397-year-old church to be named national cultural treasure
- Ding Cervantes () - August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

MINALIN, Pampanga ,Philippines  – Another church in this province will be officially declared a national cultural treasure (NCT).

Local officials are preparing the festivities for Aug. 27, when the 397-year-old Sta. Monica parish church will be declared NCT by the National Museum, for its preserved unique centuries-old features.

It would be the second NCT in Pampanga, after the St. James church in Betis, Guagua.

Architect Owen Francis Canlas, chair of the Commission on Cultural Heritage, Restoration and Conservation (CCHRC) said the National Museum decided to make Sta. Monica Church a NCT because its façade features a unique giant retablo or altar influenced by Christian, Buddhist, Hinduist and animistic cultures.

Canlas said the church is also the only Roman Catholic church in the Philippines that has four capilla posas or small chapels that had remained intact through the years; and hosts an old painting of Our Lady of Consolation giving the cords to Sta. Monica and her son St. Augustine.

He said more than 100 photographs they have gathered under “Operation Scanning” or the scanning of old photographs of the church, would be made part of the parish museum.

“We would like to reconstruct the history of Minalin through old photographs and present how the church and the town of Minalin looked in the past centuries, hoping this will evoke a deep-rootedness and footedness in the past,” said Fr. Greg Vega.

The photographs included a visit by the late Bishop Emilio Cinense in 1966; a wedding in 1948 showing the “retablo mayor” at the back of the altar; and a flood in 1993 that submerged the church by a meter after surviving the 1991 eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo.  

ARCHITECT OWEN FRANCIS CANLAS BISHOP EMILIO CINENSE CHURCH CULTURAL HERITAGE GREG VEGA MINALIN MONICA CHURCH MT. PINATUBO NATIONAL MUSEUM OPERATION SCANNING OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION
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