Posted by admin on July 27, 2006
San Miguel Arcangel Parish
By 1690, Argao was listed as a visita of Carcar. Fr. Ignacio de Olave was assigned to the parish in 1734 and took possession of it in 1735. Argao’s first titular was St. Michael the Archangel, later changed to Nuestra Señora de la Consolación. The convento and the present church, the second or possibly the third, was by Fr. Mateo Perez who was parish priest from 1803-36. However, other authors attribute the construction of the church to the previous parish priest, Fr. Francisco Espina (1782-98) and the year 1783 engraved on the arch of the right transept seems to confirm this statement. Fr. Perez energetically improved the town materially by planning stone houses built along straight streets, building schools, introducing salt-making, brick-making and weaving. The church and convento lost their roofs during a typhoon in 1876. The tile roof was replaced with galvanized iron in 1924 by Fr. Joaquin Boiser, and the convento housed the San Carlos Minor Seminary from 1949-50.
Heritage Features: Argao has a well preserved church complex, protected by a defensive wall with bastions. Part of the wall remains, the only surviving bastion is part of a residence, and the seaward gate of the complex is intact. Within the enclosed complex is a ruined two story coral stone structure probably the casa real. Opposite it is a small structure said to be an infirmary although a bas relief of a dancing skeleton probably indicates that this was a morada, a structure used for wakes.
The church itself is single-naved with a bell tower built apart from it though connected by a low structure. The convent of coral stone and wood stands to the right of the church. Similar in design to Dalaguete, built two decades later, Argao façade is better conceived and carefully built than Dalaguete’s. The straight forward façade surmounted by a triangular pediment is divided vertically by paired columns resting on tall plinths. Plinths are embellished with angels and columns with floral motifs. Relieves of angels embellish the walls and a wide arched entrance leads into the church. Touches of Rococo embellishments are evident in the façade. Unity of decoration links the interior with the exterior. Cherub heads decorate the corbels supporting the ceiling made of wood planks, while flame-like and asymmetrical floral motifs decorate choirloft and altars. The main altar is the interior’s glory. Richly gilded, delicate chrysanthemums and peonies painted in the Chinese manner fill the altar. A faux curtain in carved wood opens to reveal the niche where the image of San Miguel is placed. The paintings on the ceiling, probably done in the 20th century, depict the activity of angels in human life and in the Bible.