Restoration of the Early 18th-Century La Inmaculada Concepcion Church in Guiuan, Province of Eastern Samar

Program Year: 2014

Awarding Agency: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (under the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Program)

Partner: National Museum of the Philippines         

Amount: US$300,000

Status: Ongoing

Project Summary: The Project aims to conduct a partial restoration the church, which was severely damaged during Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. Known for its coral construction and unique seashell interior decoration, the church is one of few in the Philippines to retain a high degree of architectural integrity, as well as its original retables and other furnishings. The scope of work includes feasibility and engineering studies as well as emergency stabilization measures to halt the deterioration of the coral masonry walls/interiors.  Specific activities include masonry consolidation and restoration of the church and the adjacent bell tower, reconstruction of the roofs (both church and bell tower), and restoration of the retables, altars, and interior finishes, including the repainting of the ceiling.  The work is divided in 3 phases: Phase 1 – documentation, recovery and technical assessment of the structure (to include clearing of debris, recovery of liturgical objects and other retrievable church ornamentation, and conduct of detailed engineering study);  Phase 2 – implementation of actual restoration work (to include retrofitting of façade, side walls, trance and altar., stone consolidation, wall plastering with lime mixture, restoration of entire roofing, ceiling, doors and windows, and provision of drainage system of the entire church complex); and Phase 3 – conservation and restoration of altars and other liturgical objects (to include restoration of main and side altars, restoration of the baptistery ceiling paintings and pulpits, conservation of the tile flooring and at the interior side walls, and provision of roofing at the bell tower).

Citation: The La Inmaculada Concepcion Church is listed as a National Cultural Treasure in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Properties.