IGLESIAS DE BOHOL: A WebQuest for Third Year High School (Mathematics)
Authored by A. Valenzona and P. Arinto
This is a call from the Chairman of the Committee on Church Heritage for all
cultural church workers to participate in the preservation and promotion of the
Spanish colonial churches in Bohol through a unique research and documentation
Aside from being places of worship, the Spanish colonial churches in Bohol are a
witness to an important period in the history of the Philippines in general and
Bohol province in particular. They embody the artistry of our forefathers and
foremothers and their courage and ability to endure the pain and hardship of
In addition to the socio-cultural aspects of these churches, the Chairman of the
Committee on Church Heritage is interested in the mathematical aspects of each
church—its measurements/ dimensions and the geometric figures that are
illustrated therein. The Chairman, who is also a mathematician, feels that
describing the churches in this way will help people see the connection between
mathematics on the one hand and arts and culture on the other, especially
architecture, and their appreciation of both will be deepened.
The Committee on Church Heritage requires a multimedia report on 10 great
Spanish colonial churches in the coastal towns of Bohol: Loon, Dauis, Maribojoc,
Cortes, Tagbilaran, Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Loboc, and Panglao.
The report on each church should include information on:
· when the church was constructed
· who designed the church
· the materials used to build the church
· the dimensions of the church
· the type of design followed, or the architectural style or influences
· the special features of the church
· the geometric figures evident in the church
· who supervised the building of the church
· how long it took to finish the church
The report required is multimedia in that it should include photographs and
other graphic illustrations and it should be presented using a computer (for
example, a PowerPoint or StarOffice presentation). The multimedia reports, to be
made available through the website of the Committee on Church Heritage, will be
used as promotional materials directed at tourists and as teaching and learning
materials in schools.
1. You will work in groups of 6 members each. Each group member has a unique
role to play. Meet your group and together decide on who will play each role.
The roles are:
|Religious Historian (1)
||Gather information about the history of the
Spanish colonial church assigned to your group from written sources, such as
research reports, magazine articles, brochures, and church and museum
records. Take note of information on who built the church (including the
religious congregation), when, the historical events surrounding the
building of the church, the first parish priest and his successors, and
other highlights in the church’s history. Be guided by the list of
information about the church to be included in your group report (see “The
Task”). You may get photos of the original church and/or the people in the
church’s past (e.g., first parish priest).
Write a brief report (including photos, if any), for inclusion in your
group’s presentation, about the history of the church.
||Interview church officials (for example, the
parish priest), church workers (for example, the campanero, sacristan
mayor), and townspeople for information about changes made to the church in
the last 30 years (for example, repainting, addition of structures,
re-tiling, re-roofing) and why such changes were made and by whom; the
activities held in the church; and the church’s significance to community
life. Be guided by the list of information about the church to be included
in your group report (see “The Task”). You may get photos of the social life
of the church (for example, people hearing mass, a baptism, or wedding) or
photos of the people you interview (for example, the present parish priest).
You may also use write-ups about the church (for example, magazine articles)
that may contain the information you are supposed to collect.
Write a brief report of your findings (including photos, if any), for
inclusion in your group’s presentation.
||Study the architecture of the church (style,
materials used, etc.) as written about in church records, books, and the
like. Take note of the architectural style of the church and be sure to do
background reading about this style in order to be able to describe it. Cite
the special features of the church that illustrate its architectural style.
Gather photos of these special architectural features of the church (you may
use existing photos and/or take your own photos).
Write a brief report (including photos), for inclusion in your group’s
||Find out the dimensions/measurements of the
church and its main parts (for example, floor area, height and thickness of
the walls, dimensions of the altar, width and depth of the church, etc.).
You can get this information from written sources as well as interviews with
knowledgeable individuals (e.g., church historians). Find out also about the
units of measure used at the time the church was constructed, the formulas
used for determining building strength, and other such mathematical details.
Look for geometric figures and structures in the interior and exterior part
of the church. Identify these geometric figures and the mathematical
relations between them (for example, similarity).
Identify also the religious symbolism, if any, of these geometric figures
(for example, the religious symbolism of the triangle).
Get photos (you may use existing photos) or draw these parts of the church
and show the kind of geometric figure represented.
