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The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will supervise the restoration of the historic church and convent of Santa Barbara, Iloilo in time for the 2015 Philippine Independence Day celebration.
“President Benigno Aquino III will celebrate Philippine Independence Day in 2015 outside of Metro Manila and he has chosen Santa Barbara, Iloilo to host the event,” disclosed NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy.
“This is the reason why NHCP will be restoring the church and convent, an initiative that requires an amount of P50 million,” Badoy added.
In its 2013 budget, the NHCP has set aside P20 million for the project and an additional P10 million will be earmarked in its 2014 budget.
“For the remaining P20 million, Senate President Franklin Drilon committed to provide P10 million while Governor Arthur Defensor and Congressman Arcadio Gorriceta will provide P5 million each,” Badoy beamed.
Badoy was here on July 31, 2013 to meet with Defensor and Santa Barbara Mayor Dennis Superficial on the project.
In 1991, the NHCP declared the Santa Barbara Church and Convent as a National Landmark, it being the site where General Martin Delgado of the Visayan Revolutionary Government convened the junta that raised the first Cry of Revolution against Spain outside Luzon.
According to historical accounts, its churchyard that time was packed with Filipino soldiers, armed with bolos and eager to fight for freedom.
The church was built in 1845 and is of Baroque Renaissance architecture. Its facade is neoclassic, proven by twinned neoclassic pilasters and finials.
The convent is reminiscent of Moorish architecture.
The interior of the church is neoclassic in style and has three altars. (NCLujan/Capitol News)