Mon, 06 Jul 2020

Tagbilaran Diocese brings in heritage conservation talks

Philippine Information Agency
07 Nov 2019, 13:38 GMT+10

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct. 25 (PIA) -- Learning from the lessons of the 2013 earthquake, the Diocese of Tagbilaran brought to Bohol the "Architectural Planning for the Churches of the Diocese of Tagbilaran Beyond 2022" in a bid to engage parishioners to properly document the heritage structures in the province to better preserve and conserve them for the future generations.

Set at the Bishop Manuel Mascarinas Hall of the Elijah Spirituality Center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary Complex, the half-day lecture forum gathered parish priests, caretakers, and church maintenance teams members of the parish pastoral council to give the communities a hint on architectural and development planning to attain a shared vision to conserve the cultural heritage of these age-old structures in churches.

UNDERSTANDING DESIGN. Cebuana architect Melva Java explaining the structural foundations of design especially the sacred proportion and the Fibonacci sequence - ideas which current builders are not as keen to follow. These have been hailed across the ages as the sacred ratio, which determines most foundation for aesthetics. (rahc/PIA_7/Bohol)

"Cultural heritage is the entire body of the tangible and non-tangible marks or signs of human experience handed down by preceding generations to each culture," speaker and Cebuana Architect Melva Rodrigiez Java shared.

Citing the Venice Charter of 1964, Java emphasized that built or architectural heritage embodies the material and non-material values of the past, stressing that these structures in churches, plazas and even monuments are all imbued with the messages from the past and these historic monuments of generations of people must remain to the present day as living witnesses of their age-old traditions.

Along these arguments, too, the Diocese of Tagbilaran led by Bishop Alberto Uy and the Diocesan Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, intends to engage the communities to be conservation practitioners who will have the duty to safeguard the architectural heritage.

Recent efforts by newer parish curators and parish priests are to refurbish the heritage structures in the form of masonry work as repainting is simply destroying the old historic structures for newer facades.

In several areas in Bohol, parishes venture into projects that alter the general form or part of the heritage structure, damaging the priceless edifices or built heritage by putting in concrete, cement, mortar, or other aesthetic enhancements that do more harm than good on these heritage structures.

Java, who talked about the Catholic Churches: Handing on Splendor, said, "Cultural conservation practitioners see it as their duty to safeguard architectural heritage whether in materials and methods, in form or in its function, location, setting, spirit, and feeling and to hand them on, in full richness of their authenticity where their true cultural value is truthfully expressed."

"The material cultural heritage of the church always reflects and should communicate the essential immaterial heritage, in other words, the traditions of spirituality, the religious and devotional customs and practices of worship characterizing the Catholic faith," she added.

A popular figure in the built-heritage conservation circles, Java urged communities to do a thorough planning process consisting of survey and documentation, historical assessment and scientific analysis of the heritage resource, coupled with policy recommendations for proper interventions and implementation.

As a segue to the famous heritage conservator, Architect Dominic Galicia, whose works have been published in the prestigious architectural periodicals, talked about Management Conservation Plans, using his work on the conservation management plan of the St Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran as an example.

"A conservation management plan of a site is a framework that helps us to understand the site, using its past and present to help us prepare for the future," he told the forum participants.

At the core of all this understanding is the assessment of the site's significance as a benchmark for all actions and interventions that may affect the site, emphaized Galicia who is the principal architect of the Dominic Galicia Architects.

Another speaker, a priest architect, Fr. Alex Ona Bautista, pitched about master development planning for an integrated approach to conservation.

By putting up these architectural plans, future generations of the faithful would not only have a fair idea and appreciation of the past that influences their personalities, but would tend to allow them to make decisions based on these factors. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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