Sta. Barbara Church nat’l cultural treasure marker unveiled

His Eminence, Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato and National Museum of the Philippines Assistant Director Angel Bautista unveil the National Cultural Marker of the Sta. Barbara Church and Convent, December 3. They were assisted by NHCP Chairman Maria Serena Diokno, Governor Arthur Defensor, Congressman Arcadio Gorriceta, Mayor Dennis Superficial and Vice Mayor Rema Somo. Photo by PIA-6
His Eminence, Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato and National Museum of the Philippines Assistant Director Angel Bautista unveil the National Cultural Marker of the Sta. Barbara Church and Convent, December 3. They were assisted by NHCP Chairman Maria Serena Diokno, Governor Arthur Defensor, Congressman Arcadio Gorriceta, Mayor Dennis Superficial and Vice Mayor Rema Somo. Photo by PIA-6

Sta. Barbara town earned another historical marker commemorating the declaration of its parish church and convent as national cultural treasure.

The national cultural marker was unveiled recently to the public in a ceremony led by His Eminence Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, and National Museum of the Philippines Assistant Director Angel Bautista.

National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Ma. Serena Diokno, Governor Arthur Defensor, Congressman Arcadio Gorriceta, Mayor Dennis Superficial and Vice Mayor Rema Somo also joined Quevedo and Bautista during the unveiling ceremony.

The National Museum of the Philippines confirmed the status of the Sta. Barbara Church and Convent as a national cultural treasure through its declaration no. 10-2013 which was signed by Jeremy Barns, Director of the National Museum on November 17, 2013.

According to the declaration, “The Church, of Baroque-Renaissance style, together with the convent or rectory and other elements of the complex, is one of the best preserved examples of the Spanish colonial church architecture in the province, and is emblematic of the unique, outstanding and intact quality and historical, cultural and artistic significance of the Augustinian churches of the Western Visayas dating from that period.”

In 1991, the National Historical Commission which is now NHCP also declared the church as a National Historical Landmark in recognition of its contribution to history as the headquarters of the revolutionary forces against Spain in the Visayas during the Philippine Revolution.

Built in 1849 and was finished in 1878, Sta. Barbara Church is Baroque-Renaissance architecture made from quarried stones from neighboring towns of Leon, Alimodian and Tubungan on its ground floor and so with the hardwood of mulawon and mangle on the second floor. The famous earthquake locally known as “Lady Caycay” on January 25, 1948 destroyed parts of the church including the walls of the two side altars. Msgr. Enrique Perez restored the church and convent in 1979.

The NHCP poured in P39,740,078 and the Office of Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. some P5,000,000 for the restoration of the church and convent which was completed in May this year.

Sta. Barbara Tourism Officer Irene Magallon said the Sta. Barbara Church and Convent is the third National Cultural Treasure in Panay Island. The two others are San Joaquin Church and Panay Church in Capiz.