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Side Trip to Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan

Barasoain Church is one of the historical landmarks of the Philippines. I’ve grown up seeing pictures in history books, postcards, photos, and even on the ten peso bill before the government converted this to coins. But I’ve never had the chance to visit it, even on a school field trip. That was, until my recent road trip to Pampanga with my friends.

Barasoain Church and Philippine History

Built in 1630, Barasoain Church is more than just another church erected during the time when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. This historical landmark is also reputed to be the Cradle of Democracy not just in the Philippines, but in the East.

In 1898, it served as the place where the first Philippine Congress convened. It is also where the Malolos Constitution was drafted which resulted to the establishment of the Republic of the Philippines, making the country the first in Asia to gain its independence from a foreign power. More recently, it made its mark in Philippine history as the venue of the inauguration of former President Joseph Estrada.

Getting to Barasoain Church

Thanks to smartphones, we managed to find a map to Barasoain Church on the Internet. One important thing to note about the map that we found though is that it didn’t mention that there is a bridge along the Malolos Crossing. To get to Barasoain Church, make sure that you stay on the right side of the road and avoid the bridge. You’ll be turning right underneath the bridge in order to get to the town proper and to the church, which will be on your right.

Arriving at Barasoain Church

Barasoain Church

The front of Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan

When we arrived at Barasoain Church, I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that it was not as crowded as Intramuros or any of the other historical sites that I’ve visited before. Apart from a few local residents walking through the parking area, there wasn’t that much people there. In a way, it was a good thing for me and my friends since we were able to take some pretty good pictures of the church’s facade. Yet, in a way, I was a bit disappointed as well. The lack of the crowd here at the church is a clear tell-tale sign of how this historical landmark has been superseded by others across the country.

We paid P20 for the parking fee (approx. $0.47). We weren’t really sure if we could park outside the gates surrounding the church, but considering that it’s such a low price, we chose to park inside, making sure that our van was not going to interfere with the pictures that we were planning to take.

Unlike the other old churches that I’ve visited like the one in Binondo, Barasoain Church did not open to a sprawling plaza. Instead, it is pretty much surrounded by buildings left and right so much that if you weren’t really conscious of looking for it, you can easily pass it by.

Katipunan flags and statue of Aguinaldo at Barasoain Church

The statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo looks towards Barasoain Church as the flags of the Katipunan continue to wave high with pride

On the other side of the parking lot stood a statue of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines and the other only president of the country that was ever inaugurated here at Barasoain Church.

Waving high and proud in the mid-day sun behind the statue of Gen. Aguinaldo were replicas of the nine different flags used by the Katipunan during their revolt against the Spanish colonizers with the very first design on the leftmost side. At the center of was the flag designed by Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, and is believed to have been the very first of many versions that led up to the design of the Philippine flag used today, once again serving as a reminder of the important significance of Barasoain Church to the country’s birth as an independent nation.

The Garden and Museum at Barasoain Church

Garden at Barasoain Church

The beautiful garden at Barasoain Church

We tried to get inside the church itself. Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there since there was no scheduled mass when we arrived. One of the locals told us that the museum at the back of the church was opened, so we decided to have a quick look around.

On our way to the museum, we passed through a small tunnel-like walkway where we saw the restored carriage used by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on his way to his inauguration as the first president of the Philippines held here in Barasoain Church.

As we exited the walkway, we were greeted by a beautiful square garden surrounded by the building which was once the temporary residence of Gen. Aguinaldo, and now serving as the museum here at Barasoain Church. Aside from giving us some refuge from the early afternoon sun, walking through the gardens almost felt like stepping back through time. As I looked up to see the balconies overlooking the gardens, I thought to myself this was probably what Gen. Aguinaldo and his family must have enjoyed seeing each and every single day while they stayed here. Of course, many of the plants and trees here were more recent. But there were still a few old trees that stood tall. I wondered what stories would they tell if they could only talk.

Restoring artificats of Barasoain Church

Restoring the beautiful artifacts of Barasoain Church

We finally made our way up the narrow steps to the museum where many of the religious relics are housed. There is no fee to go into the museum, but it is highly recommended to leave a small donation in the box located at the door.

As we entered the museum, we saw a man painstakingly restoring a part of the metal carvings that decorated many of the images religious statues housed not only inside the museum, but also inside the church. When we asked him what he was using to restore the metal artwork, he told us that he was using bronze leaf that he attaches with the help of a brush since the leaf is very brittle that merely touching this with your fingers is more than enough to break this.

If the outside of Barasoain Church paid tribute to the political history of the Philippines, the museum at Barasoain Church showed how significant Catholicism was at this time. All around were different religious icons and images, many of which dated back to the time of the Spanish colonization.

Madonna and Child image at Barasoain Church

One of the many images on display at the museum in Barasoain Church

Notable were the number of images depicting the Virgin Mary, which comes not a surprise since another name for Barasoain Church is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, one of the many titles given to the Virgin Mary.

