On this day, I drove me Kuya, my two sisters and my nephew for lunch at Apag Marangle in Bacolor, Pampanga.

After our lunch, my brother suggested that we drop by Betis Church, hailed as the “Sistine Chapel of The Philippines.” I personally hadn’t heard much about the church before. I called Kapampangan friend of mine and asked for directions. Lucky for me, Betis Church is found in Google Maps.

View Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga in a larger map

The drive was a short 10 minutes from Apag Marangle. En route, my American-born nephew famously asked “who’s Betty?” We had to explain that Betis is a small town in Guagua, Pampanga.

We got to the church, formally known as St. James The Apostle Church. “Parish Church of Santiago Apostol (Betis, Pampanga). Built in the 18th century by the Augustinians, with ceiling paintings from the early 20th century, the church boasts of the most beautiful retablo in Pampanga that is arguably also the best in Central Luzon. The wooden floor, though not so old, is well-maintained and adds to the ambience. Original wooden furnishings are still in the sacristy and in the convento.” (reference from WikiMapia)

It was mid afternoon on a Sunday, so the main church doors were closed at the time. We entered via the museum doors to the left of the entrance.

As you can see from the exterior of the church, it’s a typical enough church and didn’t strike me as anything fancy.  However, as one enters the church itself… interiors are definitely majestic. I was so pleasantly surprised that this place even existed in the Philippines.

Here is a view of the ceiling.

A view from directly below one of the ceiling paintings.

The altar….

The church dome

While we were there, they opened up the church doors revealing quite an ornate carving.

There is a nice little musem which explains the church, the artwork, the artists, etc.

It’s a nice visit and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to tour Pampanga.

For more information, there are several articles on the net on Betis Church. Here is a great article in Loqal.ph (http://loqal.ph/travel-and-outdoors/2010/03/09/betis-church-the-philippines-sistine-chapel/)