Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests


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 project.

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 colonization.

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 Task

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:

Role Responsibilities
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.
Anthropologist (1) 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.
Architect (1) 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 presentation.
Mathematicians (2) 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 group’s presentation.
Multimedia Designer (1) Take the lead in the preparation of the multimedia presentation.

1. Suggest what design elements—the font styles and font sizes, color scheme, animation effects (if needed), etc.—to use in your group’s presentation.

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 styles?
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 there?
j. What geometric figures and structures can be found inside and outside the church building?
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 your work.

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 Boholanon

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 Press.

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 Center.

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.
Criteria Yes
(2 points)
(1 point)
(0 point)
A. Content
1. Is there a historical background of the church?
2. Is the historical background complete?
3. Is the architecture of the church described in detail?
4. Are the changes to the church’s architecture enumerated?
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 figures identified?
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 appropriate?
B. Organization and Format
1. Is the content presented in an orderly and logical way?
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 readability?
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:
Item Percent of Project Grade
1.Group Output 70%
2. Peer Evaluation 15%
3. Self-assessment 15%
Total 100%

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 multimedia designer.

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.