Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Changes through time - a sequel

This subsequent development accounts on the issue of renovation of the Dipolog Cathedral. As this topic awakens my knowledge in history, pride of our people and preserving Architecture...

History has it, that, in the year 1894, a Jesuit priest erected this church, and through his efforts, he set to prepare it to become a parish two years after its foundation was laid.. details on the interior design and style was explained in the previous entry... and more of Cathedral chronicles click here...

The original church facade was built out of a concept of aesthetics that meets with functionality. The design was rendered in a Medieval secular type of Architecture prevalent during those times . It is a flawless example of a Pre-Romanesque and Spanish Baroque style in the Philippines. The portico of the facade is characterized by the use of slightly pointed arches and king-sized windows with details in rhythmic patterns and cherubs in a Bas-Relief manner...(the interior side walls of the church also has a similar pattern that of the old facade). The identical towers if I'm not mistaken serves as watch towers than a belfry. This is common among churches in the old days that serves as protection of the people from marauding pirates.

I was told that, when this church was ordered for construction at the end of the 19th century, a number of Boholano natives were commissioned to built it, and one of them was my Great grandfather from the town of Maribojoc, Bohol (an island in the Visayas region also known for its Majestic Colonial period Churches)....although, this needs further research but this interest can be supported by one of the largest clan in Dipolog today.

This Old facade have witnessed the development of the place, survived World Wars I & II, famine and other calamities....and welcomed the names of famous historical figures like the National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal.... (inset: Former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Romualdez)


In the 1970's, the facade was demolished and redesigned due to its dilapidated condition and its done in a Neo-classical style... they never gave way for restoring the Old one..Its porticoes adds grandeur to this simple yet modern style Architecture..but, it only lived for four decades.


This year, a tremendous amount of change was made...this time, it is rendered in stone brick work...not usual for any of the previously mentioned Architectural Movements....its details and style may have been borrowed and copied from centuries old churches and it adds attraction...but it failed to to retain the originality and the uniqueness of what It was once a magnificent Church...

Being a descendant of one of the builders of this Church, it is also my duty to bring forth the voice of my distant ancestors....and share a story of a great work or Art lost forever....

The above old photos became a tangible proof of the magnificence and splendor of the old Cathedral facade in my hometown. This blog entry is in a way of expressing gratitude to Dr. Louis Felipe B. Lacaya's efforts in digging up these vintage photos from his collection, as this, has become a window to our past.

Thanks to: Mrs. Fe R. Montilla, Maryan Tizon, Juanna Mercado,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Changes through time

I was told that the Cathedral in my hometown was given a face lift this year...I have been away in Dipolog for quite a while and this news about the renovation of the City's Oldest Architectural Monument was a BIG thing for me.... so I relied on photos to see the look of a new church's my surprise, I was halfway close to disappointed by the outcome!.

As far as I can remember, there were restorations, renovations and alterations being made in this Neoclassical - Romanesque Architecture Cathedral for the past 3o years...

In the early 80's, the rows of gigantic columns leading the faithful's gaze to the high altar were removed, possibly for a reason of accommodating more parishioners as more church benches were added. A big mistake!

In the mid 90's, under the ecclesiastical supervision of Msgr. Esteban C. Gaudicos, VG. he ordered the full restoration of the exact replica of the main Altar or Retablo which was executed in Abstract Baroque by the extraordinary genius Dr. Jose Rizal during his exile in Dapitan....this was a triumph in the Cathedral's history as they try to revive the old glory of the church. But!..... they failed to use the exact materials of Philippine hardwood as instructed by the National hero himself more than a 110 years ago...What you see now is a cold marble structure from an unknown quarry... this could raise issues questioning the authenticity of the design....visibly today, there isn't even a marker of validation from the National Historical Institute that recognizes Rizal's contribution to the church's history.

In time of the Christian Jubilee, the church ceiling coffered with panelings all rendered in wood was fully restored....bringing back the golden age of the Cathedral. These exquisite artesonado ceilings are what made the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral famous and much beloved by all faithful and religious parishioners. The hand carved faces of the four evangelists in the central apse above is as old as the church....This is one of the few churches in the entire Philippines that has maintained and restored the magnificent hand carved ceilings....a National treasure!

In the last 10 years, the church interior walls, niches and side ceilings has undergone a lot of repainting from shades of pastel greens to powder blue then changed into Cream and Lemon chiffon hues and tones. At present, the side columns and arches were painted with Burgundy to Burnt Umber with shades of white trimmings particularly gave a feeling of old colonial palette...and I want to call this as a flawless craftsmanship!... In contrast to this are the long pews of what it used to be in natural wood altered, its fate suffers in Peach color... a very distracting site!

Apparently, the restoration of the Cathedral's facade gives more enthrallment to the Church distinctive identity its magnificence awakens the pride of every Dipolognon but with a closer look at the details one can notice that:

- The main entrance is too narrow... and the 5 arches are too massive in width, its distance from one arch to another is far-off and the its height is shortened from its base. It is the exact opposite of the original main entrance wherein all parishioners can freely walk in and out before and after mass..

- The statues of saints on the ground level were almost dwarfed by the sheer size and magnitude of the whole church..the statues height and anatomy doesn't compliment with the whole structure...

A more closer look at this newly restored facade it reveals a slight similarity of the famous Manila Cathedral in Intramuros (enclosed picture) even the arrangement of the statues of saints on the lower level.. is a copy cat like attempt.

Nevertheless, the beauty of this church is further enhanced by warm chrome yellow tones of the stone bricks... a perfect site as each day this church is kissed by a golden sunset.

This Church has stood the test of time and it still continues to be the living example of the Catholic faith and never fails to welcome all believers..........and it'll be a BIG challenge for future restorers.

Special Thanks to: Maryan Tizon, Juanna Mercado, Sharon Santiago
Photos Courtesy of:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Art and Patriotism

To the rest of the world, "Cory Aquino" will always be remembered as the simple woman who restored Democracy and freedom in the Philippines, a very courageous president who made changes and became one of the great Asian leaders of our time. Aside from her works and efforts in public life, she also left us a number of remarkable works of Art....

(It took me a while to blog this for the reason that my eyes were hook on the telly watching history unfolds as the whole Filipino nation bids farewell to Cory)....

Her life as an Artist began years after she stepped down from the presidency......."In 1996, Cory took an active interest in painting under the tutelage of artist Jeff Consumo. Next to prayer, painting became a favored mode of keeping her mind active and her sense of humanity intact. Although she participated in a joint exhibit with friends and has sold some of her works to raise funds for her advocacies, she does not profess to be a professional painter. She likes to paint flower and women, usually in oil and acrylic on canvas".

Her works may not be as grand in terms of application of paints and colors, of techniques and style but it is more on the subject and content of her paintings that evokes to a lot of meaning. Her sense of spirituality is deeply shown in some of her works, her love of nature expresses gentleness in her brushstrokes and subjects that connotes women empowerment. Most of her works were given as gifts to people close to her and was well received with a kind of elegant intelligence.

Her legacy lives on forever!....