San Guillermo Church in Gua Gua, Bacolor

Only about 20 km south of Angeles City in the province of Pampanga is a small village called Bacolor. The church, called San Guillermo, was severely affected by the Pinatubo eruption in 1991, along with the village. A flood of ash up to 5 meters high covered the village.
There is not much to see of it today when you drive through the area. Only when you drive through the iron archway to the parking lot of the San Guillermo church, some things seem to be a bit strange.

There is this bell tower, which somehow does not have the height that one is used to from the old Spanish churches in the country.
There are these stairs that you have to go down to the entrance of the church (there are only two steps, but normally you rather go up a staircase to the entrance of a church).
There are these outbuildings that have a very low gutter, and there are these wall scribbles outside the back sanctuary that are at a very unusual height.
Afer the eruption from bird´s eye viewOnce inside the church, it becomes a little clearer where this feeling that something is strange here comes from. In the main hall of the church, one is particularly struck by the arches in the side walls, which indicate that they are the closing arches of former windows. While the gables of these arches were perhaps once at a height of four meters, today they rise barely one meter above the level of the church floor. So they didn’t bother to remove the debris. This is probably due to the fact that it took more than six years before they started to recolonize this flooded area. By then, the deposits in the church interior must have been as hard as cement.
The elevation of the floor becomes properly visible in the side wing, which leads away to the right in about the first quarter of the church.
Passages that were once large doors lead to rooms that house a small chapel, a museum and the archives. If you follow this 20 meter long side wing to the end and turn left after its exit, you will reach the backyard of the church. If you take a closer look at the outer walls of the church, you will notice that even at a height of more than 4 meters from the current ground level, people have immortalized themselves. Most of these wall scribbles date back to 1998, if one believes the information.
In the cemetery on the southwest side of the church, a small mausoleum also indicates that those who died before 1991 were given a somewhat deeper final resting place than was originally intended by the buriers. Completely overgrown and surrounded by water in which reeds and toads live, this mausoleum is located in the middle of the cemetery.


The following pictures have been taken with our panoramic camera and thus offer the possibility to view the sceneries as if you were there in person. Click on the image and the panoramic photo will open in an own browser tab, where you can drag it back and forth, up and down and zoom in.

There is also a drone video of this destination – San Guillermo Video

San Guillermo church from 120 m Altitude

The church from the bird's eye view over the cemetery Mount Arayat in the background

San Guillermo entrance

The church's entrance
The exterior of the church in the entrance area

San Guillermo Church, inside

Interior area
In front of the altar
Pay attention to the arches on the side walls (former windows).

San Guillermo Church, bell tower

Bell tower from inside
Bell tower with its permanent inhabitants (bats)

San Guillermo Church, museum

The museum
The museum of the church with interesting objects

San Guillermo Church, archive

The archive
The archive with photos from after the outbreak

San Guillermo Church, backyard

outside, north sided
Northern exterior
Also good to see here, the still unexcavated windows.

San Guillermo Church, wishing well

wishing well area
Also in the northern area, the wishing well
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