architectural design of the “new” church for the Most Holy Trinity Parish of Balic-balic. The high and narrow arches and windows and the quatrefoils of the Gothic imagination would surrender to the simple and square modern lines of a new era. From a small funerary chapel to a Gothic cathedral, the house of the Triune God now enters the last phase of her transformation.

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~ by Martin Gaerlan on August 7, 2006.

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