Monday, March 30, 2015

Old Churches of Cavite:
Tanza Church

       Our 5th destination of my Cavite church tour, together with blogger friends Don and Fitz that took place 11th of March this year, is the Church of Tanza also known as Santa Cruz Church, and also San Agustin Church. Again it's another old church with walls that speak less of the details of its history. 

      But thanks to an awesome article I found by Alain Austria entitled The Hardwood Patriarch (pertaining to the statue of San Agustin de Tanza), I learned that the construction of the present church began sometime in 1860 and was completed a decade after. The founding of the parish, however, dates back to 1780.



     Stepping into this small but sturdy church in the daytime makes you think you're witnessing an apparition because of a bright light coming from the altar, which actually is just a stained glass window above the main retablo.



        I think this is the fist time ever I saw a retablo that's colored  black, silver and gold and I'm really loving it.



      The retablo at the left wing houses the antique statue of San Agustin de Tanza whom the locals call "Tata Usteng". Because there isn't any written proof of where the image came from, the story that was passed down by oral tradition might as well be the official history. They say it was found lying in a burnt field called Bañadero near the banks of Obispo River, by a farmer sometime in 1795. The farmer brought it to the governor of the town, who thought of it as just an ordinary wooden rebulto, decided to use it as a tying post for horses under the staircase of the town hall. The parish priest of that time, Fr Narciso Manas, took the statue out from it's sorry state and enshrined it inside the church, after he had dreamt of San Agustin instructing him to do so. And since then reports of miracles and granted favors were associated with the image which started a popular devotion to Tata Usteng. 

      Had I known this story, I would have taken an even closer look at the statue and maybe even whispered a request!



    Right next to retablo at the left wing is this large statue of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustin.




       A series of these stained glass windows envelop the church interior. Each of an Apostle and other saints. Very impressive work!




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