Immaculate Conception Church, Duero


The Recollects administered the parish until 1898, returning in 1902 and finally leaving in 1937. Construction of the church began under the first Recollect pastor Fray Lorenzo Hernandez (1863–70) who collected wood necessary for construction. The church was completed in 1874 and the convento around the same era during the term of Fray Francisco Castellano (1871–86). The church’s cogon roof was replaced with zinc sheets in the late 19th century. The church and adjoining convento were the only structures saved from destruction when American troops set the town on fire in October 1901.

The three-storey bell towers can be reached by crossing over a bridge from the choir loft.

Through all this time the art of building in wood was not lost, however. Duero church (1864-1874) is almost pure wood, from its floorbeams (batangas) to the boards (tablas) to its rafters (salagunting). It is a magnificent example of how the early wooden churches must have been built. Many others like it were constructed throughout the 19th and early 20th century, but almost all have been rebuilt in stone or concrete.