There was another part of the museum that housed the different memorabilia and images of the role Barasoain Church played throughout Philippine history. Unfortunately, the man doing the restoration work told us that it was closed and usually opened only under special arrangements.

As we headed back to our car to continue our trip to Pampanga, we saw a group of young kids who were being arranged for a picture by their teachers. I smiled. Barasoain Church may be one of the less visited historical landmarks in the Philippines, but it is really uplifting to know that teachers make sure that the younger generation would not forget this. Perhaps someday, it would gain the popularity among local and foreign travelers as one of the popular destinations in the Philippines.

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Side Trip to Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
About Adeline Yuboco

A natural-born foodie with an eye for detail, I started Life and Leisure to be a place where I can share on how to travel and live in style within your means. At the same time, I cover various events for DigitalJournal.com where I'm a contributing journalist. If you got a great story idea or have an event you'd like me to cover, drop me an email at the Contact page, message me on Twitter, or Connect with me on
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Comments

  1. For a place with such history, I’m surprised to hear that it’s not that popular as a tourist spot. That reminds me of the city of Jauja, only two hours away from where I am in the Central Andes. It was the first city the Spanish founded in Peru and the first capital of Peru — now it’s just a tiny town that people pass by on their way to Huancayo. Loved learning more about Barasoain Church and its rich history through your article! =) You bring it alive!
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  2. Looks like a very historical place, perfect for educational trips. I agree that teachers are doing a great job in enriching the students’ knowledge about their country’s history. :)

  3. What a historical and beautiful church and believe me I have seen a few.
    During my childhood we went on vacation to Italy many times and had t to see every little or big church in the area we stayed. They were all pretty amazing. My favorite church is the Dom of Bremen where I grew Enter St. Petri Dom Bremen in th~e Google search box and click on http://www.stpetridom.de/ – Translate this page. for more info.

    ~Anja~
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  4. how i wish i could visit there too. if i will giving a chance, i would love to. and to travel all around the Philippines first before visiting the other country.

  5. I love the front of the church. It reminds me of the Alamo in San Antonio. I visited several old churches in China when I visited there. The most unique of them all was an old Catholic church in Beijing. I did know that there were old Catholic churches in China before this. It had beautiful stain glass windows.
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    • Hi Mac,

      Thanks so much for dropping by. I’ve been to the Alamo back in 2003 and now that you mentioned it, it does have a similar facade as Barasoain Church. Hope you get the chance to include this and the other old churches here in the Philippines in your list.

  6. I wanted to go to a place like this but I really don’t have much time because of my work. Is there any historical places near Imus that I could go to? It would be a pleasure if you suggest. Thank you so much! :)

  7. Hi.
    I haven’t really got a chance to visit Barasoain Church. And your post and descriptions just really made me want to visit it more. Thanks for sharing some tips and history about the place. I might consider your reading your post again whenever I got an opportunity to go to the church.

  8. Good promotion of smartphone ;) ! I’m not a student of history but I’ve an intense interest in history so your sharing is much pleasant to me. I would be happier to get few more shots of the museum as it contains the previous history of the country. Thanks!

    • Thanks for your kind words, James. Unfortunately, the larger museum was closed when we got there so we only got a few glimpses. I’ll keep your suggestion in mind if I happen to pass by there again.

  9. I was able to visit the place when I attended a friends wedding and the church is really beautiful. Add a touch of history and this makes it a very historical landmark.
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  10. i remember this was the farthest place i had been when i was in college. but very historical. and i also remember it in our old 10-peso bilss
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  11. This is one of the historical place that I want to visit bacK home. The place is great and perfect for wedding ceremony
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  12. I’m almost ashamed to say that I haven’t been to Barasoain church. I’d love to go there someday, just to take in the local flavor.
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  13. Never had the chance to visit Bulacan:( EVeytime i read about Barasoin Church, The first congress of the Philippines comes first in my mind. I luv the structural design of this Historical Church.
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  14. This is the church that we can find at the back of the 10 pesos bill, right? Oh.. I thought this church is in ruins already. Glad to know that people preserved it.
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  15. Thanks for sharing the history of this church. This church is really a heritage for us Catholics, we should keep its beauty and let the future generation see it. Church started the marketplace here in the Philippines, according in the Philippine history. In every church there is a market outside in where people can buy items or foods. Anyway, thanks for sharing this, keep it up.
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  16. a side trip that is more than worth it. besides it’s not always the views we are after when visiting historical places like Barasoain church but of course the learning, people and stuffs others.
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  17. one of the oldest churches here in our country :) , i was able to visit the church years back, and looking forward to visit it again :)
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  18. It’s been ages since I’ve visited this place. The last time was 2010. Have they finished with the churrch renovation?
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  19. I’m not sure if we’d visited Barasoain church in one of our field trips in high school but would love to visit again!
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  20. Ruben Licera Jr. says:

    Barasoain Church is the most important religious building in the Philippines, and the site of the First Philippine Republic, the Church is proverbial for its historical importance among Filipinos.It is also a good place for educational tour.

