Established on June 19, 1986, the San Bartolome Parish started out as a small chapel along the Pres. Quirino Highway, in Novaliches. But as the population in the area grew, the small chapel was no longer able to contain the many parishioners.
The parish is located in Barangay San Bartolome, whose selection of the name and patron saint is a local myth. According to some old residents, a statuette of the Apostle Bartholomew appeared embedded inside a Dapdap tree (Erythrina variegate or Indian Coral Tree), in the yard of a certain Urbano Roque.
Priests from all over the area and far-off provinces tried to pry the image from the tree. It was only a priest from San Bartolome de Malabon who was able to pry the statue from the tree, and thus Saint Bartholomew became the patron saint of the barangay.
In 2007 the new San Bartolome Parish was inaugurated along the nearby Holy Cross Road, and it was large enough to accommodate the parishioners of the nearby communities, as well as visitors to the nearby Holy Cross Memorial Park and Bagbag Cemetery.
Designed by Arch. Manuel T. Mañosa Jr. and Arch. Susan S. Castillo, the church is a modernist masterpiece, with the typical baroque pieces, such as the altarpieces at the nave and transept.
Arch. Manuel Tronqued Mañosa Jr. (1927 to 2016) is an architect and environmental planner, from the famous Mañosa brothers. Graduating with distinction from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Architecture and Fine Arts (CAFA), Manuel would later top the architectural board licensing exam, in 1950. Later on, Manuel and his brothers, Francisco (born 1931) and Jose, joined heads in 1954, to form the MAÑOSA BROTHERS Architects & Planners. Their combine efforts proved to be a highly successful enterprise, with such prominent projects such as the San Miguel Corp Head Office. However, between 1976-1977, the brothers decided to form their own companies and focus on their individual interests and strengths, and Manuel formed the Planning Resources and Operations Systems, Inc. (PROS). With his company PROS, Manuel designed many prominent structures; such as the Colegio San Agustín in Makati, the Mactan International Airport Development Project, the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project, the Clark and John Hay Conversion Plan, the Boracay Master Development Plan, and the Urban Development of Intramuros in Manila. While in practice, Mañosa’s work led him to lead many presitigous organizations throughout the Philippines; such as President of the Philippine Institute of Architects in 1969-1971, President of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) in 1983-1984, President of the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners in 1976-1977, and Chancellor of the College of Fellows of the Philippine Institute of Architects and the UAP. During his career, Mañosa garnered many honors and distinctions; such as the 1955 Award of Merit during the UST Silver Jubilee Awards, the 1976 Outstanding Thomasian for Excellence in Design by the UST CAFA, the 1978 Patnubay ng Sining and Kalinangan Awards of the City Government of Manila, the 1981 Outstanding Architect of the Year by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), the 1983 Most Outstanding Thomasian Alumni by the UST Alumni Association, the 1988 Makatao Award by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), the 1991 Pearl Service Award of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, and the 1995 Likha Award and Gold Medal of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP).
Arch. Susan S. Castillo is architect who specializes in ecclesiastical architecture. Castillo was once part of the GF & Partners, before branching out on her own. Among her noted designs are the 1995 expansions of the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in Makati City, the 2011 St. Ferdinand de Castille Church in the province of Iligan, the 2013 Santisima Trinidad Chapel on the island of Ilin in Mindoro, and the 2016 Carmel of the Holy Spirit of Looc in the province of Zambales. And for her work on the 1996 St. James Cathedral in Alabang, Castillo received Design Award for Excellence in Architecture from the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP).
The parish celebrated its patron, the Apostle Saint Bartholomew, whose feast day is on August 24. All around the church, there are stained glass images of Saint Bartholomew and Our Lady of Mercy, which pertains to the patron saint of Novaliches. One of the most striking images, in the stained glass windows, is the martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, where he is flayed alive in Armenia.
Another interesting feature of the San Bartolome Parish is its Stations of the Cross, which are 14 large painted reproductions of famous works on the Passion of the Christ. These 14 paintings were commission to a certain Jessie C. Lores, in 2003, while the church was still being constructed. It can be assumed that Mr. Lores was a fine arts student, who lived nearby. Mr. Lores drew inspiration from several not so known artworks, and used these for his compositions. In the case of the First Station of the Cross: The Last Supper; Mr. Lores took aspects of the the apostles poses and facial expressions from a 15th century Portuguese painting, and used them for his painting.
For the Second Station of the Cross: The Agony at the Garden of Gethsemane, Mr. Lores copied a famous 1890 prayer card painting, by the German painter Johann Michael Ferdinand Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911), and flipped the image to face in the other direction.
For the Third Station of the Cross: Jesus is Condemned to Death; Mr. Lores copied elements of the Stations of the Cross painting series, by the Italian artist Giuseppe Vicentini (born 1895, death unknown). In fact, Mr. Lores would continue to use other works of Vicentini in nine more paintings, where he would drop much of the elements of the original work to simplify his own painting.
As for the Fourth Station of the Cross: Jesus is Crowned with Thorns; I have yet to pin-point Mr. Lores’ inspiration.
With the fifth to seventh Stations of the Cross, Mr. Lores continued to copy Giuseppe Vicentini’s works, with subtle manipulations. However, Mr. Lores switched the arrangements of the original series, to fit his version of the Stations of the Cross. As in the Fifth Station of the Cross: Jesus carries his Cross to Golgotha; Mr. Lores used Vicentini’s “Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his Cross“.
In the sixth Station of the Cross, Vicentini’s “Jesus falls for the Second Time” is just labeled as a generic “Jesus falls with His Cross“.
And in the Seventh Station of the Cross: Simon of Cyrene aids Jesus in carrying His Cross; the image is taken from Vicentini’s “Jesus falls for the First Time“.
In the Eighth Station of the Cross: Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus; Mr. Lores incorporates elements of Vicentini’s “Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus” (6th Station), “Jesus consoles his Mother” (7th Station), and “Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross” (5th Station).
The Ninth Station of the Cross: Jesus is nailed to the Cross is almost an exact copy of Vicentini’s eleventh station of the same title.
In the Tenth Station: The Repentant Thief; Mr. Lores takes a cropped portion of the American illustrator Joseph Harry Anderson‘s painting “The Crucifixion“, which was rendered in the 1960s.
In the Eleventh Station of the Cross: Jesus speaks to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John; Mr. Lores combines elements of Giuseppe Vicentini’s “Jesus dies on the Cross” (twelfth station) and Joseph Harry Anderson’s “The Crucifixion“.
The Twelfth Station of the Cross: Jesus dies on the Cross and the Thirteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the Tomb are highly edited versions of Vicentini’s twelfth and fourteenth stations with the same titles.
And finally, Mr. Lores’ Fourteenth Station of the Cross: Christ rises from His Tomb is taken from an 1950s painting by an unknown painter.
Although a relatively new edifice in Novaliches, the San Bartolome Parish is fast becoming an important religious and social site for the people in the area. Just a few hundred meters from its original site, the parish has moved away from the maddening traffic of the Quirino Highway, and has become a quite respite for parishioners and visitors alike.