After the earthquake of 2013 that saw one of the country’s greatest heritage churches tragedy and affecting many of Bohol’s Spanish colonial era churches and related structures, I posted on my Facebook account saying that I was able to do a photo documentation of most of the old churches of that province. Jobers Bersales, probably saw it that the idea of this book, Pagsulay: Churches of Bohol Before and After the 2013 Earthquake came into fruition.
Prior to the earthquake, there were plans to make a Bohol edition of the Balaanong Bahandi: Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu where I am one of the photographers covering the northeastern and northwestern part of Cebu. But because of Boholano pride, the people who were approached for the project abhorred the idea of having non-Boholanos spearhead a project of their own churches. Thus, it languished for a few years. Then the earthquake happened.
USC Press decided to do Pagsulay, with the bulk of the before and many of the after images coming from my own personal documentation of churches, probably, 60-70% were photographed by me. A few, like the interiors of Maribojoc, Cortes and Loboc, from other contributors as I wasn’t really able to enter these edifices. To complete the book, we had to do a before and after to show the damage. It was also decided that part of the proceeds of the book sale will be donated to the rehabilitation.
With Fr. Jun Rebayla, SVD, we went around Bohol a month after the tremor and photographed the identified churches. Although I’m quite familiar with these structures, having been in and out of Bohol for a number of years, nothing can just prepare you to come face to face with the utter destruction.
I can just remember that the first time I heard of the earthquake, I was in Makati and a call confirmed that Loon was totally demolished. I cried. When I was finally there, a palpable silence just enveloped us as we sobbed silently for these churches have become a good part of our lives. To see ruins in place of a regal and elegant church is just heartbreaking.
Pagsulay: Churches of Bohol Before and After the 2013 Earthquake is a square, 240 page coffeetable book published in Cebu by USC Press and launched August of 2014 in Ayala Center Cebu. It’s solely dedicated to the damage, showing before and after images of 29 Bohol heritage and major churches in the two dioceses.
To speed up the publication, Regalado Trota Jose’s Visita Iglesia Bohol: A Guide to Historic Churches was an important reference and much of the text is based on this small book.
Pagsulay: Churches of Bohol Before and After the 2013 Earthquake is available at the USC Press at the Talamban campus of the University of San Carlos, at the USC main museum.
+63 (32) 253 1000 (trunkline)
In Manila, there might still be copies available at Solidaridad bookstore in Ermita, Manila and Ayala Museum in Makati.