Manila Cathedral may reopen by Holy Week | Inquirer News

Manila Cathedral may reopen by Holy Week

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 08:56 PM March 07, 2014

The Manila cathedral. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila archdiocese hopes to reopen Manila Cathedral in time for Holy Week, when Catholics traditionally flock to different churches on a pilgrimage known as Visita Iglesia.

Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, the cathedral’s rector, said the archdiocese initially planned to welcome churchgoers back to the basilica on March 25 but had to again delay the reopening after a recent assessment showed there were still parts of the structure needing restoration.


In an interview with reporters Friday, Cerbo said among those sections were the baldachin, the small canopy at the church altar, and the sacristy.


“The project manager asked me if I could give them one more week to assess,” Cerbo said. “They would tell me if we could open during the Holy Week.”

The original date for the reopening was set last year on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

But with the work still unfinished, the Manila Cathedral Basilica Foundation opted for a “soft launch” instead, inviting donors to check the status of the project and where their money went, the rector explained.

The cathedral has been closed to the public since Feb. 7, 2012, to make way for repairs and restoration, the first such works to be made on the structure since 1958. The cathedral’s origins date back to the 16th century.

It was Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who cited the need to ensure the church’s structural integrity, noting cracks on key sections of the basilica.

An assessment then revealed that some of its columns and beams did not meet the standards set by the 2010 National Structural Code of the Philippines.


The cost of the restoration was initially estimated at P40 million. But offhand, Cerbo said, the foundation had already spent about P120 million for the ongoing work.

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TAGS: Holy Week, Metro

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