A 19th-century church in Catanduanes province became the latest addition to the country’s registry of historic sites and structures.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) unveiled Tuesday a historical marker for the St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Bato town.
Bishop Manolo de los Santos of Virac accepted the new marker from NHCP chairman Dr. Rene Escalante.
According to Escalante, the new marker reflects the government’s acknowledgment of the site’s historic value.
“We consider it an important cultural property that the state must preserve and promote,” he said.
The transfer of the marker was also witnessed by NHCP executive director Carminda Arevalo, Virac Diocesan Commission of Cultural Heritage chairman Fr. Roberto Sanchez, and parish priest Fr. Allan Martin Basilio.
The church was first built in wood by the Franciscans in 1830 but the present coral stone church was completed in 1883. Its oldest bell, which the parish still uses, was donated in 1829.
With the help of NHCP, the church underwent repair last year after Typhoon Rolly (international name – Goni) destroyed its roof in November 2020.
“With the preservation and restoration of the Bato Church, we relive and reexperience the faith of the past and connects us with one another,” Basilio said.
“The walls of this church echo the holiness, religiosity and devotion to God of the Batonhons,” he added.