Write a brief report (including photos/illustrations) for inclusion in your
|Multimedia Designer (1)
||Take the lead in the preparation of the
1. Suggest what design elements—the font styles and font sizes, color
scheme, animation effects (if needed), etc.—to use in your group’s
2. Collect from the other group members their reports (text and photographs
and/or drawings) and put these together in your presentation.
2. Once you are clear about your respective roles, read the resources listed
below (under “Resources”) to get background information that will help you
during the on-site research. The important background information includes
familiarity with the architecture of Spanish colonial churches in the
Philippines in general and the cultural aspects of Spanish colonization in Bohol.
Also important is mastery of lessons on geometric shapes and basic concepts in
geometry such as similarity.
Complete the background research in two weeks.
3. To facilitate the gathering of data, you will go on a field trip to the
church assigned to your group. This is when you will interview the
parish priest and other people, closely examine the church and its various
parts, read and take notes from records about the church and its history that
may be kept in the church and town archives or museum or parish rectory, and
take photos if you can or make detailed drawings.
Your group must prepare well for this church visit. Prior to the
visit, your teacher will write formally to the parish priest to explain the
project and to request that you be allowed to go around the church, conduct
interviews, study written records, and take photos. You should prepare your
interview questions in advance. You should also write down your research
questions or the questions you need to find answers to by reading church records
(see the list of questions below). Prepare a notebook for taking down notes. If
you can bring a tape recorder to tape the interview, then do so. If you wish to
take photos, be sure you have a working camera and film.
The following are the questions you must find the answers to:
a. How old is the church?
b. Who were the people behind the design and construction of the church? Who was
the architect/church designer? Who managed the construction?
c. Who were the first religious orders assigned to manage the church?
d. What part of the church is the oldest structure?
e. What materials is the church made of? Distinguish between original materials
and materials used for later additions/structures.
f. What is the dominant architectural style of the church?
g. What structures in the church reflect Jesuit, Recollect, and 20th century
h. What changes have been made to the church over the years? Why? Who made
and/or supervised these changes?
i. Describe the spaces and places in the interior and exterior of the building.
What are the uses of these spaces and places? What activities usually take place
j. What geometric figures and structures can be found inside and outside the
k. How are these figures related with to other? How is similarity of figures
applied in these structures?
l. What are the religious meanings, if any, to these geometric figures?
During the visit itself, be orderly. Avoid making loud noises. Pay close
attention to everything around you. Be polite/courteous. Speak clearly when
interviewing and listen carefully to what is said. Take down detailed notes.
The multimedia designer must accompany the group on the church visit. Take note
of design elements (motifs, color schemes, etc.) that you can incorporate in
your multimedia presentation.
4. After the church visit, go over your notes and see if you need any
more information to write your report. Do additional reading if necessary. Then
write your individual reports. These should be short and in a form that is ready
for integration into the multimedia presentation. For example, you should list
down main points instead of writing in paragraph form. However, you must write
in complete sentences. Be sure to label all photos/illustrations.
The multimedia designer will prepare studies of the overall design of the
group’s multimedia presentation.
You have one week to finish your individual reports.
5. Get together with your group and show each other your individual reports.
Discuss each person’s report to make sure it is complete. Look over the
multimedia designer’s studies for the overall design of the group’s multimedia
presentation and suggest improvements if needed. Remember that your grade will
be based on the whole group’s multimedia presentation.
This group meeting should be completed in a day.
6. Everyone should finalize their drafts to the satisfaction of the whole group.
Final text and photos/illustrations should be turned over to the multimedia
designer who will then put the group presentation together. The multimedia
designer has one week to do this.
In preparing your group’s presentation, be guided by the checklist for scoring
7. Once the presentation has been completed, the entire group should meet to
review the presentation and together improve it if needed. Group presentations
should be finalized in one day.
8. Group presentations will be shown to the other groups during class sessions
to be identified by your teacher. Choose one member of your group who will make
the presentation to the rest of the class. However, the rest of the group should
be ready to assist during the presentation itself.
