CCCPET, AUST launch Church Heritage Conservation Program with Diocese of Maasin, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro

The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro – Commission on Church Heritage, in cooperation with the Municipality of Jasaan, collaborated with the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and the Environment in the Tropics (UST GS CCCPET) and the Archivo de la Universidad de Santo Tomas (AUST) to undertake the church heritage conservation program titled “Jasaan: Retracing the Missionary Route into the Mindanao Interior.”

Coinciding with the national celebration of the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines, and the 400th year of the foundation of Cagayan, this program is composed of two projects. Project 1 is the Conservation Management Plan of the Jasaan Church and Project 2 is the Cultural Heritage Mapping of the Municipality of Jasaan. It envisions a deeper appreciation and renewed evangelization of church heritage into the daily lives of the people.

The Church Heritage Conservation Program of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro was held from September 21 to 25, 2021, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception Parish, a National Cultural Treasure Church, in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental.

The inaugural ceremony was highlighted by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, represented by Most Rev. Archbishop Jose Cabantan, D.D.; UST GS CCCPET, represented by its Director Dr. Eric B. Zerrudo; and AUST, represented by its Archivist Professor Regalado Trota Jose.
The event was witnessed by Jasaan Municipal Mayor Hon. Redentor Jardin, Parish Priest of Jasaan Rev. Fr. Demli Redeemer Valmores, and officials of the Jasaan Parish Restoration and Development Council Inc. (JPRDC).
The UST Heritage Specialist Team Batch 1 was composed of Asst. Prof. Eric Babar Zerrudo (Director, UST GS CCCPET), Prof. Regalado Trota Jose (Archivist, AUST), Joselito Corpus (Heritage Preservation Specialist), Rona Repancol (CHS Graduate and Stone Specialist), Cham Odan (CHS Student and Architect), Edgar Alan Sembrano (CHS Graduate and Journalist) and Beverly Bautista (CCCPET Coordinating Staff). The next batch of specialists will conduct fieldwork from November 13 to 19, 2021.

The UST GS CCCPET and the AUST also launched the long-term Church Heritage Conservation program for the Diocese of Maasin on September 4, 2021.

The program will develop the conservation management plans for the eight historically significant fortification-churches within the Diocese in the next four years. The informal launch was marked by the turnover of books by Zerrudo to Most Rev. Precioso Cantillas, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Maasin.
The program, spearheaded by Fr. Mark Vincent Salang, Chancellor and Chair of the Diocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, embarks from and enhances further the global significance of Limasawa Island, a parish under the Diocese and site of the first Easter Mass in the Philippines, officially declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

After three attempts to visit Southern Leyte because of the pandemic spike, the three-day preliminary inspection of the five-man UST Heritage Team was finally undertaken from September 3 to 5, 2021.
The rapid assessment covered the Punta Barangay Chapel, Baybay City, Leyte; Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Hilongos, Leyte; Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, Maasin City, Southern Leyte; Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Baybay City, Leyte; Santo Niño Church, Malitbog, Southern Leyte; Saint Joseph Church, Matalom, Leyte; Saint John the Baptist Church, San Juan, Southern Leyte, and Amparo Barangay Chapel, Macrohon, Southern Leyte.

The church heritage conservation team conducted the first extensive study and mapping at the Punta Church. The church was built around 1634 in Baybay City, Leyte.

All conservation management plans will be published by the Diocese as a legacy to the clergy and the community.

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