Saint John the Baptist Parish Church is a Roman Catholic Church in Tabaco City, Albay. It was built in 1864 by Fr. Fermin Llorente, a former engineer and soldier turned priest. The structure was finished in 1879, replacing the old stone church in Brgy. Cormidal, which was built in 1723 and was reportedly destroyed in the 1814 Mt. Mayon eruption.
The church design reflects its builder’s engineering and military background. A fine example of the so-called Earthquake Baroque, its fortress-like structure emphasizes horizontal rather than vertical dimensions.
The bell tower stands apart from the main church building, the only one of its kind in Albay during that period. It was originally built with a tower clock and also served as baluarte (watchtower) for defense against raiders from the sea.
The church is perhaps best known for the mason’s marks on its volcanic stone blocks, a rare feature in Philippine-Spanish architecture. Mason’s marks were commonly used in the Medieval Period to identify a particular mason’s work or aid in the correct installation of the blocks. You can still see these mark if you look closely at the church building, especially its outer wall. For this reason, St. John the Baptist Church was declared in 2012 as a National Cultural Treasure, the country’s highest designation for a cultural property.
In celebration of the month of May as National Heritage Month, the Provincial Government of Albay launches Albay Heritage Month, a virtual program highlighting the significant heritage properties that have given Albay and the Albayanos their unique identity.
One heritage property will be featured on social media daily. Every Albayano is enjoined to participate in the celebration by taking efforts to learn, appreciate, and promote their heritage.