CITY OF MALOLOS–The marker of the 442 year old Malolos Cathedral in this Bulacan capital that served as the Malacañang during the First Philippine Republic in 1899 was unveiled on Monday by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines coinciding with its 60 years declaration anniversary celebration.
NHCP Chair Rene Escalante, City of Malolos Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian, Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo and Bulacan Provincial Administrator Antonina Constantino and Bulacan Provincial History and Tourism Officer Eliseo Dela Cruz led the unveiling of the “Malolos Cathdedral” on Monday, 60 years after the Roman Catholic hierarchy declared the church as Malolos Cathedral on March 11, 1962 and also the 60 years anniversary of the Malolos Diocese.
An existing NHCP marker “First Philippine Republic” installed decades ago only recognized the place as a convent where President Emilio Aguinaldo held office during the First Philippine Republic September 10, 1898-March 29, 1899 and did not recognized the other important accounts and events it played in our country’s history.
Fr. Ray Arvin Jimenez, Malolos Diocese Archivist said it is in the Malolos Cathedral, a plain and simple church then where the 20 Women of Malolos came and made appeal before Gov. Gen. Valeriano Weyler to allow them to study the Spanish language on Dec. 12, 1888. The new marker now inscribed this important historical moment.
The simple church then, made of nipa hut and bamboo and built by Augustinians as the Parish of Malolos with Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Concepcion as the patron saint on June 11, 1580 is now 442 year old.
The church was then built with stones together with a convent in 1601-1744. It was destroyed by fire and earthquake respectively in 1813 and 1816 and its convent particularly was restored and fixed in 1819 under Fr. Melchor Fernandez, OSA.
A strong earthquake in June 3, 1863 destroyed the church anew. It was again re-strengthened and fixed. In March 31, 1899, Filipino soldiers burnt it down and later became the headquarters of Gen. Arthur MacArthur when they besieged Malolos.
The church was then later declared as Basilica Minore during Pope John Paul III in 1999.
In March 15, 2001, NHCP declared Malolos Cathedral Basilica Minore as Part of the National Historical Mark of Malolos.
Jimenez told NEWS CORE the marker for the Malolos Cathedral took long to be installed because of the required researches to determine all the vital and historical roles the church played in our history.
Dela Cruz said Malolos Cathedral is among the top religious tourist destinations of Bulacan.