April 23, 2024

Three places of worship, which are considered heritage assets, and two historic sites in the Cordillera suffered major and partial damage as a result of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked various provinces in Luzon morning of July 27.

In Abra, where the epicenter of the earthquake was recorded, the Department of Tourism reported the Sta. Catalina de Alexandria Church in Tayum and San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine in Bangued were heavily damaged.

The DOT said the centuries-old churches were declared by the National Museum as national cultural treasures.

The Sta. Catalina de Alexandria Church or Tayum Church is a 19th century baroque church while the San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine is the oldest and largest in the Cordillera, according to the DOT.

In Besao, the local government reported the St. Benedict Church in Barangay Kin-iway was also heavily damaged by the earthquake.

“The stone church was built in 1940 and has survived earthquakes in the past. After the municipal engineers inspected and assessed the extent of the damage, it was deemed to be unsafe – the columns are unstable, among other structural damages,” the Besao municipal government posted in its Facebook account.

Two historic sites – the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel in Ifugao and the Mt. Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province – both managed  by the Tourism Infrastructure and Economic  Zone Authority sustained structural damage.

Banaue Hotel sustained a partial damage on its ceiling. It has been closed even before the earthquake due to a collapsed riprap, brought about by the flashflood that affected the municipality weeks ago.

Mt. Data Hotel also reported the ceiling of its fireplace and lobby collapsed.

In Baguio City, the Lafaayette Luxury Suites Hotel and Crown Legacy reported minor cracks and other damage in their buildings.

In Baguio and Benguet, the Diocese of Baguio reported 14 churches incurred hairline cracks on their walls, but were declared safe for use as no cracks on their columns and beams, except for a church in La Trinidad, Benguet where large cracks on its walls are visible and is undergoing further assessment.

The six Diocesan schools in Baguio were reported to have incurred hairline cracks on their walls, but were declared safe for use.

DOT Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco has directed the DOT regional offices to coordinate with their respective local government units so they could determine the extent of damage and extend assistance to tourism-related establishments affected.

“We will request Tieza to prioritize assessment of the cultural treasures affected by the recent earthquake recognizing the need to protect and sustain our heritage and cultural treasures for the benefit and welfare of our future generations,” Frasco said in a statement.

Heritage structures in Ilocos Sur were also heavily damaged.

The DOT reported among the damaged structures are the Vigan Cathedral, Syquia House, an ancestral home-turned museum, Hotel Linda, and several heritage and ancestral houses along the Vigan Heritage Village.

The Bantay Bell Tower in Bantay and St. John The Baptist Church in San Juan recorded damage. – Jane B. Cadalig