A picture is worth a thousand words. In the picture, see what happened to Duero Church.
Duero Church in Bohol is the only church from the Spanish colonial period built totally of wood. The polychroming (hand-painting) of its interior walls was outstanding.
For those reasons, it could have been declared a National Cultural Treasure, which would have put it on the select list of cultural elite properties of the Philippines.
But with what has been done to the church, all of its character, uniqueness and special identity have been varnished away together with its chance for national recognition and possible access to conservation funds.
Are there laws to prevent this sort of thing, the obliteration of heritage, from happening?
RA 10066, the Cultural Heritage Law, protects structures of national importance. Duero Church would so obviously have fallen into protected classification specified by the law, and, therefore, the travesty that happened should not have been.
Sad to say, there are many other travesties of this nature that go unrecognized and unrecorded. There are many structures that once were very special heritage icons like Duero Church that “well-meaning” but what is in actuality totally insensitive remodeling has downgraded into a bland shadow of what they used to be.
The thing about heritage is that once it goes away, it almost always never comes back. It’s gone forever.
Ivan Henares happened to have visited the church recently and took this picture that says it all.