Book Review: "Visita Iglesia Bohol"

IJsselstein, Thursday, 21 December 2006 16:10:37

Book Review of Visita Iglesia Bohol: A Guide to Historic Churches, by Regalado Trota Josť. Published by: Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2001, 123 pages, with numerous black and white illustrations.
Front Cover.

Most visitors to Bohol visit maybe one or two of its Historic churches, and then those of Baclayon and Loboc are naturally first on the list, but Bohol has much more to offer. When you're seriously interested in the Churches of Bohol, or just want to visit some of its churches a bit more well-informed, the book Visita Iglesia Bohol is a surprisingly well informed guide book, in a small handy size.

The author, Regalado Trota Josť is a well known art historian, and must have spend a long time in his thorough research of the churches in every municipality of Bohol: although his description is sometimes just a few lines, it is because the church is of recent construction and doesn't warrant more than that, but when there is something meaningful and interesting to note about a church, it is certainly in this book, and the most important churches have about eight pages each.

The work starts with a general introduction of church architecture in Bohol and the history of church building in Bohol, which took a start very soon after the arrival of the first Spanish friars on the island. After that comes a small map of the island, and a number of proposed itineraries, that will help you plan your trip along the churches of Bohol. The book then continues with a detailed description of the church of every municipality in alphabetical order. The discussion of each church is organized as a short walk: after a short historic introduction, the interior and then exterior of the building are described, optionally followed by a discussion of related buildings in the vicinity of the church, such as a convento, town hall or presidencia, and bell-towers and watchtowers that are common in the Spanish standard plan for a town. The book is completed with a list of patron saints of Bohol, a very helpful glossary and extensive bibliography.

The work is illustrated with a large number of black and white pictures, both of the entire buildings and of numerous interesting details that would otherwise easily escape the attention of the casual visitor.

In summary, this book is a very welcome addition to the few books currently available on Bohol, and well worth buying even if you visit just one of the churches of Bohol.

The book isn't available from the department stores in Tagbilaran, not even the National Book Store in Island City Mall, so your only recourse is to order a copy from the NCCA in Manila.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts
633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, 1002 Manila
Tel. 527-2192 to 98; Fax 527-2191 and 94
E-mail: info@ncca.gov.ph; Website: www.ncca.gov.ph.

Go to their publications page and scroll down for this book. The price is PHP 250. Please read the order information at the bottom of their page.

Jeroen Hellingman