Philippine heritage: the list of national cultural treasures unveiled

From left to right: Bayombong Cathedral in Nueva Vizcaya, San Pablo Church in Isabela and Angustia Chapel in Tayabas

A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) is defined under the National Cultural Heritage Act 2009 as “a unique cultural property found locally, possessing exceptional historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to country and nation, and officially declared as such by the relevant cultural agency.

Meanwhile, the same law defines an Important Cultural Property (ICP) as “a cultural property having outstanding cultural, artistic, and historical significance to the Philippines, as determined by the National Museum and/or the National Historical Institute.”

Each year, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) declares NCTs and ICPs, but has not released the lists en masse in recent years as it has become more cautious, gaining approval from stakeholders first before releasing them. officially declare a site or structure as such. .

This task of reporting sites and structures was transferred to the authority of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2021 following the passage of the National Museum of the Philippines Act in 2019, which gave the NMP an exclusive museum function.

First time

Lifestyle obtained a paper from Ivan Henares of the International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage-Philippines on NMP Declared Sites and Structures from 2018 to 2020, a list not made public. Here is the complete list; these statements are mostly sites that date back to the Spanish colonial period.

It notably includes four new sites declared NCT: Cavite City, Panciteria Macanista de Buen Gusto, the Narvacan-Santa viaduct and the church of Apalit.

The NCTs declared in 2018 were the Nuestra Señora de las Angustias chapel, the ruins of the San Diego de Alcala chapel, the Cementerio de los Españoles and the Santuario de las Almas, and the Cementerio de los Indios and its mortuary chapel, all in Tayabas , Quezon; the Narvacan-Santa Viaduct in Ilocos Sur; the Philippine Normal University Buildings (Geronima T. Pecson Hall, or Main Building; Normal Hall; and the Old Training Department Building); and the Far Eastern University (FEU) Buildings and Immovable Cultural Properties, which include the Nicanor Reyes Hall, or Main Building, Engineering Building, Law Building, and Science Building, all designed by national artist Pablo Antonio Sr., the chapel designed by Felipe Mendoza, including the mosaic of Fatima on its facade, designed by Vicente Manansala, the paintings “Crucifixion of Christ” and “Via Crucis” by Botong Francisco, and the stained glass windows by Antonio Dumlao.

The bronze sculptures of Manansala at the FEU Quadrangle and the bas-reliefs by Francesco Monti in the lobby of the administration building have also been declared NCT.

Those declared NCT the following year were the Oblation concrete and bronze sculptures at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman by Guillermo Tolentino; Quezon Memorial Shrine by Federico Ilustre and “its intrinsic settings” in Quezon City; Juan Nakpil’s Quezon Institute Complex, also in Quezon City; The main building of the Cultural Center of the Philippines by Leandro Locsin, including the Manansala bas-relief titled “The Seven Arts”, Hernando Ocampo’s play “Woven Curtain” on the main theater stage, the triptych painting by Arturo Luz in the foyer of Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino and the woven curtain of Roberto Chabet on the stage of the Petit Théâtre; Philippine International Convention Center, also by Locsin and the artwork inside and outside the building, which includes Luz’s sculptures “Anito” and “Grid”, as well as the painting “Ang Pagdiriwang” by Jose Joya, and a wooden cabinet by Napoléon Abouéva; the Apalit Church complex and the ruins of the Tabuyuc Chapel in Apalit and the Church of San Luis in Pampanga; San Pablo de Cabagan Church Complex and Casa Real Ruins in San Pablo, Isabela; the religious complexes of Carcar, Sibonga, Argao, Dalaguete and Oslob in Cebu; the Magellan’s Cross Pavilion, Santo Niño Basilica Complex, Fort San Pedro, Plaza Independencia, and Cebu Customs in Cebu City; the fortifications of Palawan and their settings in the towns of Taytay, Dumaran, Culion, Linapacan, Agutaya, Cuyo, Cagayancillo and Balabac; Guadalupe Fort at San Jose, Antique, including its setting; Dapitan Church, Old Dapitan Municipal Hall and Dapitan Square in Zamboanga del Norte; and the Caysasay de Taal church complex, including Sta. Lucia Well, Hagdan-Hagdan and their parameters.

