National Museum to set aside P15 million for repair of Taal shrine
Restoration of the 382-year-old Marian shrine in Taal town, Batangas province, would begin soon through a P15-million endowment from the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP).
The Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay was damaged by the eruption of Taal Volcano in January 2020, and its repair is “highly urgent,” according to its rector, Raul Francisco Martinez.
Though some problems with the shrine’s structure, particularly its roof, had been seen as early as 2019, Martinez said the damage became more noticeable after the volcano blew up when part of the patio appeared to have “sank” and its facade showed fissures.
He said the fissures resembled the effects of the 1874 and 1911 eruptions based on the church and the town’s history.
A team of engineers, architects and archaeologists led by NMP Director Jeremy Barns inspected last week.
The historic shrine at Barangay Labac normally draws devotees of the “miraculous” image of the Our Lady of Caysasay. It houses a 20-centimeter antique statue that, according to church history, was fished out in the Pansipit River by local residents in 1603.
In March 2020, the NMP declared the shrine a “national cultural treasure,” as well as its two other features—the Sta. Lucia well and the 125-step “hagdan-hagdan” (steps), or the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps.
Martinez said the NMP approved the P15-million restoration budget in September last year, adding that everything was happening “by God’s grace.”
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the church has limited Masses to weekends and restricted the number of chuchgoers and their period of stay as safety precautions from further structural damage.
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