Restoration & Conservation Updates

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)

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