Barasoain Church (also known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish) in Malolos, Bulacan is one of the most familiar national landmarks to Filipinos. It is familiar because it graced the reverse side of the of the New Design ten peso bill and made a successful comeback on the obverse side of the 200-peso bill of the New Generation Currency. The prominent place of Barasoain Church on Philippine bills is more than justified because it is the birthplace of Philippine Republic. This mute but eloquent eyewitness to the union of the church and state originated from humble beginnings as a religious structure made of nipa and bamboo. In 1885, the present incarnation of the church was completed under the direction of Augustinian priest (and architect) Juan Giron. It was not until three years later, in 1898, when Barasoain Church became the place to be. On September 15, 1898, the First Philippine Congress convened in Barasoain Church. A marker on one of the walls of the church states that Pedro Paterno was the president of the Congress. Based on the photos, the first convention had a feel of a fiesta (like most things that involve politics in the Philippines. Our elections closely resemble a circus and our politicians are the jesters). Moreover, it is also the place where Congress discussed and approved the aptly named Malolos Constitution. Lastly, the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated here on January 23, 1899.
Barasoain Church has a spacious courtyard where parishioners can reflect or relax before or after the mass.
The passage of time has not dimmed the historic role of Barasoain Church as remnants of the early days of the Philippine Republic are displayed in the area.
The convent of Barasoain Church has a museum that further remembers the unprecedented events that took place, but it was closed when I visited the church. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am to 4pm.