Restoration & Conservation Updates

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)

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