Thursday, February 15, 2018

Full restoration of oldest Ilocos church kicks off this year

Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The Diocese of Laoag and the residents of Piddig town look forward to the full restoration of the 207-year-old St. Anne parish church in Piddig, Ilocos Norte, about 30 kilometers from this city.

Father Carlito “Joey” Ranjo Jr., Diocese of Laoag spokesperson said it took about two years for restoration experts to study the church structure and materials used to determine the right approach to fully restore the church.

After the conduct of several digging operations in the church wall and some parts of the church compound, Mr. Ranjo clarified these were all part of the process contrary to allegations that the excavation was due to “treasure hunting”.

“We hope the church restoration with start this January as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines already approved an initial funding of PHP50 million,” said Mr. Ranjo.

In September 2014, Laoag diocese closed the St. Anne parish due to structural problems.

A month later, local officials of Piddig town initiated steps to declare the old church as a “heritage structure”.

Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” C. FariƱas endorsed the said initiative, prompting the NHCP and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to allocate some funds for the restoration of the church.

Nestled on top of a hill at the town’s central business district, the Augustinians founded the St. Anne parish in 1810.

During the Philippine-American War, a five-member team of Filipino guerrillas used the church as a base to repel American attacks.
An earthquake toppled the top section of the bell tower on March 19, 1932. Church and local residents repaired the damage.

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