Saint Gabriel Archangel Parish of Santander

Official Name: Saint Gabriel Archangel Parish of Santander[1]

Classification Status: Cultural Heritage Property of Santander[1]

Town or City: Santander

Legislation: Ordinance No. 095 Series of 20[1]

St. Gabriel the Archangel Church is an old Roman Catholic Church in Santander, a southern town in the province of Cebu. The only church in Cebu that is dedicated to the patronage of St. Gabriel, it is also called Santander Church.[2]

Santander Church became a parish in 1898, before that it was part of the parish of Oslob. In historic times, the area was called Tañon or Tañong after the sea located in between the islands of Negros and Cebu. It became a town during the time of the American colonization. The original entrance of the church faced the seafront but later was changed that its rear is turned towards the sea and the people can access the church’s nave from the street in the other side.[2]

The entrance of the church is a pointed arch made of stained glass. It depicts the holy figures of Jesus and Mary on the door, while its tympanum above portrays the patron. Flanking the entrance door are arch windows, above which are tympanums of stained glass. The entire facade is divided vertically by pilasters of interestingly detailed ribbings along their surface, the innermost two rise from the ground up to the pediment and the belfry where they are topped with pinnacles designed in the likeness of the belfry. In the upper register of the facade below the cornice and their capitals is a decorative row of interlocking pointed arches coated in white.

The pediment is curvilinear and visually arresting. At its center is a rose window of rosette ridges flanked by two recessed pointed arches. On either sides the pediment flares into sinusoidal outline and decorated with rays emanating from one side. Lastly, the belfry is quadrangular and topped with red pyramidal roof. On each of the four sides are three pointed arches with balustrade (the middle one larger than the other two) and gable dormer whose pediments are pierced with a rose window. The ridges of the roof feature decorative spikes.[2]