Cultural centers

The 408-year-old Malabon Church declared an “Important Cultural Property”

The parish church of San Bartolomé in Malabon City. (SBP-SOCCOM via CBCP News)

The National Museum of the Philippines has declared the 408-year-old parish church of San Bartolome in the city of Malabon an “Important Cultural Property” (ICP).

Official acknowledgment was made at the unveiling of the declaration marker in the church grounds on Thursday, August 11.

Speaking on behalf of the NMP, its deputy director general for the Atty administration. Mom. Rosenne Flores-Avila urged the parish to take care of the “architectural wonder”.

“Let’s partner to preserve it for future generations,” Avila said.

“Let us continue to make this sacred place a dynamic center of conversation and action for our cultural heritage, especially now that we are facing more difficult times,” she added.

The Diocese of Kalookan, which oversees the parish, echoed the call for partnership to preserve the church and other heritage structures for future generations.

National Museum of the Philippines Deputy Director General for Administration Atty. Mom. Rosenne Flores-Avila and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan lead the unveiling of the “Important Cultural Property” marker at San Bartolome Church in Malabon City on Aug. 11, 2022. (SBP-SOCCOM via CBCP News)

“We really need to take seriously our partnership with the appropriate government agency for the preservation of the cultural heritage of our church,” Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said.

According to him, the ecclesial patrimonial structures “also give a soul to our faith”.

“Without an inheritance, the church will be soulless,” he said. “Even the whole town of Malabon, what really gives it character are the heritage structures like this church.”

The National Heritage Act 2009 defines PCIs as having “outstanding cultural, artistic and historical significance” for the country.

PCIs or National Cultural Treasures may receive government funding for its protection, conservation and restoration.

David also announced the diocese’s plan to ask the Vatican to designate the former church as a minor basilica.

If approved, the parish church of San Bartolome will be the first minor basilica in the diocese since its creation in 2003.