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San Matias Church. Tumauini, Isabela, Philippines.
Tumauini, Isabela: Parish Church of San Matias, built in the 1780s by the Dominicans. This is the best-preserved church ensemble in Isabela although its convento is in ruins. The church can be considered to be the best and most artistic brick structure in the Philippines. The delicate brickwork is evident in the church itself and also in the cylindrical, confectionery-like bell tower (a later addition). In the convento's vaulted ceiling may still be seen impressions of the mats that were used as forms to mold wet plaster during construction. A low, undulating brick wall circumscribes the front garden. [PDI, Dec 16, 2001]
First build of light materials by Francisco Nunez O. P., and dedicated to the Patron Saint, 1707. Separated from Cabagan and became a regular parish in 1751. The Roman Catholic Church was erected by the Dominican in 1753. They were made of bricks and coral stones with unique cylindrical bell tower, the only of its kind in the Philippines was constructed by Fr. Domingo Forto in 1793 and completed on 1805, became the capital of Isabela for sometimes in 1880′s. The Church was partly damaged during World War II and repaired into original form by the faithful of Tumauini.
Furthermore, the church architectural design bear traces of Chinese artistry which confirms the belief that long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, the Chinese had settled in the coastal towns of Northern Luzon.
By virtue of Presidential Decree # 260. 11 August 1973, as amended by Executive Order No. 357, 14 January 1974 and No. 1505, 11 June 1978. The Church of Tumauini was declared a National Historical Landmark on February 24, 1989.
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