Visita Iglesia Bohol

HAVE you been to Bohol? If you did, chances are you’ve seen its amazing churches—Baclayaon, Loboc, Dauis, Dimiao, Tagbilaran, Talibon Churches are among the many. These are the province’s attractions along with the tarsier, Chocolate Hills and the Loboc River.

Map of Bohol with the location of its historical Churches

It’s sad that the 2013 earthquake razed churches of Loon, Maribojoc, and Loboc and caused heavy damage to many historic churches.

Fortunately, one photographer was able to document the beauty and artistry of the Churches in 2008, five years before tragedy struck the province. The photographs of façades and ceiling paintings of the churches were exhibited in Ayala Museum in 2008.

Ceiling paintings of the Bohol Churches photographed before the 2013 earthquake.

In time for the season of lent, which falls on the Filipino Heritage Festival month, select photographs from the original Kisame exhibition are currently on display at the ground floor expansion wing of Abreeza Mall until March 31st.

First exhibited in 2008 at the Ayala Museum, now in Davao City on the National Heritage Month.

“The size of the photographs and number of pieces were reduced given the allotted area,” said the curators, which made me think the original exhibition must have been quite impressive.

“KISAME: Visions of Heaven on Earth – An Exhibition of Photographs of Ceiling Paintings from Churches in the Province of Bohol showcases the Filipino’s artistic heritage in the context of ecclesiastical art. It features installations of photographs and video documentation of architectural paintings selected from 17 churches in Bohol, the exhibition is an up-close view of images that represent visions of heaven on earth. It also features the historical background of each painting and the church to which it belongs in a somewhat Visita Iglesia Bohol presentation in photographs,” shared one of the curators, Kenneth Esguerra, Ayala Museum’s Senior Curator and Head Conservation. Fr. Milan Ted Torrlaba is the co-curator.

Kisame, Visions of Heaven on Earth is an exhibition of ceiling photographs of Bohol churches, said Ayala Museum's Kenneth Esguerra & Roland Cruz

The exhibition is quite unique, which made it interesting. The photographs are installed in such a way that it can be viewed at its original state inside the Churches, by gazing up. As for its title and text, one has to look down on the floor. The description on the blue dot on the floor is directly below the suspended photo.

The exhibition's central piece...

…and it's description posted on the floor right below it.

“Bohol has a number of old churches, dating back to the early years of the Spanish colonization of the island. The province boasts ancient massive edifices that retain century-old architectural design. Research shows that painting models to copy from were scarce and so, as with sculpture, the sources of inspiration for imitation were the engraved illustrations, filetes, and viñetas in the religious books brought by the friars. Since these were in black and white, the artist was virtually at liberty to select his own colors,” shared Roland Cruz, Associate Manager for Exhibition Designer Arts and Culture of Ayala Museum.

Church facades above & the artists' rendition of a Holy Mass

“The photographs in this exhibition were taken by Paquito Ocho Jr., from the ceiling paintings of the churches in Bohol in the dioceses of Tagbilaran and Talibon from April 17 to 21, 2008. These selected works of art that adorn the parish churches are the remaining works of two pioneering Cebuano artists, Raymundo Francia and Canuto Avila, executed during the first half of the 20th century,” shared the presentors.

If you’ve been to these Bohol Churches, go have another look, and if you haven’t, now’s a good time to see how the historical edifices of Bohol look like on the inside.

They came to visit Bohol's Churches:

Artists Aida Ford & Brenda Barba

Abreeza Mall's Luigi Escano, DOT-XI RD Robby Alabado & Ayala Museum's Aprille Tijam

Baby Garcia, Sylvia Garcia & Dinggay Sasin

Davao's young designers Frankie Galagnara, Emi Englis & Xioti Chiu


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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 19, 2016.