Cavity Peninsula

In 2019, the NMP declared the entire Cavite Peninsula, where the walled city of Cavite Puerto (now Cavite City) is located, as an NCT.

Included in this statement was the old causeway, now M. Valentino Street to Ramon Samonte Park to the Naval Station, Sta. The belfry of the Monica Church, the main gate and the western part of Fort San Felipe, and “the sites, vestiges and archaeological remains of its fortifications of the Spanish colonial era, buildings and military installations, shipyards, public monuments, public buildings, churches and religious buildings, private homes and establishments, streets and other infrastructure, as well as the anchorages and underwater sites associated with Bacoor and Cañacao Bay, and its overall intrinsic natural setting in relation to the surrounding water .

The Severino Laberto Building, or Buen Gusto’s Panciteria Macanista in Binondo, mentioned in Jose Rizal’s novel “El Filibusterismo,” led the statements in 2020.

Besides the Buen Gusto building, other statements that year included the ruins of Budiao Church in Daraga, Albay; Agoo watchtower in La Union; the Calape and Anda churches in Bohol; the Quezon watchtowers at Atimonan, Gumaca, Macalelon, Pitogo, and Unisan; watchtowers of Punta Portuguesa in Sual, Pangasinan and in Gabu Sur, Laoag, Ilocos Norte; the archaeological sites of Ayub Cave at Maitum in Sarangani, New Ibajay at El Nido in Palawan and Kamhantik at Mulanay in Quezon; Shell Midden site in Lal-lo and Gattaran in Cagayan; Taytay Boni at Miag-ao in Iloilo, Spanish era bridge in Sta. Maria in Ilocos Sur and Paoay Bridge in Ilocos Norte; and the Church of San Vicente complex comprising Escuela, Municipio and Asilo de San Vicente in Ilocos Sur.

Important cultural properties

For the ICP category, the NMP declared in 2018 San Lorenzo Martyr Church Complex, Old Tigbi Escuela Building, Nuestra Señora de Salvacion Church Complex and Simbahanan Church Ruins in Tiwi, Albay ; the Marikina Church, including the Jesus de la Peña Chapel, the Shoe Museum and the Kapitan Moy, Chanyungco and Zamora Heritage Houses; the vitu wells of Batan and Sabtang in Batanes; the Karaang Jasaan archaeological site in Misamis Oriental; church complexes of Malate, Manila and Duero, Bohol; Sabang Bridge between Ibaan and the city of Batangas; Spanish era bridge in Sampaloc, Quezon; Philippine General Hospital Buildings (Central Administration, Service Pavilions, Dispensary, Nurses’ House); the main building of the Philippine School for the Deaf in Pasay; Mirador Hill Jesuit Complex including the Lourdes Grotto in Baguio City; the chapel of St. Paul’s University in Manila and the Fleur-de-lis theatre; the Chapel and Administration Building of Santa Isabel College in Manila; Adamson University Buildings (St. Vincent Building, St. Theresa Building, St. Vincent de Paul Church); Letran buildings in Intramuros (Saint-Jean-Baptiste building, Saint-Raymond de Peñafort building, Saint-Dominique de Guzman building, site and archaeological remains of the former Dominican convent); Bahay na Tisa from Pasig; College Sainte-Scholastique buildings (Sainte-Cécile room, chapel, Sainte-Scholastique building, Sainte-Hildegarde building); Redemptorist Church in Baclaran; Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat inside San Beda University in Manila; and St. La Salle Hall at De La Salle University Manila.

