Wednesday, June 04, 2014

What is happening at the Bohol churches after the earthquake?

When the earthquake struck Bohol and Cebu on October 15, 2013, the entire nation lamented the destruction of our heritage. But alas, Filipinos are often quick to forget. Several months after the earthquake, are people even asking what is happening at the Bohol churches?

There's a lot of work that needs to be done. Work on all churches is still in the retrieval stage. The National Committee on Monuments and Sites of the NCCA visited Bohol last week to check on the status of the churches. The team visited Dauis Church, Dauis Watchtower, Cortes Church, Maribojoc Church, Punta Cruz Watchtower, Loon Church, Tubigon Church, Baclayon Church, Loboc Church and Loay Church. Except for the Tubigon Church which is not declared, all heritage properties are National Cultural Treasures. Before you look at the current situation, here are photos of the Bohol churches before the earthquake for comparison.

The portico facade of the Dauis Church collapsed during the earthquake
The nave and altar of the Dauis Church are relatively intact. Major damage is on the left and right transept 
Damage to the left transept of the Dauis Church
Damage to the right transept of the Dauis Church
The portico facade of the Cortes Church collapsed during the earthquake
The nave of the church is relatively intact with cracks on the walls
Damage to the left transept of the Cortes Church
Damage to the right transept of the Cortes Church
The Maribojoc Church was totally destroyed during the earthquake
The interior of the Maribojoc Church
A portion of the left lateral wall of the Maribojoc Church that still stands gives insights on the manner and materials used in the construction of the churches
Coral stones are carefully retrieved from the ruins of the Maribojoc Church and properly numbered for any future reconstruction
Student volunteers assist the National Museum and the parish in numbering, cleaning and storing artifacts and materials retrieved from the Maribojoc Church
The Punta Cruz Watchtower in Maribojoc sustained significant damage during the earthquake. Inscriptions on top of the main entrance were unfortunately destroyed
The Loon Church was totally destroyed during the earthquake
An employee of the National Museum prepares labels for the retrieved stones
The once majestic Loon Church has been reduced to rubble
Coral stone retrieved from the Loon Church and rubble that is left of the once majestic church
The facade and nave of the Tubigon Church collapsed during the earthquake. Unfortunately, the Tubigon Church is not declared so no government funding can be budgeted for its reconstruction
A few panels are all that remains of the ceiling murals of Tubigon Church 
Portions of the ceiling murals of the Tubigon Church are piled on one side of the church
The portico facade and belfry of the Baclayon Church collapsed during the earthquake
Fortunately, the interior of the Baclayon Church is still intact. But work needs to be done to prevent any further damage from future earthquakes.
Loboc Church was the first declared National Cultural Treasure in Bohol. It sustained major damage during the earthquake
The pipe organ was among the elements of the Loboc Church that were spared from damage. But it needs to be retrieved immediately since the lateral walls that contain it are not stable
Major damage to the lateral walls and ceiling of the Loboc Church and convento
The pediment of the Loay Church collapsed during the earthquake
Fortunately, most of the damage to the Loay Church is limited to the portico facade. The nave and altar remain intact but there is damage to the left transept
Damage to the facade of the Loay Church and the buildings around the church
Hopefully funding allotted for the reconstruction of the churches is put to good use immediately. The parishes of Bohol have been instructed not to touch the declared churches. And yet several months after, progress on the retrieval and reconstruction, particularly for NHCP-assigned churches, is unsatisfactory according to Fr. Ted Torralba who was with us during the assessment. While funding is available, it will take political will to hurdle all the bureaucratic processes. In the meantime, Bohol continues to wait for the much-needed assistance that was promised to them months ago.
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