Restoration & Conservation Updates

Monday, October 12, 2009



17th Century Daraga Church in Albay now a National Treasure

By Edwin A. Bandol
Commission on Temporalities
Daraga Parishń

DARAGA, ALBAY (Aug. 28, 2009)—A historical marker from the Philippine National Museum declaring the parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate) as a National Cultural Treasure by virtue of the declaration signed by National Museum Director, Corazon S. Alvina last Oct. 29, 2007, will be unveiled here today in preparation for the annual patronal town fiesta on Sept. 8 this year.
Built in 1773 on a top of a hill by Franciscan Missionaries, the church is a priceless relic for art enthusiasts because of its rich baroque architectural designs carefully carved on volcanic rocks, and its facade gives the church its special distinction from the other churches in the country. It contains archeological relics of “santos” and rare religious seals ingeniously carved throughout the entire face of the church, even up to the belfry.
Church officials of the Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish led by Rev. Fr. Jose Victor E. Lobrigo, in an effort to avert the rapid deterioration of Our Lady of the Gate parish church due to natural or man-made calamities, has organized in Oct. 2005 the parish temporalities commission which was tasked to submit plans that will address the conservation and preservation needs of the Daraga church. The commission is chaired by Architect Ricardo Ibay, with the help of some architects, engineers and historians.
According to Fr. Lobrigo, the absence of renovation guidelines and maintenance procedures in the past have changed the original visage of the century-old church.
"Because of the many works of repairs, additions and modifications done in the lifetime of the church and its premises, there has been a considerable loss of cultural values," Fr. Lobrigo said.
For over two years now, with the help of its parishioners and other outside donors, benefactors and stakeholders, a massive restoration and preservation works of the Daraga church, its rectory, including the construction of a rip-rap perimeter fence around the church property is underway.
In a simple but meaningful occasion held Feb. 19, 2008 at the church patio and attended by well-meaning citizens of this progressive town, the reading of the declaration was made by Maharlika Cuevas of the National Museum saying that the eastern and western facades, belfry, and baptistery of the church and all the structures where these features are attached, become parts of the national treasure and therefore its intrinsic value must be safeguarded by the government. The declaration was concurred by a panel of experts and historians that the centuries old church of Daraga must be preserved and protected as important cultural properties.
The declaration reads: The Eastern and Western Facades, Bell Tower and Baptistry of Parish Church of Our Lady of Holy Gate in Daraga, Albay, was declared a National Culture Treasure by the National Museum by virtue of the powers vested in it by Republic Act 4846, as amended by Presidential Decree 374 and Republic Act 8492. Done in the City of Manila dated October 29, 2007, signed by Corazon S. Alvina, Director IV, National Museum.
According to Rev. Fr. Lobrigo, the coveted title of being a national cultural treasure conferred to Our Lady of the Gate parish church as defined by the National Museum is in recognition of the fact that it is a unique object found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is significant and important to our country and the nation. (Edwin A. Bandol)

