The Saint John the Baptist Parish Church (Iglesia Parroquial de San Juan Bautista), commonly known as Tabaco Church in Tabaco City is one of the most stately religious structures in the province of Albay. According to the Estado Geografico Estadistico Historico written in 1805 by Father De Huerta, the recorded history of the city began in 1587 through the missionary work of the Franciscan Fathers. A church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint, was first built in Tabaco in 1616 by Fr. Pedro De Alcareso. The construction of the present church started in 1864 and was completed in 1879. The Tabaco Church is unique among Philippine churches because the stones used to build the church bears the distinct marks of the Masons.
Tabaco Church is built from unplastered blocks of dark volcanic tuff, giving it an almost primitive look. A triangular pediment caps a single level, flanked by pointed finials. The facade is divided into vertical bays by pilasters that taper off to the pediment. Tall rectangular windows grace the bays, adjacent to the main portal. These depict religious scenes in stained glass. The main portal is arched and plain, presenting a simple wooden doorway.
A separate bell tower rises to the left of the church, and tapers widely to a domed roof. Arched windows peer out in all directions on the upper levels. Compared to the simple church, the bell tower is noticably more decorative, bedecked with balustrades at every level and featuring embossed with carvings on the walls.
Source: National Historical Museum