Earthquake damage on Dalaguete Church

The parish church of San Guillermo de Aquitania in the municipality of Dalaguete suffered heavy damage during the 15 October earthuake

The parish church of San Guillermo de Aquitania in the municipality of Dalaguete suffered heavy damage during the 15 October earthuake

The fateful day of 15 October 2013, when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Sagbayan in Central Bohol was an unexpected cataclysm. Almost all the heritage churches of that province were badly damaged with two churches in Maribojoc and Loon went down in rubble.

The neighboring island province of Cebu was also badly affected with several buildings damaged and structures suffering cracks. Two days after the disaster, me and friends from the Cathedral Museum of Cebu inspected some churches in the southeastern side, from Carcar to Argao and I was able to photograph the damages suffered in these structures. A day before this trip, I also surveyed city heritage structures that includes four churches and a cemetery chapel.

If one will draw a horizontal line from Cebu’s southeastern municipality of Dalaguete and extend it eastward till Bohol, that line will be between Loon and Maribojoc municipalities in Bohol, two towns where the centuries old churches were reduced to rubble during the 15 October earthquake. While it might be inconsequential, but Dalaguete, next to the Sto. Nino Basilica in Cebu City seems to be the second Cebu church to sustain heavy damage.

The parish church of San Guillermo de Aquitaña was constructed starting 1802 by Fray Juan Chacel. It was finished in 1825 while the 33 meter high octagonal belfry was constructed between 1859-1860. It is one of the beautiful churches built by the Augustinians that comprise the southern Cebu heritage trail.

The damage of the earthquake to the church is critical. First, there are several cracks around the church and kumbento. The facade has a top to bottom crack in the middle, the the same with another one at the belfry side. The belfry itself sustained large cracks, which might be due to the whiplash effect and the way it looks, a big portion of the top to middle can just slide off, falling to the front of the church if another big tremor will happen. The top of the facade has somewhat tilted forward a little that opened up the ceiling at the choir loft.

The apex of the back wall also fell with coral stones and rubble falling into the sacristy. Miraculously, a part fell into the glass case of the Nuestra Señora de Manaoag but only falling at the side of the image. While the antique wooden image of San Agustin, perched at the topmost niche of the retablo mayor turned left while its miter fell to the ground.

At the kumbento, there are superficial cracks and heavy damaged too although, the engineer with us said that the foundations are still okay. A portion of the kitchen floor fell to the ground while plaster cracked and fell exposing the tabique pampango walling.There were also several cracks around doors and another one on the arch above the staircase.

Cracks on the facade of the church which goes from top to bottom, left. Right, one of the finials at the facade

Cracks on the facade of the church which goes from top to bottom, left. Right, one of the finials at the facade

The belfry of the church suffered the heaviest. The cracks are such that a huge portion of the upper stories can slide anytime

The belfry of the church suffered the heaviest. The cracks are such that a huge portion of the upper stories can slide anytime

Central finial of facade where the metal cross is supplanted also got damaged

Central finial of facade where the metal cross is supplanted also got damaged

Upper portion of the church's back that crumbled and fell down the sacristy

Upper portion of the church’s back that crumbled and fell down the sacristy

Sacristy, located at the back of the apse where the top portion of the back wall fell. Fortunately, a big portion didn't destroy the Our Lady of Manaoag image.

Sacristy, located at the back of the apse where the top portion of the back wall fell. Fortunately, a big portion didn’t destroy the Our Lady of Manaoag image.

Cracks on the main portal which extends top to bottom

Cracks on the main portal which extends top to bottom

The mitre of the wooden image of San Agustin which fell from its topmost niche at the retablo mayor when the earthquake struck. The image moved to face left.

The mitre of the wooden image of San Agustin which fell from its topmost niche at the retablo mayor when the earthquake struck. The image moved to face left.

The top of the facade seemed to have moved front thus exposing the top and creating cracks on the facade

The top of the facade seemed to have moved front thus exposing the top and creating cracks on the facade

Left, the old wooden altar flung to the ground due to the tremor; right, on e of the kumbento's doors suffered a crack and damage

Left, the old wooden altar flung to the ground due to the tremor; right, on e of the kumbento’s doors suffered a crack and damage

Damaged walls of kumbento where in coral stone finishing crumbled and exposed the piedra bituca

Damaged walls of kumbento where in coral stone finishing crumbled and exposed the piedra bituca

A portion of the kitchen floor fell down to the first level

A portion of the kitchen floor fell down to the first level

The plaster cracked and peeled off, exposing the tabique pampango walls

The plaster cracked and peeled off, exposing the tabique pampango walls

Inside the kumbento, the arch above the stairs cracked at strategic points

Inside the kumbento, the arch above the stairs cracked at strategic points

Detail of kumbento cracks at one of its doors near the kitchen

Detail of kumbento cracks at one of its doors near the kitchen

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