Cultural Properties Division
2013 Heritage Pride: NM declarations of National Cultural Treasures (NCT’s) and Important Cultural Properties (ICP’s)
In line with the National Museum’s mandate of preserving and protecting cultural properties of the country, the year 2013 saw the list of the National Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Properties inscribed as among the short list of the honored cultural properties. Of particular site and structures that have merited our country’s pride and attention included the following:
The Twin Forts of Romblon Island
- declared a National Cultural Treasure last March 19, 2013. These twin forts, Fuerza de San Antonio (San Andres) and Fuerza de Santiago , played a significant role in defense of the island from Moro and Dutch Pirates during the Spanish period. Strategically located on top of San Antonio and Cavalry Hills overlooking the whole town of Romblon, the twin towers- made of coral blocks, is a testament to fusion of an ingenuous engineering and construction styles of development without harmful consequences to the natural environment.
Holy Trinity Parish Church – Loay, Bohol Sto. Niño Parish Church – Cortes, Bohol
We sighed with relief that our government’s declaration of significant cultural properties is one best preparation for the unexpected 2013 destruction of heritage and we are happy to announce that we have declared quite a number of built structures that merited as National Cultural Treasure in earthquake stricken Bohol. In Cortes, the Church of the Parish of Santo Niño , is declared an NCT together with the Church of the Parish of the Holy Trinity of Loay in Bohol. The Church of Cortes has an intact quality with historical, cultural and artistic significance. It is a structure of cut coral stone blocks, with interiors featuring exquisite retablo in Baroque-Renaissance style, and extensive ceiling murals painted by Ray Francia, a unique feature of the period. Loay Church, on the other hand, was also a structure of cut coral stones similar to the other historical structures within its complex. It is a cruciform designed church with low quadrangular pyramid atop the crossing. It has a portico façade dominant to all other historical churches in the Philippines. Together with the previously declared structures as significant properties, our Bohol Task Force, had their hands full in the projects of Heritage Rescue and forthwith restoration plans to augment if not lead the national restoration effort of Heritage Churches and structures of Bohol.
The Church of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo
In Iloilo, the Church of the Santa Barbara Parish was also declared an NCT. Also of Baroque-Renaissance style, it is one of the better preserved church and convents in Iloilo that have maintained its architectural features of Spanish colonial vintage, with surviving façade that bears the seal of the Holy See and the Augustinian Order. The structure is shaped like a Roman cross having domed shape roof. It has well preserved floors with adjoining convent that is also intact with floors made of piedra silleria and brick and upper floor made of cast iron and hardwood.
The Rizal Monument, Rizal Park - Manila
And lastly, on the occasion of the 117th death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 2013, the National Museum inscribed the Monument of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Rizal Park as National Cultural Treasure, owing to our revered hero who is entombed in the monument. The monument becomes the pre-eminent symbol of the national political, historical and cultural aspirations of peoples’ struggles as an independent and sovereign people among the community of nations. Regarded as an artistic and cultural icon, the monument, is a leading example of public monuments throughout the country and Filipino communities around the world, where time-honored traditions is being held such as national celebrations for independence day, Rizal Day, inauguration of Presidents of the Philippines, tributes during state and official visits of foreign leaders and dignitaries and other public observations and events.
Spanish Colonial Era Bridges – Romblon Is.
The year 2013, listed Important Cultural Properties. Among those declared were the Spanish Colonial Era Municipal Building, Traida de Aguas and Bridges, of Romblon Island also last March 19, 2013, together with the Guyangan Cave System of Banton Island, and Casa de San Fernando of Sibuyan Island, all of Romblon Province. Spanish Colonial Era Municipal Building is an architectural product of Spanish and American colonization. Built with coral limestone, it is a significant historical and cultural transition of Romblon from the 19th to the 20th century. Spanish Colonial Era Bridges – Fuente de Fetalvero, Fuente de Belen, and Fuente de la Paz, spanning the street of Madronal. They paved the way for the evolution of the provnce’s commerce, communication and transportation.
Traida de Aguas or Fuente de Belen
Traida de Aguas or Fuente de Belen- built in the 19th century is an old fountain located at the town center and served as freshwater source for the whole town during the Spanish colonial period.
Banton Island showing the Guyangan Cave System
The Guyangan Cave System –an important heritage resource of the Romblon Province, continues to serve the archeological activities that contributed greatly to the scientific knowledge of Romblon’s and the Philippines’ in general of its pre-history. With significant archeological finds such as the Banton Cloth, a National Cultural Treasure and the pre-historic practice of deforming the skull of an infant, the system continues to yield earthenwares, shards, glazed vessels, wooden coffins, teeth, artifacts made of shells and Chinese ceramics attributed to Sung, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties. Indeed, a valuable area for archeological studies, particularly on the pre-Spanish burial practices in the Philippines.
Casa de San Fernando – Sibuyan Island, Romblon
Casa de San Fernando located in Sibuyan Island is a Spanish Cuartel built of stone coral blocks with wooden beams. The structure is a unique built-heritage as a watchtower stood majestically at the back of the residence structure believed to have been built for the purpose by then Don Pedro Sanz, a Spanish Gobernadorcillo.
St. Augustine Church – Lubao, Pampanga
Another Important Cultural Property (ICP) is the Church of St. Augustine Parish of Lubao, Pampanga. Surviving major earthquake and turmoil of war, the Church continue to mirror the lives, culture and tradition of the people of Lubao, who even early on, are relatively organized community. The church still bears the original black Holy Cross - a symbol of acceptance of Christianity offered before the first structure of this church was built between 1613 and 1638. An enduring faith by its people continued to be represented by this Holy Cross as the Church carries this important symbol of faith together with the barely touched and unharmed antique collections, its retablo mayor and the 1862 stationary center bell that was first offered to the people of Lubao. The Church stood as the center of the unwavering faith and tradition of the people of Lubao who continued to preserve the structure that has been home for centuries of the black Holy Cross, a symbol of their faith.
Sta. Monica Parish Church – Alburquerque, Bohol
Also, in Bohol the Church of the Parish of Sta. Monica in Alburquerque was declared an ICP. This church possesses unique and exemplary features such as imposing neo-gothic façade and portico and the massive convent and rectory. It has extensive modern ceiling murals that reflect the original artistic scheme, though no longer intact, earlier executed by Ray Francia representing heritage landmark among churches of Bohol.
The Cultural Properties Division of the National Museum processed all nominations for inscriptions. Protecting these cultural properties through declarations included monitoring and technical assistance of the structures that were listed as significant. All stakeholders are enjoined to provide assistance to all of these national prides inscribed to last through generations to come.