  21. WOW….super nice and good information, so comprehensive. I’d been to Tagbilaran City and I visited the old church of St. Joseph, have you been there? It is also nice the carvings, the ornaments and the walls, still good.
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    • Yes, I’ve been to Tagbilaran a few years back. We did visit the church of St. Joseph. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get inside to see it. The first thing I looked for when we arrived there was the ladies room (had waaaay too much water and coffee for breakfast that day). By the time I got back, we had to jump back into the van and visit the next church. :( Oh well, gives me one more reason to go back there.

  22. Thanks for sharing this Adeline… at least for me and for other ofws they will learn something great sa ating mga tourist spot na dapat puntahan…

    keep it up!
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  23. I have yet to visit this church as of yet. I’m just curious if taking pictures inside would be prohibited or not. ^_^

  24. I was fortunate to visit Barasoain back in college (1997in particular) :) So full of history and still is making a mark in our culture. I’ve also received a postcard from a friend this year, stil is a beauty!
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  25. great cover of one of the historical sites in the Phils. How i wish to visit the place on one of my vacations. This reminded me of my Sibika and Kultura back in elementary

  26. This is not so far from where I live but I’ve never been in this church… Too bad it was closed when you went there. I was kinda hoping for pictures inside the church. :)

  27. nice share.. I am glad to see there is someone doing restoration to preserve great architecture and art during that period. I have been going to pampanga several times and yet I have not a chance to visit this church. Thanks for reminding and will surely visit it soon.
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    • You’re very welcome, Chef. Once you reach the Shell gas station along the North Luzon Expressway, keep your eyes peeled for the sign. If my memory serves me right, you take the next exit after the gas station.

  28. I\’ve been here too just this year. It seem smaller than I pictured it in my mind.. Thanks for sharing. I have a feeling we’ll go back to Bulacan again this year… :)

    • Same here, Rizza. I was actually surprised that many of the other churches we have here in Manila are actually much bigger than Barasoain. But of course, it’s the rich history attached to it that can easily make it a giant in anyone’s imagination. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  29. Hopefully i could visit this place, this is the first time I heard Barasoain Church, it look like the church in Indang, Cavite.

  30. A cousin got married on this church and I was in awe because of the classic beauty. I was in love with the structure, really.
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  31. Will surely visit this place once I go for my vacation early next year. thanks for the info about the museum, an additional place to visit besides the Church…

  32. i’ve seen this one already and commented as well. but the views still give the same impact the first time i saw those.
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  33. I’m planning to visit old churches from different parts of the country to wow myself with the architecture. This is definitely going in my list. The first time I saw Barasoain Church was when my Dad handed me a 10 peso Bill. LOL

  34. on one of my vacations in Luzon i will surely include this in my IT … thanks for sharing :D

  35. I think this was the church where President Erap Estrada took his oath of office due to its rich heritage and place in history and also such a beautiful church.

  36. The Philippines is rich in many historical landmarks and I am just hoping that they can maintain it and not over commercialize as it could ruin its beauty.
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  37. I have never been to this church and its good to know that it still look great. Same as it is in the ten peso bill. Lucky you that there are not much people walking around so you can take a good photo of the facade of the church…Wish I can visit Barasoain soon.

  38. That photo of Barasoain is majestic!
    It’s so eye catching

  39. I’m glad that Barasoain Church has still stood firm and retained its historical importance despite the modernization of its immediate environment. I was a bit confused, though, why they have to charge for parking tickets instead of museum fees. =) I’ve been to historical landmarks and centuries-old churches in Bohol and it really feels like you’re reading your history books when you’re inside them. I bet you also felt that way while you were at Barasoain Church.
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  40. I’m thinking of going back to Bulacan on December. We’ll see. :)

  41. Wow, such a comprehensive write-up! Like you, I also thought the church was not as impressive as I had expected. Having no plaza in front for perspective really takes away the grandness of a stone church.

    • Thanks so much, AJ. Yes, it was quite surprising that there was no open plaza in front of it. It somehow made the church easy to miss if you’re not really keeping an eye out for it. Still, it’s a sight worth seeing.

  42. Missing the 10PHP bill already :( I went here just over a year ago with my college friends. Too bad we weren’t able to get to the belfry as we felt suffocated on our way up.

  43. I love historical spots. The older, the better I like it. Barasoain Church – I would visit it first chance I get.
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  44. I’ve been to Bulacan a couple of times because my bestfriend lives there but I haven’t heard of this Church. Lmao. I think I have to check the whole place around when I get the chance to do so. Hmm, might be able to check the Church this coming Monday since I’ll be making a visit to Bulacan again. :)
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  45. I’ve been to Bulacan several times, but I haven’t seen the Barasoain Church yet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see its grandeur soon.. ^^
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