Friday, October 17, 2008

National Historical Institute Unveiling



Historical Marker for Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish Church to be unveiled today
Written by: Edwin A. Bandol
DARAGA, Albay (Oct. 16, 2008)—The 17th century old church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish here declared as a national treasure by virtue of the declaration signed by National Museum Director, Corazon S. Alvina last Oct. 29, 2007, takes center stage today for the unveiling of the historical marker by the National Historical Institute.
Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo, chairman of the National Historical Institute, will present today the historical marker immediately after he and His Excellency, Most Rev. Lucilo Quiambao, D.D., Bishop Administrator of the Diocese of Legazpi, unveil the historical marker.
Built in 1773 on a top of a hill by Franciscan Missionaries, the church is a priceless relic for art enthusiasts because of its rich baroque architectural designs carefully carved on volcanic rocks, and its façade gives the church its special distinction from the other churches in the country. It contains archeological relics of “santos” and rare religious seals ingeniously carved throughout the entire face of the church, even up to the belfry.
Church officials of the Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish have come up with a plan in 2005 to save the said church from further destruction and ruin.
In an earlier statement, Fr. Jose Victor E. Lobrigo, Nuestra Señora de la Porteria parish priest said that the absence of renovation guidelines and maintenance procedures changed the original visage of the century-old church.
"Because of the many works of repairs, additions and modifications done in the lifetime of the church and its premises, there has been a considerable loss of cultural values," Fr. Lobrigo said.
The Daraga parish has formed a new group tasked to submit plans for the church’s conservation and is looking into long-term solutions to its preservation needs with the help of some architects, engineers and historians.
The Parish Temporalities Commission chaired by Architect Ricardo Ibay said under the conservation plan, any renovation in any part of the church will only have a go-signal if it will not adversely affect its cultural significance.
It also stated that if certain parts of the church needs renovation and cannot be retained, policies need to be made first for the appropriate recording of any part.
In a simple but meaningful occasion held Feb. 19, 2008 at the church patio and attended by well-meaning citizens of this progressive town, the reading of the declaration was made by Maharlika Cuevas of the National Museum saying that the eastern and western facades, belfry, and baptistery of the church and all the structures where these features are attached, become parts of the national treasure and therefore its intrinsic value must be safeguarded by the government. The declaration was concurred by a panel of experts and historians that the centuries old church of Daraga must be preserved and protected as important cultural properties.
The declaration reads: The Eastern and Western Facades, Bell Tower and Baptistry of Parish Church of Our Lady of Holy Gate in Daraga, Albay, was declared a National Culture Treasure by the National Museum by virtue of the powers vested in it by Republic Act 4846, as amended by Presidential Decree 374 and Republic Act 8492. Done in the City of Manila dated October 29, 2007, signed by Corazon S. Alvina, Director IV, National Museum.
Fr. Jose Victor E. Lobrigo, parish priest of OLGP and Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo, NHI chairman will be the signatories today of the certificate of transfer of the historical marker with Ludovico Badoy, NHI Exec. Director and Archt. Ricardo Ibay as witnesses.(Edwin A. Bandol)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Press Release

National Museum declares Daraga parish
church as a national cultural treasure

DARAGA, ALBAY (Feb. 19, 2008)—A public declaration of Daraga parish church as a national cultural treasure will be made today by Acting Director Maharlika Cuevas of the National Museum during a program to be held at the parish restored cloister under the auspices of Our Lady of the Gate Parish, in cooperation with the local government unit of Daraga, Albay.

Rev. Fr. Jose Victor E. Lobrigo, parish priest of Our Lady of the Gate Parish, said that the National Museum through its former Director Corazon S. Alvina has signed on Oct. 29, 2007 a declaration which was concurred by a panel of experts declaring the Eastern and Western Façade, Belfry and Baptistery of the parish church of Our Lady of the Gate, and all the structures where these features are attached as a national cultural treasure.

As defined in the Museum Declaration No. I-2007 of the National Museum, it is the policy of the state to preserve and protect important cultural properties and national cultural treasures of the nation and to safeguard their intrinsic value.

According to Rev. Fr. Lobrigo, the coveted title of being a national cultural treasure conferred to Our Lady of the Gate parish church as defined by the National Museum is in recognition of the fact that it is a unique object found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is significant and important to our country and the nation.

The declaration also states that churches are products of religious beliefs and therefore belong to the category of culture, Rev. Fr. Lobrigo said.

Located eminently on top of Sta. Maria Hill and a landmark overlooking the gentle slopes of Mayon Volcano, the church of Our Lady of the Gate is the beacon of faith for the Daraguenos and other people living in adjacent communities.

Cognizant of the fact that church is the nucleus around which towns have been built and has influenced greatly the creation of Daraga, Albay, the local government unit of Daraga, Albay has passed the Municipal Resolution No. 04-2007 supporting the declaration of the Daraga church building as a national cultural treasure.

Among those who are expected to speak during this occasion are Most Rev. Lucilo Quiambao, Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Legazpi; Dr. Fay Lauraya, president, Bicol University; Dir. Nene Ravanilla, regional director, Dept. of Tourism; DPWH Regional Dir. Orlando B. Roces, former chairman, Commission on Temporalities; Daraga Mayor Cicero C. Triunfante; Ateneo de Naga University Prof. Danilo Gerona, Ph. D. who will give some historical notes; and Archt. Ricardo Ibay, chairman, Commission on Temporalities.

In an effort to avert the rapid deterioration of Our Lady of the Gate parish church, Rev. Fr. Lobrigo has organized in Oct. 2005 the parish temporalities commission which was tasked to submit plans that will address the conservation and preservation needs of the church built in 1772, the oldest existing building in the province of Albay. (Edwin A. Bandol)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008