ucanews.com reporter, BoholUpdated: March 02, 2018 06:14 AM GMT
The facade and bell tower of the centuries-old Baclayon church, that collapsed in October 2013, has been restored. (Photo by Vincent Go)
Archbishop Gabriel Giordano Caccia, papal nuncio to the Philippines, witnessed the handover this week of a newly restored church to Tagbilaran Diocese in Bohol province.
The Immaculate Conception parish church in Baclayon town, a renowned Spanish colonial structure and historical landmark, was destroyed by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in October 2013.
The town of Baclayon was founded by Jesuit priest Juan de Torres and Gabriel Sanchez in 1596, and became the oldest Christian settlement in the central Philippine province.
The old destroyed coral stone church was completed in 1727 and renovated by the Augustinian Recollects in 1768.
The church was declared a "national cultural treasure" by the Philippine government and had been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 1993.
Reconstruction of the church following the earthquake was spearheaded by the National Museum of the Philippines.
Archbishiop Caccia commended the local church and the Philippine government for working together. "When there is harmony, there is peace and joy," said the prelate.