Siquijor - A Visit to the Lazi Convent - Negros Oriental - Philippines

Siquijor is an island province in the Visayas that has a lot to offer its tourists in terms of attractive sights worth visiting. Among these attractions, the St. Isidore Labradore Church and Convent in Lazi is one of the most popular.

A trip to the St. Isidore Labradore Church as well as the Lazi Convent provides tourists with an excellent opportunity to walk down memory lane when Siquijor was still a symbol of ancient traditions and peacefulness. At present, criminality here is a rare occurrence particularly in large portions of the rural areas.

Lazi Town in Siquijor

The town of Lazi is located fifteen kilometers from San Juan. It is the home of the popular St. Isidore Labradore Church and Convent. Known as the largest Convent in the Asian region, the structure is situated at the southern edge of Siquijor surrounded by acacia trees. The planning and construction of this religious edifice was started by the Augustinian Recollects in the year 1857 and was finalized by Filipino artisans twenty seven years later. The convent as well as the church was listed as a National Historical Shrine during the 70s.

Upon making your way to the huge doors of the church, you will be amazed by the musty smell greeting you, a reminder of its ancient beauty. Massive planks built from narra will take you to a loft and towards the age old belfry and its ancient bells. Even the layout of the altar will captivate you with its extraordinary look. Hand sculptured images of the Station of the Cross, its tall and complicated ceiling vaults, wooden floors with herringbone structure, and period pulpits gives the church a holy and ancient ambiance.

The convent is a towering U shaped two storey building with a dimension of 50 x 50 meters, making it one of the biggest structures during that time. It was used by friars for rest and recreational purposes. Constructed as a usual stone house, its top floor was constructed using thick layers of stone and the second floor from hard wooden studs and panels. The convent was constructed in 1887 and was completed four years after.

The proposal to construct the church and convent was attributed to Fray Toribio Sanchez, who spearheaded the construction of the new convent in 1887 by just utilizing coral blocks and wood. It was believed that prior to the building of the St. Isidore Church and Convent in Siquijor, there was a church and convent already standing but the conditions of the old structure were starting to deteriorate hence construction of a new structure was initiated. Aside from the convent and church, friars in Siquijor also spearheaded other projects such as the Casa Real, schools, irrigation systems, and bridges.

So when visiting the province of Siquijor, a trip to St. Isidore Labradore Church and Convent is worth adding to your itinerary.