Bohol’s prominent heritage churches used to serve as depressing symbols of the earthquake’s aftermath, as they, after all, suffered a great deal of irreversible damage. Some of these centuries-old bastions of Catholic faith that also served as refuge during calamities themselves became piles upon piles of rubble—no thanks to the earth’s shaking and the accompanying soil liquefaction. But as saddening as their fate may have become, there is hope amid the ruins. Read more…
The La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church in Baclayon, a magnificent coral stone structure built in 1727, suffered major damage with its portico and bell tower. Fortunately, much of the rubble had been collected and set aside, awaiting to be cemented into their original places. The interiors are also being restored, with portions of the nave still open to the public.
The church’s museum is likewise still open, and all the artifacts gathered during the colonial times are still intact. Well-versed guides may conduct guided tours in English upon request.
Another church on the road map towards rehabilitation is the beautiful Sta. Monica Parish in the town of Albuquerque. Uniquely supported by unsmoothed log pillars, the part-coral, part-concrete structure is undergoing major structural overhauls, especially its retablos and convent. The convent upon rehabilitation will feature a gathering hall, as well as a small gallery.
Not all churches were as fortunate as these two, however, as some of them, considered National Treasures by the government, were either leveled or too damaged to be rebuilt. We were able to see San Pedro Apostol Church in Loboc, home to the eponymous Loboc Children’s Choir, which is beyond repair and will be preserved as ruins and a tourist attraction.
As we were told by one of the conservation artists, little funding is being cascaded by the government towards church restoration at the moment; hence, help is welcome more than ever.