Beautiful, naïve paintings of religious scenes by Ray Francia (made in 1932) on the ceiling of the nave of the Santa Monica Parish Church of Alburquerque on Bohol island (the Philippines). The construction of the present church with three aisles, designated as National Historical Landmark, commenced in 1896. The upper portions of the walls and the tower over the facade were completed only in the 1920s-1930s.
The church was built by the Augustinian Recollects, a mendicant Catholic religious order of friars and nuns split off in Spain in the 15th century from the Augustinian order of hermit friars. They devoted this church to Saint Monica, a 4th century Christian saint and the mother of Saint Augustine. Interestingly, she is considered as the patron of victims of adultery as well as disappointing children.
In 1898, in the year when Spain lost the Spanish-American war and ceded the Philippines to the US, the church was transferred to the secular clergy. In the same year, the Philippines declared its independence and became the first constitutional republic in Asia. Alas, the US did not accept this and proclaimed war. From 1901 until 1946, the Philippines were then under American rule. Filipino culture still shows an interesting mix of Spanish and American elements.
The Alburquerque church was one of the few churches on Bohol which survived the earthquake of October 2013, which had a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale. This natural disaster caused more than 200 deaths and left around 1,000 people injured. In all, more than 73,000 structures were damaged, of which more than 14,500 were totally destroyed. .
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