St. John the Baptist Church stands like a proud warrior in a peaceful section of Calumpit, Bulacan. According to a marker found on one of the walls of the church, it was constructed in 1575, making it the oldest church in Bulacan. It served as the cradle of Catholic faith in the province and has seen the growth of religious followers over the centuries. It is also considered a historical church that has seen multitudes of hardships by the Filipinos under several colonizers—Spanish, Americans and Japanese.
Madre Dionisia Talangpaz and Madre Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz, the founders of Beaterio de San Sebastian de Calumpit were baptized in this church. They are notable individuals who were beatified by the church.
According to rumors, there is a tunnel inside the church where the priests kept religious statues, gold and ornate jewelry to protect these worldly possessions from treasure hunters. The same tunnel became the final resting place of some Spaniards and revolutionaries that perished in battles.
*** Pope Francis just finished his first mass in the Philippines. Watching thousands of Filipinos line the streets to have a glimpse of the pope, listening to his homily and hearing the song Tell the World of His Love, the theme song of 1995 World Youth Day in the Philippines, give me goosebumps.