Dapitan St. James Church

I had the chance to visit the historic church in Dapitan. It was originally constructed in the year 1871 under Rev. Fr. Juan Gelabert. The Dapitanons rendered local materials and voluntary labor as the construction finished. It is in this church where our National hero Jose P. Rizal hear mass every Sunday during his exile. The St. James Church was named after the city's patron saint, St. James the Greater.

The exterior facade of St. James Church
Fronting the church is the Relief Map of Mindanao.
The Relief Map of Mindanao is one of the projects of Rizal during his exile.
Dapitan in the Relief Map

Repaired and renovated in 1904, the original galvanized iron wall was replaced with the present solid masonry. The wooden floor was as well changed into mortar. It was then completed in 1909 under the Parish priest Rev. Fr. Antonio Obach S.J. with the same assistance from the people as in the original construction.

The massive entrance
The Nave of the church leading to the altar
Orange and white tiles create an illusion of motion in the concave ceiling
An arcade with intricate designs

In 1921, the remodeling of the mortar floor into concrete took place as well as the improvisation of the sanctuary. In 1944, the Japanese soldiers used this church as a sleeping quarters for about 5 days. Later in 1964, the church underwent another major reconstruction. The entire structure was changed to reinforced concrete. The inauguration of St. James Church occurred on July 23, 1967.

The apse houses the main altar and pulpit.
Religious figures at the columns
Flooring tile pattern
Antique walls
Its facade has a Gothic Arch entrance and columns. It also has a Pediment as well as two bell towers. The Running Bond concrete pattern adds to the aesthetic value of the entire structure.

If you run into some Architectural terms, here are its definitions:

Apse - A semi-circular area usually located at the far end and houses the main altar.
Arcade - A series of Arches supported by columns.
Facade - The frontage of a structure or building.
Gothic Arch - A type of Arch that has a pointed arch formed by two arc segments.
Mortar - A mixture consisting of usually lime and cement that bonds stones and bricks.
Nave - The main part of the church that accommodates a congregation. 
Pediment - A triangular area found at the frontage of the roof in a classical structure.
Pulpit - Raised platform intended for the preacher.
Reinforced Concrete - A type of construction where rebars are embedded passively unto the concrete to increase its tensile strength.
Running Bond - Common brick pattern which consists of rows of brick or concrete where its ends lie on the midpoint of the opposite brick.

The St. James Church in Dapitan is one of the most astonishing churches in Mindanao. With its historical value, it will surely serve as an emblem of both heritage and Christianity located at the heart of the city.

Thanks for dropping by! Hope you enjoyed this blog and the pictures as well. Here's a photo of us and the St. James Church in the background.

Photo Courtesy: Mark Balladares

Copyright: All photos are mine unless otherwise stated.


  1. I love traveling and the church looks nice. :) Hope you can visit my blog. Let me know what you think about it and if you wanna follow each other.

    MY BLOG: Sammie The Stargirl

  2. I've been there too! Such a lovely place! My sister is an archi student too, it's her 3rd year on the course now, how about you? I wish you all the success in the future architect!

    Hope you can visit my blog too and tell me what you think about my recent post. Let me know if you wanna follow each other! All the love. x

    Kept and Found on Midnight Blues




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This blog is original. Contents and photos in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated. If you have any concerns feel free to contact me at jaizajumawan@gmail.com. I hope you enjoyed your stay here ☺ Thanks and have fun !


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