San Isidro Labrador Parish Church

Lazi started out as a visita that was regularly visited by priests based in the parish of Siquijor.

Augustinian Recollects, who administered the island beginning in 1794, would come to Lazi and hold masses in a makeshift structure of nipa and bamboo that served as chapel.

When its population reached over 7,000 in 1857, Lazi was created as the San Isidro Labrador Parish and Fr. Victor Garcia assigned as its priest.

The first church was erected in 1858 but the current stone structure that still stands today was made possible through the efforts of parish priest Fr. Toribio Sanchez who began his term in 1882. It was thanks to him that Lazi has the best church and convent in the island.

Grand church

Records said the Lazi Church was completed in 1884, a record time of a few years after Fr. Sanchez became parish priest. He started work on the church as soon as he took over and was able to immediately build the nave, part of the transept on the side of the “Epistola”, and the bell tower.

Historian Fr. Pedro Galende described the Lazi Church as “grandly conceived” in a book published in 2007.

He only had praises for the church’s wooden floorwork with its herringbone pattern, calling it “magnificent” and “among the best in the country.”

Cultural treasure

“The barn-like facade is a study in simplicity. The only references to elaboration are fluted rectangular pilasters that stand out in low relief, plain cornices that run through the wall expanse, and the saint’s niche flanked by small circular columns above the arched main portal,” he wrote in his book “Philippine church facades” to describe the San Isidro Labrador Parish Church.

While most of the church walls were fashioned from cut coral blocks, the triangular pediment was created using wood. The three-tiered belfry has a rectangular base while the upper layers are octagonal, featuring arched windows on each side. A cross sits atop its domed roof.

In 1972, the church was declared a “national cultural treasure.”


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