Parish Church of San Isidro Labrador of San Fernando, Cebu

Official Name: Parish Church of San Isidro Labrador of San Fernando, Cebu[1]

Classification Status: Classified Historic Structures (covering all Colonial Churches and other Houses of Worship, per NHCP Res. No. 3, s. 1991)[1]

Town or City: San Fernando

San Isidro Labrador Church is a colonial church located in San Fernando, a genial town south of Cebu City. This Roman Catholic parish is also called St. Isidore the Laborer Church or simply San Fernando Church.[2]

In the past, San Fernando was once part of Naga and Carcar. It gained independence by the efforts of Juan Diyong whose feats are steeped in myths as well as perseverance against daunting odds. His deeds are memorialized in the municipality’s seal. It is said that the town’s name was christened after Fernando Sanchez, a parish priest who was popular among the constituents and who was named after a saint.

On January 9, 1858, San Isidro Labrador Parish was established.

After the first church in San Fernando was built in Pitalo, it was decided a new church was to be built from the Neo-Gothic design by Domingo de Escondrillas submitted in 1870, replacing an older place of worship made of bamboo and nipa. Its location was on a donated land at the marketplace and near the cemetery, about which would eventually rise the town center. Its construction, including the belfry, was completed in 1886 and survived the Second World War largely unscathed.[2]

The arched entrance of the church is fluted and flanked by blind, recessed arches. The white faint outlines of their pointed spires are embedded onto the stonewall frontispiece. Above the entrance is a circular relief representing the Divine Trinity (a triquetra enclosed in a triangle, each side of which is a white winged angel—all of which circumscribed by decorative knots), and on the pediment above is the Augustinian emblem.

On either side of the entrance are open arches and the pilasters on the facade terminate in spires, above which on the roof of the church are twin bell towers made of cement that are said to be a later addition. On the facade’s on both gospel and epistle sides are rose window. The cornices are richly decorated.[2]