Six years after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Bohol, Philippines and neighboring provinces on Oct. 15, 2013, restoration have begun on the priceless heritage structures damaged during the disasters but the progress has been painfully slow, resources are spread thin, and there's a lack of manpower, equipment, and funding. While all resources and assistance of most organizations are focused on relief and rebuilding lives in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and the Bohol earthquake.
Fe Genabe, a resident and a retired teacher who now acts as the caretaker of the church’s property of the town of Maribojoc, remembers very well.
“It was 8:33 in the morning. Doon ko nakita nag–open-close ang mga (floor) tiles. End of the world na siguro ito (That’s when I saw the floor tiles open up and close. I thought it was the end of the world)!” she recalled.
It was not the end of the world—but it was the end of the centuries-old Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) Parish Church. Like matchsticks, the earthquake brought down what was the biggest church in Bohol at the time.
“It took 20 years to build this church, and 20 seconds to level it,” Genabe quipped.
The Loon and Maribojoc Churches were the worst hit during the earthquake, having been completely destroyed. On the other hand, the churches of Baclayon, Dauis, Dimiao, Loay, and Loboc, though severely damaged, still retained parts of their original structure.
Bohol has been said to have the highest concentration of heritage churches, specifically from the Spanish colonial period. In particular, the Loon and Maribojoc Churches were declared National Cultural Treasures by the National Museum of the Philippines and National Historical Landmarks by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
A structure’s integrity has to do with how intact it is, or how much of its appearance today is the same as its appearance when it was built. On the other hand, authenticity refers to how original the materials are, or whether new materials have been used with the original.
Both the Loon Church and the Maribojoc Church are being rebuilt. The parishes held separate groundbreaking ceremonies on last September 22, 2917 to mark the beginning of the reconstruction.
The people of both Loon and Maribojoc are excited that the reconstruction is finally underway.
Genabe said that the Maribojoc Church has been a big part of her life. Her first communion, wedding, the wakes of her parents, the baptism of her children, and later, the weddings of two of her children—all were held there.
“We miss our church very much,” she said.
We are knocking in your heart for a small amount of donation to help us continue the reconstruction of our church.
Read more about how beautiful our church before.