St. Anne’s Church, more popularly known as Molo Church, is one of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines. It was declared a national landmark by the National Historical Institue in 1992.
The church is of Gothic Renaissance architecture and is the only Gothic church in the country outside of Manila, according to an article in The News Today published last July 24, 2007.
The newspaper wrote that the church was was constructed in 1831 under Fray Pablo Montaño and further expanded and finished by Fray Agapito Buenaflor in 1888 under the supervision of Don Jose Manuel Locsin.
The church is dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has 16 larger-than-life images of female saints arranged in two rows. These female saints are Sta. Marcela, Apolonia, Genoveva, Isabel, Felicia, Ines, Monica, Magdalena, Juliana, Lucia, Rosa de Lima, Teresa, Clara, Cecilia, Margarita and Marta.
On August 4, 1886, national hero Jose Rizal dropped at Molo on his way back to Manila from exile at Dapitan in Mindanao. He went to see his friend, Raymundo Melliza who showed him the church.
In his diary, Rizal wrote, “We went to Molo to see the church painted by a lad who has left the locality. The church is pretty (iglesia bonita) outside with paintings inside mostly copies of Biblical scenes by Gustave Dore.”
During World War II, it served as evacuation center under parish priest Msgr. Manuel Alba.
One of the church’s original towers was destroyed on March 18, 1945. It was used as a machine gun nest by Japanese forces and was shelled by the Americans.