old buildings

Meanwhile, the Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmeña statues by Guillermo Tolentino at the Old Legislative Building were declared ICP in 2019, along with the Philam Life sculptures by Jose Alcantara and the Philam Life paintings by Manansala; Edsa Sanctuary by Francisco Mañosa; Pablo Antonio’s Bel Air Apartments and Jose Maria Zaragoza’s Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, as well as his Meralco Building in Pasig and the Commercial Bank and Trust Company Building in Escolta; The Makati Stock Exchange building in Locsin and the former Nielsen Airport passenger terminal and control tower in Makati; the statues of Carlos P. Garcia and Sandugo in Tagbilaran; Bank of the Philippine Islands-Cebu by Juan Arellano in Cebu City as well as Casa Gorordo, Jesuit House, Yap-San Diego House; The old Cebu Provincial Hall (now Museo Sugbu), Fuente Osmeña, the Gotiaco Building (the old Compaña Maritima building), and the San Vitalis y La Immaculada Concepcion church complex; The heritage houses of Tagbilaran (Rocha House, Rocha-Suarez House, Rocha-Hontañosa House, Yap House, Belda House); Plaza Rizal, Escuela de Niñas, Escuela de Niños Site, San Jose Obrero Church Complex, all in Tagbilaran; Old Balilihan Municipio in Bohol; Rizal; UP Diliman buildings designed by Juan Nakpil (Quezon Hall, Gonzalez Hall, Carillon Tower); Mañosa Coconut Palace; Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Locsin; Federico Ilustre’s former GSIS building, the Quirino Stand and the National Planetarium in Manila; San Fernando Bridge, also known as Puente de General Blanco in Binondo; Manila City Hall and the nearby National Water and Sewerage Authority building; Former Ministry of Agriculture and Trade and former Ministry of Finance buildings in Rizal Park, now part of the NMP complex; the old Makati Presidency, San Pedro Macati Church, Guadalupe Church and San Nicolas Ermita; the National Arts Center of Locsin in Los Baños; Isabel II monument in Arevalo, Iloilo, including its setting; Facade of the Tigbauan Church in Iloilo; Former ancient provincial capitol in San Jose de Buenavista; the Isabela church complexes in the towns of Gamu, Cauayan and Alicia; the Cathedral Complex of Nueva Vizcaya of Santo Domingo in Bayombong, the Church Complex of Bambang and the Belfry of Bagabag; the ruins of the old Taal Church in what is now San Nicolas, Batangas; the Cathedral of Puerto Princesa and the nearby ruins of Cuarteles and Plaza Rizal; the archaeological and petrographic sites of Anda in Bohol; and the archaeological site of a kiln built during the Spanish period at Alubijid, Misamis Occidental.

Heritage dams

The American-era Wawa Dam and its location at Montalban, Rizal, was also declared an ICP along with the Spanish-era Ligas Dam between Las Piñas City and Bacoor, Cavite. The last one is today called Molino dam, but there are many “Molino” dams in Bacoor. These last two cities are the first recognitions of this type for the heritage dams of the country, subject of specialization of this writer.

In 2020, NMP declared Balili House and Former Holy Spirit School Building in Tagbilaran ICP; Bahay na Tisa in Bacoor, Cavite; Bank of China building in Binondo; lighthouses on Balicasag Island in Panglao and Loon, Bohol; Kerr and Co. Building, Ynchausti y Compañia Building (now the Philippine Economic History Museum), Customs House on Muelle Loney, and Casa Real with the Arroyo Fountain, all in Iloilo City; the Spanish-era milestone leguarios at Ilocos Norte (Pasuquin and Laoag) and Tayum, Abra; the churches of Bohol (Tubigon, Talibon, Jagna, Guindulman, Carmen, Balilihan); Binondo Church; Currimao port complex in Ilocos Norte which includes the harbor master’s house, the wharf and the tobacco warehouse; Bacoor Church in Cavite; and the tower-belfry of Dumaguete. -CONTRIBUTED

Edward K. Thompson