Liliw, Laguna Church of St. John the Baptist

The main Catholic Church in Liliw, Laguna is the Parish of St. John the Baptist which is famous for its striking façade made of red bricks and adobe.  The church in Liliw was established by the Franciscan Friars in 1605 after separation from the parish of Nagcarlan.  

The first church was built out of timber and was replaced by a stronger stone church in 1646.  It was partially destroyed during the 1880 earthquake which struck Luzon.  The church was rebuilt in 1885 but was partially destroyed by a fire in 1898.

Liliw church facade

The most notable feature of Liliw church is its colored red façade made of bricks and huge wooden door entrance. On top of the main entrance door is a sculptured image of the scenes in Jesus’ baptism.  There are also stained glass images along the columns.

A sculpture of Jesus’ baptism at the entrance of Liliw church

Liliw church has 3 altars or retablos in golden leaf finishing.  The main altar or the retablo mayor at the center contains a 4-level wall with 13 small arches that houses statues of various saints.  The tabernacle is located at the lowest level.

The 3 retablos at Liliw church

The 2 minor altars or retablos are located on the sides of the retablo mayor and has 4 arches that houses images of saints.  The two smaller retablos were formerly dedicated to the second patron saints of Liliw who are San Antonio de Padua and San Buenaventura.

Inside Liliw church

Inside the church on the left side is the Chapel of San Buenaventura with a first class relic of the saint.  On the right ride is the adoration chapel, which used to be the baptistry.

The adoration chapel at Liliw church

Also very notable in Liliw church is its patio called Patio de Sagrada Familia.  The church patio is adorned with images of saints representing the patron saints of every barangay in the municipality.  At the center is the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The patio at Liliw church

Liliw Church is also famous because of the recorded weeping statue of San Buenaventura on December 16, 1664.  According to historical accounts, the image of St. Buenaventure in Liliw church began weeping and sweating blood in the presence of its parish priest and 120 people witnessed it.  Since then, local people developed devotion to St. Buenaventure and numerous favors and other miracles have been attributed to him.

Image of San Buenaventura de Liliw

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