The Chapel of Cartwheels is surely Manapla’s pride. Built during the hacienda days of the 60’s, the Chapel of Cartwheels in Hacienda Rosalia in the town of Manapla continues to attract tourists in the province of Negros Occidental.
The small church is made from farm implements such as cartwheels, plows, mortar and pestle, margaha sand and broken pieces of glass in different colors. A huge centuries-old boulder serves as the altar while religious images are carved out of wood. It was patterned like a “salakot” or a traditional wide-brimmed hat and can be found inside the farm owned by the Gaston family.
Msgr. Gaston thought of using cartwheels in building the chapel because he knew that the local people could easily relate to this simple object which is widely used in the farms where they worked. He also explained that the cartwheel symbolizes the Holy Trinity with the center of the wheel as God the Father, the spokes surrounding it as Jesus Christ who leads the people towards God, and the outside ring as the Holy Spirit who ensures that the people will not get lost on their way towards the center.
Masses are still being held in the chapel that is attended by the families of farm workers in the hacienda. The chapel is open to guests and tourists who visit the town.
The Chapel of Cartwheels is part of the Gaston Compound. Considered as one of Manapla’s tourist destinations, it is also a popular venue for weddings. If you happen to visit, make sure to drop by the Gaston Mansion and inside the compound you can also see lush green gardens, a Victorian fountain and a pond. A time-worn shoe house is also present before as a playground.
How to Get There
Manapla is 44.7 kilometers from Bacolod. Going to Manapla is approximately 55 minutes drive from Bacolod City by private car and at around over an hour by public utility vehicles (bus or double-tires) that take off from Bacolod North Terminal. Air conditioned and non-air-conditioned taxis, vans and buses for hire are available from Bacolod.
From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (Php2500++, round trip, 45 minutes). From Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can take a shuttle (Php75-100 per head), or a cab and ask to be dropped off at the nearest bus station for Bacolod-Manapla.
(photos courtesy of Dustin Mijares and La Salle Yearbook; with reports from Marty Go, ABS-CBN News Bacolod)