A towering edifice made of black coral stones, the church of St. James Parish in Bolinao also served as a Fortress against the English, Japanese and American Pirates. Today those pirates are no more, but the old church provide a glimpse of the colorful history of the town. Perhaps that’s the reason, Saint James The Great Parish is an integral part of Bolinao.

Facade of The Saint James The Great Parish in Bolinao undergoing restoration
Facade of The Saint James The Great Parish in Bolinao undergoing restoration

Saint James The Great Parish in Bolinao

Also locally known as Bolinao Church, it traces its history way back to 400 years. The church was 75 feet tall or approximately 23 meters high – almost the same height of an eight-storey building. This wonderful man-made structure has stood the test of time, surviving major disasters. It suffered a heavy damage by Typhoon Emong, in 2009. Additionally, there is a history of earthquake in 1788 and accidental burn in 1819.


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Image of Jesus Christ
Image of Jesus Christ

Interestingly, it is said to have acted as a hiding place for pirates; of various nationalities. Though the typhoon has done major damage to the roof, it is still worth a watch for its majestic façade. It is said to have an illusionist view. The locals believe it to be miraculous because of the silhouette of Jesus Christ that shows in the sideways photos. Despite the damage, you could still find the retablos and the belfry intact.

Image of the Black Nazarene
Image of the Black Nazarene

How to reach the majestic town of Bolinao

Bolinao is located in the Pangasinan Province in Northern Philippines. It is known for its sunny white sand beaches, Cape Bolinao and other natural wonders.

It is a 5 to 6 hours’ drive from Manila. There are buses running day and night between Manila to Bolinao. These buses are not very frequent though. An alternate route is to take a bus from Manila to Alaminos city, which run every hour. From there it’s around a 1 hour drive from van. Once you’ve reached Bolinao, you’ll easily find tricycles to drop you to your resort or tourist spots.

Inside Bolinao Church
Inside Bolinao Church

Visit Bolinao for the work of art Parish and as an incentive, enjoy the deep Sea, the white sand and the local food!

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