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Daraga church in Albay now a historical treasure

October 21, 2008 4:27pm

Tags: Albay
MANILA, Philippines — The 17th century Daraga Church in Albay province in is now recognized as one of the country's historical treasures, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Tuesday.

An article on the CBCP website ( said the National Historical Institute (NHI) recognized the church with a historical marker unveiled last Oct. 16.

"Nestled on top of a hill at the heart of the bustling commercial center, the church which was built by Franciscan missionaries in 1773 is known for its baroque architectural designs," said the artcile.

NHI chairperson Ambeth Ocampo, the guest of honor at the event, handed the historical marker to Legazpi diocese Apostolic Vicar Lucilo Quiambao.

Ocampo also signed a document that stipulated provisions to guarantee the protection and preservation of the cultural properties of Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church of Daraga.

The church contains archeological relics of saints and rare religious seals engraved on volcanic rocks throughout its entire façade including the belfry.

According to locals, the relics were all that was left after it was bombed by American planes during World War II in 1945.

Parishioners believed that their patroness, Nuestra Señora de la Porteria, remained in the ruins unscathed after the bombing.

Parish priest Jose Victor Lobrigo said the absence of renovation guidelines and maintenance procedures changed the original visage of the century old church.

"Because of many repair works, additions and modifications done in the lifetime of the church and its premises, there has been a considerable loss of cultural values," Lobrigo said.

He said the Daraga Parish has formed a new group tasked to submit plans for the church's conservation and its long-term solutions for its preservation by tapping the expertise of local architects, engineers and historians.

Last Feb. 19, Maharlika Cuevas of the National Museum declared that the facades, belfry and baptistery of the church with all its archeological structures and features are part of national cultural heritage. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Albay