Showing posts with label Dalaguete. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dalaguete. Show all posts

Monday, October 04, 2010

Cebu: Heritage churches of Southern Cebu

I found myself visiting again the heritage churches of Southern Cebu. There are quite a lot actually. So from Cebu City, my class proceeded down south to explore the heritage of Southern Cebu. If you were to choose seven churches, here is the suggested route.

We first stopped at the San Fernando Church (San Isidro Labrador Church) which is built in the Gothic style and completed in 1886.

After San Fernando, we drove to Sibonga Church (Nuestra Senora del Pilar Church) also built in the Gothic style and completed in 1881. It was the town fiesta and there were a lot of people visiting the church. We got to try the torta and pinyato which were both being sold outside the church for just Php5 each!

Then we drove all the way down to the Oslob Church (Inmaculada Concepcion Church) built in the Neo-Classical style and completed in 1847. This church was gutted by fire in 2008 because the parish priest left his modem running while he was out which is not a good idea in a centuries-old structure. The modem overheated and the rest was history. There used to be a really beautiful convento with a clay tile roof right beside the church. But that's gone now. Such a pity!

It's actually had a history of fires. It was burned by Filipino guerillas in 1942. And again, the whole complex got burned in 1955. But what's important is that they restored the church every time it burned. In fact, they're restoring the church again now. I wonder if they'll reconstruct the convento though.

From Oslob, we drove back north to Boljoon Church (Patrocinio de Maria Church) which is both a National Cultural Treasure and a National Historical Landmark. The first church was probably destroyed during the Muslim raid of 1782. Work on the current church, which is built in the Rococo style, began in 1783.

From Boljoon, we visited the Dalaguete Church (San Guillermo de Aquitania Church), also built in the Rococo style and completed in 1825. It's one of the best-preserved churches in Cebu and a National Historical Landmark. Just remember that Dalaguete is pronounced by locals as dalaget.

Argao Church (San Miguel Arcangel Church) was our next stop. It's a National Historical Landmark. I'm sure you've heard the horrible thing one of its previous parish priests did to the church retablo. He painted the exquisite polychrome wooden retablo with gold and silver latex paint making it the biggest trophy case in the country! This church is also constructed in the Rococo style.

Finally, we visited the Carcar Church (Santa Catalina Church), built in the Graeco-Roman style with strong Muslim influence, and completed in 1875. There are more churches to visit in Southern Cebu. These churches featured are from the southeastern side of the island. I'm actually looking forward to my trip to visit the churches of Southwestern Cebu.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cebu: Visita iglesia to Southern Cebu churches

The heritage of Southern Cebu is wonderful! That's why in pains me to see so much of it desecrated in recent years. Let me warn you that as I introduce the wonderful heritage of Southern Cebu, I'll be ranting because of some stupid priests and local officials who have succeeding in uglifying the churches and other old structures.

Southern Cebu's heritage trail usually begins in Oslob. But after the Oslob Church and convent burned down last year (obviously someone was negligent, leaving the convent in the wee hours of the morning; I wonder where father was when the church under his care burned down), we decided to start in Boljoon Church, a National Cultural Treasure and a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage if ever they do expand the inscription Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Sadly, it was raining when we got there so I couldn't take good photos of the facade. But at least this time, the restoration work on the retablo and ceiling was complete so I was able to take photos. They are still in the process of restoring the choirloft and pipe organ. Boljoon is no doubt a wonderful example of how to preserve heritage the right way.

Our next stop was Dalaguete Church which I skipped the last time. Sadly, the parish priest was in the process of desecrating the old altar. Yes, this was heritage disaster number two for the day. He removed wooden altar panels and replaced it with a cheap and hideous marble structure which does not match the retablo. He also touched the centuries-old tiles in the altar. CBCP, where are you when we need you?

Aside from that, the rest of the church is intact and worth visiting. I hope it remains that way. These priests waste church money on useless projects that desecrate heritage, doing more harm than good, just so that they could leave their mark, no matter how ugly. Such funds could have been used for the pastoral mission of the church!

Anyway, we made our way to Argao, another sad story. The church and municipio comprise heritage disaster number three and four. The main altar of the Argao Church was desecrated by the monsignor of the church. What happened to Cardinal Vidal when his favorite monsignor converted the polychrome altar into the biggest trophy case in the Philippines? And he used latex paint on wood. So the damage is close to irreversible! Wonderful polychrome statues of the archangels were painted gold! Talk about Midas' touch!

The Argao Municipal Hall is another sad story. We even featured it in the HCS calendar as a wonderful example of a Spanish colonial town hall with its clay tile roof still intact. Well, it's now a disaster since they sandwiched it in between two new buildings and bored holes on both sides to connect the new buildings to the original municipio. Not only that, they built a balcony in front. My God! Where do these mayors get their "bright" ideas? Argao could have been a UNESCO World Heritage site I was told. That's impossible now!

Our last church for the day was Sibonga Church which I also skipped the last time. It's another wonderful church with ornate ceiling paintings. It doesn't have a retablo though.

Of course, we already visted Carcar Church in the morning. The Carcar Church is another heritage disaster. Sigh! The priest and parish pastoral council built ugly pedestals for the angels they took down. The parish priest had previously taken down the angels which adorned the columns of the church, sparking an outrage from the townsfolk. But aside from that, the rest of the church is intact and grand!

There are even more churches between Carcar and Cebu City. If you have time, you can pass by San Fernando, Naga, Minglanilla, Talisay and Pardo on the way back to Cebu City. My next target when I do visit Cebu again will be a visita iglesia in Western Cebu.

Part 1: Bantayan Island, Cebu is rich in heritage and great beaches!
Part 2: Visita iglesia in Northern Cebu
Part 3: Lechon, chicharon and more from Carcar

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