Why La Loma Chapel has a new yellow and white façade

May 26, 2022 - 3:39 PM
Composite photo of the old structure of La Loma Chapel and its restored appearance (Facebook/Sementeryo: Heritage Cemeteries of the Philippines) (photo on the left by: Nikka dela Cruz; photo on the right by: Escuela Taller de Filipinas)

(Updated 7:58 p.m.) The old La Loma Chapel has a new face in yellow and white after a restoration overseen by conservationists, ecclesiastical architecture experts and the Catholic diocese.

RDG Ecclesiastical Architecture, a company that specializes in designing ecclesiastical and liturgical spaces, posted photos on May 23 that juxtaposed the old La Loma Chapel in Manila with a new facade.

The La Loma Chapel or La Loma Cemetery Chapel is considered the oldest Catholic cemetery in Caloocan City in Manila.

The photo on the left shows the old design of the chapel. It offered a darker period appeal.

The image on the right, meanwhile, showed its restored façade of brighter colors and a smoother finish.

Composite photo of the old La Loma Chapel and the new La Loma Chapel (Facebook/RDG Ecclesiastical Architecture)

On the post, RDG commended the hard work of the conservation team.

It was executed by a non-government organization called Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation or Escuela Taller.

“The restoration allowed the rich details of the façade to become visible again and allows the current and future generations to appreciate the building for much longer, as the structure is now better protected from the elements,” it said.

Moreover, RDG also expressed appreciation to the Diocese of Caloocan for spearheading its restoration.

Its post soon gained traction on Facebook. As of writing, it gathered 5,200 reactions, 490 comments and 1,600 shares.

The reactions were mixed. There were 3,400 crying emojis, 897 heart emojis, 698 likes and 61 angry emojis.

Reactions to La Loma’s new look

On the comments section of RDG’s post, some social media users frowned upon the heritage site’s new face.

“How about retaining its antique look while retrofitting it. That is a cemetery chapel of great antiquity,” one user said.

“I just wish they picked a more neutral color. It’s really necessary to preserve heritage sites for future generations and the restorations they did ensures that. I just think a plain white with neutral accents would have worked better in this case,” another user commented.

“Bakit hindi nalang neon green or orange? Or red?” another user said.

Escuela Taller’s team, however, based their work on the chapel’s original structure.

“Great work! Why is it that many refuse to accept that these old structures were once new and clean? If the restoration is historically correct then what is the matter? Escuela Taller did [its] research and did not renovate, but instead restored it to how the chapel was in its day,” one user said.

“They have restored the crumbling structure and gave it a look that is based [on] the original design. The building [has] stood for over a hundred years and now it might stand for a hundred more,” another user commented.

The restoration process

The Diocese of Caloocan partnered with Escuela Taller to save the crumbling structure of the La Loma Cemetery Chapel, which was declared as a National Cultural Treasure.

They launched the project last June 19, 2021.

READ: Conservation of La Loma Cemetery chapel underway

Updates of the work were posted on their Facebook page.

In a post on May 1, Escuela Taller explained why the walls were painted yellow.

“Dilawan for a reason,” the post reads.

“Parts of the La Loma Cemetery Chapel’s facade re-painted in yellow ochre based on residues and material evidences found during our chipping off the wall’s layers of plastering,” it added.

Screenshot of a post from Escuela Taller on May 1, 2022

On May 20, the Cultural Heritage of the Diocese of Caloocan announced on Facebook that the heritage site’s restoration is finally complete after 11 months.

On the post, it was stated that members of Escuela Taller and other local authorities have already conducted a final inspection of the place.