via Philippine Inquirer, 04 October 2022: The story of how a community effort helped to protect the cultural heritage of a church in Silang, in Philippines’ Cavite province.
In October 2013, a violent earthquake struck the island of Bohol, damaging and destroying many heritage churches. In Silang, Cavite, realizing the threats posed by natural calamities on heritage structures and the need to have them protected, parish priest Fr. Marty Dimaranan thought of possible ways to avert such incidents on its national cultural treasure of a church dedicated to the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. He immediately convened a number of the church’s eminent parishioners, establishing the Silang Parish Council for Culture and Heritage with Aidel Paul Belamide, Rocherrie Bayot, Josefina Liwanag, Charito Madlansacay, Phillip Lacson Medina, Hilario Pallera, Teresita Unabia and Lynette Velazco as founding members.
The first activity of the group was an exhibit of church objects in a section of the first floor of its convent in 2013, followed by exhibits of old photographs of the same church and Marian vestments at the same convent two years after to raise heritage awareness among the people of Silang.
In 2014, a resolution was filed and approved by the Silang municipal council requesting for the church’s retablo mayor and menores to be declared National Cultural Treasures (NCT). In the two years that followed, the Far Eastern University-Manila, headed by architect-historian Lorelei de Viana, prepared the architectural-technical study of the retablos of Silang as a key document in the nomination of the retablos as NCT.