Earthquake damage on Sibonga Church

Facade of the parish church of Sibonga with its neogothic inspired architecture

Facade of the parish church of Sibonga with its neogothic inspired architecture

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.

The parish church of Sibonga, under the patronage of Nuestra Sra. del Pilar de Zaragoza is just along the highway in southwestern Cebu and part of the heritage trail. It is one of two churches in the province constructed during the latter part of Spanish colonization that is in the neogothic architectural style.

Sibonga was a visita of Carcar as early as 1690 and later of Argao, Pedro Galende, OSA wrote in his book, Angels in Stone. It only became a parish in 1830. Construction of the present church started by Fray Juan Alonso, parish priest, 1868-1881 but was almost finished when the revolution against Spain broke out in 1898.

Unlike the churches in Carcar, Dalaguete and the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino, the earthquake of 15 October only wrought slight, superficial damages on the structure. Most are cracks near and around the portals, both sides of main columns and few pieces of dislodged coral stones from a lancet arch at the sacristy entrance from outside. The biggest crack is at a portion near the corner of the gospel side wall.

Cracks around the coral stone church, interior and exterior

Cracks around the coral stone church, interior and exterior. Right, crack from an earlier earthquake, probably February 2013.

Cracks around the coral stone church, interior

Cracks around the coral stone church, interior

Cracks around the coral stone church, exterior

Cracks around the coral stone church, exterior

Damage to the lancet entrance at the sacristy

Damage to the lancet entrance at the sacristy

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