Hometown Snapshot

In Bacolod campus, chapel beams as symbol of care for environment



BACOLOD CITY—What does it take to build an environmentally friendly chapel? Solar panels, LED lights, used wine bottles and a lot of heart.

Volunteers built a chapel that not only blends with its environment but has also become a model for environment friendly buildings in the country.

The chapel at the Greenheart Hermitage section of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) campus was built with the help of three artists from Negros Occidental.

According to Bro. Jaazeal “Tagoy” Jakosalem, the chapel is the first fully solar-powered religious structure in the country.

“It is envisioned to have a sound spiritual and environmental atmosphere,” said Jakosalem, director of Greenheart.

The chapel was opened on Tuesday to coincide with the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal church.

Jakosalem is one of three artists who offered their services for free to build what is now known here as the Earth Chapel. The two others are Marisol Alquizar, a visual artist who builds mud houses, and Nunelucio Alvarado, a social-realist.

Alquizar designed the chapel while Jakosalem did the interiors and conceptualized the incorporation of renewable energy into the structure. Alvarado designed the crucifix for the chapel, from his pen-and-ink version of “Kristo ni Alvarado” that was transformed into a colorful mosaic as chapel centerpiece.

The chapel is made of indigenous materials, with its structure made of mud, bamboo, rice straw and stalk, and cogon grass.

Wine bottles, which served as material for stained-glass windows, were included in the structure, Jakosalem said. LED lights provide illumination inside, he said.

Recycled materials, such as discarded tiles and wood slabs, were also used.

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