Cebu Daily News article on Balaanong Bahandi

Below is Jobers Bersales’ article at Cebu Daily News on the Balaanong Bahandi photo exhibit that appeared today. It is also available online.

Showcasing, publishing sacred treasures
Jobers Bersales
Cebu Daily News

At exactly 4 p.m. tomorrow, 50 of the best photographs of Cebu’s churches and their unique features will be exhibited at the Cathedral Museum of Cebu. I invite the public to be at the opening and witness the pre-selling of a book soon to be released in November entitled “Balanong Bahandi: Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu.”

The exhibited photographs will be part of over 1,000 that will make the 300-page book a coveted tome for years to come. It is our hope that whoever comes to view this exhibit, which will run till August 3, will help fund the project by pledging the severely discounted price of P1,500 for every book he or she intends to own. Already, many have begun shelling out this amount and even more, in effect making them proud parents of this singular volume that will be printed with their help.

It is difficult to shower praise on this noble undertaking especially when I am part of this project as its editor and coordinator; for my biases will probably show. Nevertheless, let me venture to explain and recount what has happened that brought me and over a handful of people to this project.

The impetus to do this was the occasion that presented itself: the diamond jubilee of the elevation of the diocese of Cebu (established in 1595) to an archdiocese (in 1934). Things moved faster than we anticipated. In just two or three meetings, the Jubilee Committee members approved the project presented to them by Msgr. Carlito Pono, chairman of the archdiocesan heritage commission, and yours truly. Since Fr. Felipe Redondo published his Breve Reseña delo que Fue y de lo que es la Diocesis de Cebu in 1886, no one has ever published a book on Cebu’s parish churches. The Cathedral Museum of Cebu, the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, and University of San Carlos Press have therefore taken that single step to finally do it.

The call for writers was heeded fast: Louella Alix, Fr. Brian Brigoli, Arch. Melva Rodriguez-Java, Trizer Dale Mansueto and Arnold Carl Sancover stepped forward without fuss. The photographers we needed were just within our midst, starting with Lorenz Gibb Lapinid and Mark Andrew Jorolan, who always take shots of every event hosted not just by the Cathedral Museum but many other places like Casa Gorordo, Museo Sugbo, Sto. Niño Basilica, or the myriad series of fiestas that make Cebu a haven for photographers. Estan Cabigas, the principal photographer of the book, “Philippine Church Facades” (written by Fr. Pedro Galende, OSA and published by San Agustin Museum), readily agreed to join. The three were later joined by Gil Maningo (of Kulas tee-shirt fame) and Fr. Jun Rebayla, SVD (treasurer of the SVD Southern Province) as well as Carlos Apuhin (BPI senior manager) and Rudy Alix (better half of Louella and the artist behind many resin sculptures made by Presents & Such).

Other than photography, Caloy Apuhin has also been our point man in the financial aspects of the project, together with Mary Frances “Frankie” Despi, who has ably pulled strings around to make sure the exhibition will be a complete success.

The die is cast. There is no turning back. Fifty-eight chapters of the book are being written as I write. Photographs of the best features of every parish church in Cebu, including those that have just been established, will soon make their debut in “Balaanong Bahandi.” Be part then of this noble undertaking.

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