The National Museum of the Philippines has declared the 408-year-old San Bartolome Parish Church in Malabon City as an “Important Cultural Property” (ICP).
The formal recognition was made during the unveiling of the declaration marker at the church compound on Thursday, August 11.
Speaking for the NMP, Atty. Ma. Rosenne Flores-Avila, deputy director-general for administration, urged the parish to take care of the “architectural wonder.”
“Let us be partners in preserving it for future generations,” Avila said.
“Let us continue to make this hallowed place a vibrant center of conversation and action for our cultural heritage, especially now that we face more challenging 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.
“We really must take seriously our partnership with the proper government agency for the preservation of our church cultural heritage,” said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.
He said church heritage structures also “gives soul to our faith.”
“Without heritage, the church will be soulless,” he said. “Even the whole city of Malabon, what gives it character really is the heritage structures like this church.”
The National Heritage Act of 2009 defines ICPs as having “exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance” to the country.
ICPs or National Cultural Treasures may receive government funding for its protection, conservation and restoration.
Bishop David announced the diocese’s plan to petition the Vatican to designate the old church as a minor basilica.
If approved, the San Bartolome Parish Church will be the first minor basilica of the diocese since it was established in 2003.