Chapel of Cartwheels: A Unique House of Worship
, Negros Occidental,
Belle Piccio | Apr 20, 2016
If you’re looking for a unique and not the usual kind of chapel, then you must visit the Municipality of Manapla.
Manapla is located at the northeast side of Negros Island. It is only about 45-kilometers away or approximately 45 minutes to 1-hour drive from Bacolod City.
Nestled in the town known for its delicious and palatable special puto (rice cake), you’ll find The Chapel of Cartwheels inside the Gaston Compound built during the prosperous years of Hacienda Santa Rosalia in 1960s.
The Chapel of Cartwheels has become one of the tourist attractions of Manapla. A very popular site for intimate weddings and christenings, regular masses are also being held in the chapel.
Msgr. Guillermo “Gigi” Gaston, a secular priest and the current resident-owner of the property, was the one who designed the chapel. As a servant of the church, it was his way of bringing Christianity close to the people working and living in their family hacienda.
The chapel was made of farming tools and equipment. It was shaped like a “salakot” and its walls are made of several pieces of cartwheels, thus, the name of the chapel. Msgr. Gaston used cartwheels as the main feature of the chapel since it is commonly used in farms and so that the locals could easily relate to it.
Inside the chapel, you’ll find mortars and pestles used as a holy water receptacle and candle holders. You’ll also find a huge-boulder, that’s already centuries-old, made into an altar. The benches were made of hardwood which was prepared by the families who regularly attends the mass.
The chapel was decorated with margaha sands, plows and carved wooden religious images. The windows were made of different colors of glass that was broken and mixed. The church bell was a salvaged mortar shell.
Even our Kapamilya star, Angelica Panganiban, posted that it’s the “Best Chapel in the Philippines.”
The chapel is open to the public who visit the town.
A few meters away from the chapel is a white mansion, the ancestral house of the Gaston Family. The Gaston Mansion was built in the 1930s as the residence of Jose Gaston, his wife Consuelo Ascona-Gaston and their 8 children. If you get lucky, you can check the property. The mansion has also gained popularity as the house in Director Peque Gallaga’s “Oro, Plata, Mata” movie in 1982.
How to Get There
From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (Php2500++, round trip, 45 minutes). From Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can take a shuttle or a cab and ask to be dropped off at Bacolod North Terminal.
Manapla is about an hour drive from Bacolod City by private car and over an hour by public utility vehicles (bus or double-tires). From the Bacolod North Terminal, you can ride a bus plying to the north or bound to Manapla. Air conditioned and non-air-conditioned taxis, vans and buses for hire are available from Bacolod.
Read More of Manapla, Neg. Occ.
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