9. Accomplish the self-assessment and peer evaluation forms by the due date.
A. Websites on Geometry and Architecture
MathArt Connections: Geometric Figures
Illustrations of geometric figures in the Parthenon
Mathematics and Architecture
3D Drawing and Geometry
Sample student work tracing geometric figures in photos of architectural pieces
Ritual Geometry, the Mandala, and its Symmetries
B. Websites on Spanish Colonial Churches
History of Philippine Architecture
Colonial churches in the Philippines
Philippine colonial church architecture
Agustinian Church in the Philippine Setting
A tour of Churches in Bohol
The Dolorosa of Baclayon: Mathematics of religious symbolism
C. Print Materials on Philippine Colonial Architecture
Alarcon, Norma. 1991. Philippine Architecture During the Pre-Spanish and Spanish
Periods. Manila: University of Santo Tomas Press. (New edition: 1998).
Casal, Gabriel, Eric S. Casiño, George R. Ellis, Regalado Trota Jose, and
Wilhelm G. Solheim II. 1981. The People and Arts of the Philippines. Los
Angeles: Museum of Cultural History, University of California.
Castañeda, Dominador. 1964. Art in the Philippines. Quezon City: Office of
Research Coordination, University of the Philippines.
Coseteng, Alicia M.L. 1972. Spanish Churches of the Philippines. Manila: Mercury
Design and Architecture. Santa Barbara Publishing Corp.
Galende, Pedro and René Javellana, 1992. Great Churches of the Philippines.
Makati: Bookmark, Inc. (2nd Edition: 1996)
Galende, Pedro. 1996. Angels in Stone: Augustinian Churches in the Philippines.
Manila: San Agustin Museum.
Gatbonton, Juan. 1980. Philippine Churches. Manila: National Media Production
Javellana, René. 1991. Wood and Stone for God’s Greater Glory: Jesuit Art and
Architecture in the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Jose, Jr., Regalado Trota. 1991. Simbahan: Church Art in Colonial Philippines.
Makati: Ayala Museum.
Jose, Jr., Regalado Trota. 2001. Visita Iglesia Bohol: A Guide to Historic
Churches. Manila: National Commission on Culture and the Arts.
Zialcita, Fernando N. and Martin I. Tinio, Jr. 1980. Philippine Ancestral
Houses, 1810-1930. Quezon City: GCF Books.
Zobel de Ayala, Fernando. 1963. Philippine Religious Imagery. Quezon City:
Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Your group presentation will be rated using the following checklist. Be guided
by this checklist as you prepare your work.
|1. Is there a historical background of the
|2. Is the historical background complete?
|3. Is the architecture of the church described
|4. Are the changes to the church’s architecture
|5. Is there an account of the current uses of
the church and its spaces?
|6. Are the dimensions/measurements of church
structures and spaces given?
|7. Are the geometric figures in church
structures pointed out in the report?
|8. Are the correct geometric figures identified?
|9. Are the relationships between these geometric
|10. Are the relationships identified correct?
|11. Are the religious meanings of the geometric
figures identified given?
|12. Are photos and illustrations/drawings
included in the report?
|13. Are the photos and drawings well chosen or
|B. Organization and Format
|1. Is the content presented in an orderly and
|2. Does the choice of font styles and sizes
contribute to readability?
|3. Is the color combination (between text and
background, between visuals and background, etc.) appealing?
|4. Does the color combination promote
|5. Are the photos and drawings clear?
|6. Are the photos and drawings attractive?
|7. Are the animation effects used impressive
(without being distracting) to viewers?
Your individual final grade for the project will be computed as follows:
||Percent of Project Grade
|2. Peer Evaluation
It is hoped that this project will teach you to appreciate a number of things:
the artistry of our ancestors, as well as their sacrifice and hard work; the
richness of our cultural traditions; the important place of geometry in the
world around us; and the connections between branches of knowledge, in
particular between mathematics and architecture and other forms of art.
In addition, the project will expose you to the practice of several
professions—that of the historian, anthropologist, architect, mathematician, and
In playing your respective roles and working together to come up with a
comprehensive, accurate and creative presentation, you should learn the value of
thorough and insightful library and field research, team work, and patience in
drafting and revising work towards the achievement of high standards. These are
all skills that will serve you well not only in your student life but also in
your chosen careers.