Cebu seeks return of historic church pulpit panels from Museum

Cebu seeks return of historic church pulpit panels from National Museum

/ 04:30 AM February 19, 2024

Gwendolyn Garcia

Gwendolyn Garcia —Photo from Gov. Gwen Garcia FB page

CEBU CITY—The Cebu provincial government has appealed for the return of four 19th century pulpit panels to a Catholic church in the southern town of Boljoon that were earlier donated to the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) by private collectors.

The panels, which were part of the pulpit of the town’s Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria Santisima, feature carved images of Saint Augustine of Hippo, spiritual father of the Augustinian Order that established the parish over 400 years ago.


READ: Gov. Garcia wants Boljoon pulpit panels returned


Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Friday emphasized the significance of preserving parts of Cebuano culture and heritage and asked Prof. Jose Eleazar Bersales, the province’s consultant for heritage and museums, to look into how they could formally request the NMP to return the panels to Cebu.

“You know the pulpit [in Boljoon church] has been restored, but we could see there are indeed four empty spaces which correspond to these four panels,” Garcia was quoted in Sugbo News, the official news portal of the Cebu provincial government.

One goal

“I hope that we can—the National Museum and the provincial government of Cebu—come to an agreement here because after all, we have just one goal: to preserve, and more so to nurture and cherish these irreplaceable treasures of our Cebuano past,” she added.

Last Thursday, the NMP received the four historic pulpit panels from collectors Edwin and Aileen Bautista.

In a Facebook post entitled “A gift to the nation,” the NMP thanked the Bautista couple for their “generous donations” of the panels that traced its original provenance from the pulpit of the Patrocinio de Maria Santisima Parish Church in Boljoon, which is home to the canonically crowned 400-year-old image of its patron, the Patrocinio de Maria Santisima.

It has yet to be established how the panels reached the hands of the Bautista couple. —NESTLE SEMILLA INQ

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TAGS: Cebu, Church, historic, Museum

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