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IN order to save La Loma chapel from further deterioration the Diocese of Kalookan has partnered with Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation Inc. to undertake conservation work.
The plan for this restoration project dates back in 2017 when Bishop Pablo Virgilio David approached Escuela Taller for assistance in removing the heavy plant growth on the walls of the old cemetery chapel.
The current project will begin with the restoration of the chapel’s facade. After documentation and a survey of the chapel to assess its condition, the next step will be to remove the plants via the use of herbicides and possibly the disassembly of some parts of the masonry wall to completely remove the roots systems.
According to Jeffrey Cobilla, architect and head of Escuela Taller’s conservation team, they expect to complete the work on the facade within eight months. Escuela Taller recommends to then start a preventive maintenance program for the continuous care of the heritage site.
The Old La Loma Cemetery Chapel has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure. La Loma Cemetery, formerly known as Binondo Cemetery, is one of the oldest extramural cemeteries and the oldest active cemetery in Manila.
Director of the Diocesan Commission on Cultural Heritage Fr. Paul Woo said the diocese and the community said they wanted La Loma Chapel to become a center for worship again. The conservation aims to make the chapel more accessible and to provide liturgical services.
Apart from the physical conservation, the Diocese of Kalookan has also been working with Escuela Taller to draft a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) to inform and guide the Diocese and the community on how to manage and care for the chapel regularly and sustainably.
“It is important to educate the community about heritage and heritage sites. The value that comes from every artifact is a gentle reminder for all of us to appreciate the richness of history, culture, and heritage that come from within,” Fr. Woo said in a statement. — MAPS