Sunday, July 16, 2006

Save old churches

I haven't been doing my regular hops among my favorite blogs lately, so I missed an online petition initiated by Ivan Henares. But the petition is still open, so please support it. Ivan is a blogger and is a fierce advocate of heritage conservation - a monumental task considering how many of our architectural landmarks are being demolished wantonly and brazenly by uncaring local despots.

This time, Ivan is organizing a petition addressed to the powerful bishops to prevail on parish priests not to continue destroying our old churches. Please sign the petition here. We should remind our bishops that there are also other importants issues other than sex education and politics. Saving our cultural heritage is one of them.

My hometown in Abuyog Leyte is sadly a victim of this crime, and to aggravate things, the crime has become serial.

The town used to have a centuries-old church with a facade that is similar to the old churches in Ilocos. In the seventies, the then parish priest decided to embark on a major expansion of the church. Fortunately, some citizens raised a howl and a compromise was reached. Instead of demolishing the old structure, it was made as the horizontal structure of the cross-shaped new church. Unfortunately, the facade has since then been whitewashed and cemented over. And since then our town has suffered the curse of a succession of parish priests who have toyed with the facade of the church to suit their own personal demented concept of what a church should look like. When I was in grade school, our church looked like a munisipyo. In my high school days, our church actually resembled a castle, complete with turrets and red bricks. Today, it looks... plain and boring.

See for yourself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was laughing when you mentioned the parish priest curse.
Years back, after not seeing our hometown's parish church for such a long time, my siblings and I entered it on a Sunday after "renovations" were commisioned by the then parish priest. We entered, looked at the ceiling, looked at each other and in unison our comments ranged from"Oh my Looorrd!" to "Oh shiiitt!". Imagine seeing obese cherubs and seraphs, some with the bottom half of their bodies missing, and overweight saints or whoever painted on the ceiling as if looking down on us from the clouds! It was gross! Some sick in the head painter somehow convinced the priest (probably sick too) that he is Da Vinci and painted a mural up in the whole ceiling! Pink and blue motif pa! Well I wished that person a perpetual stiff neck. Now it's much better, the ceiling is clean, painted plain off white, the lighting is great, and wow, the altar is nice. The current priest seems to have better taste and lots of fund raising talent. Recently I noticed that they are doing some job on the facade. Busy, busy priest. If you happen to pass by Sto. Tomas, Batangas, do drop by our parish church, now very different from the one of my childhood.
Good day! MommyJo