Today is a Sunday. And I found it apt to look back at the damage caused by the massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake to a natural wonder and fourteen heritage churches because of how much it tells us Filipinos about our heritage and the Catholic faith, which many of us are part of. Pardon if I haven’t posted something on helping the Boholanos and Cebuanos rise, I have another post especially for them.
Before looking at the photos, allow me to enumerate a few of the lessons I learned from this natural calamity:
The earthquake is a call to us Filipinos to appreciate our heritage and the history that comes along with each artifact. It is a call for us to visit our own historical sites before jetting off to other places. We have always thought that the churches would be there, and that “all of them are the same so why bother visiting?” At the end of the day, hills and churches are made of earth, and they will crumble back to it.
The earthquake is a call to our heritage preservation agencies, the Department of Education, Department of Tourism, the private sector and even the UNESCO to support rebuilding these sites and promoting them to the public through education and local tourism. These sites are meant to be appreciated, by Filipinos and non-Filipinos, Catholics and people of other faiths alike.
Lastly, the earthquake is a call to Filipino Catholics to go beyond attending mass in a physical church and performing rituals. While attending mass and performing rituals are meaningful and us Catholics must understand the meaning of performing them (I have yet to dig deeper on this again), our faith is beyond that. The Christian faith is beyond that, and so we are called to not just attend mass at churches but actually attend to Churches – the Christian communities whom God called us to engage with to praise Him and live out The Word and people in general. As these physical churches will be rebuilt, we must also rebuild ourselves outside of the pews, away from the altar, and from within. And I think engaging God’s Word in written form is a great way to start.
Now on to the photos.
UPDATE: Photos of five more churches that were partially or totally damaged by the earthquake: