I first came across this wonderful exhibit, Hidden Treasures of the Philippines, A Photo Exhibit of Vintage Churches at the Ortigas Foundation Library while online and it was just past noon today that I have finally visited it. If you’re in Manila, now, you should catch it as it will end by next week, third week of June.
Hidden Treasures is just a selection of 35 churches, a kumbento (parish house) and an horno (oven) of the over 300 structures that the two photographers, Betty Lalana and Boy Arboleda, both working with the foundation, took over a period of 10 years. A brainchild of their employer, Atty. Rafael Ortigas Jr., they have scoured every nook and cranny of the country, from Metro Manila to the remote barrios where these gems are still existing.
The exhibit showcases churches and related structures in 51 images. Ones that are not so familiar and to most tourists and Filipinos, not known. These include the brick wonders of Cagayan Valley: San Pablo, Gamu, Cauayan, and Tumauini in Isabela. Lal-lo, Gattaran, Malaueg and the antique and huge brick ovens of Camalaniugan and Tuguegarao in Cagayan province. Tayum in Abra shows off it’s simple yet beautiful façade.
There’s the cemetery chapel of Tayabas. Bicol is represented with the churches of Nabua, Tigaon, Lagonoy, San Jose, Paracale, Caramoan, Bato and Barcelona. Tigbauan, Sta. Barbara and Leon are just some from Panay. Tubigon with it’s beautiful painted dome in Bohol, Lazi in Siquijor, Maasin and Hilongos in Leyte as well as Navalas in Guimaras. The fortress church of Cuyo makes an appearance for Palawan while Jimenez in Misamis Occidental for Mindanao.
The quality of the images are good and the photographers not only showed façades but some details as well. The exhibit is curated by Jonathan Best. Visit the Ortigas Foundation Library website for their contact numbers as well as a location map.