Lazi Church in Siquijor province eyed as nominee for UNESCO World Heritage List

DUMAGUETE CITY, June 26 (PNA) -– The San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi town, Siquijor province, has been nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List and as such, provincial and Church officials are invited to attend a workshop next week on World Heritage and Bioshpere Reserve Nomination.

The Philippines National Commission for UNESCO has written Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete, copy furnished to Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, on the World Heritage and Bioshpere Reserve Nomination Workshop scheduled July 1 – 4 in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.

The letter said that the National Commission of Culture and Arts had submitted the San Isidro Labrado Church in Lazi under the serial nomination of Baroque Churches of the Philippines-Extension to the Philippines’ tentative list of properties to be nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“The World Heritage List is comprised of cultural, natural, and mixed sites that are recognized for their outstanding universal heritage and environmental values which need to be conserved and preserved for the benefit of the present and future generations,” the letter said.

With this in mind, the National Commission for UNESCO has asked Bishop Cortes and the Siquijor provincial government to send representation to the Vigan workshop if they are still “interested in pursuing the nomination of the San Isidro Labrador Church as a World Heritage Site”.

Verna Alih, a founding member of the Siquijor Heritage Foundation, Inc., disclosed Thursday that Gov. Villa will be sending Siquijor Provincial Tourism Officer Jossette Armirola as his representative to the workshop.

The Siquijor Heritage Foundation, Inc. (SHFI) has for its main objective the conservation of the San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent.

The SHFI president is the Lazi parish priest, the Rev. Fr. Aniceto R. Gutierrez, while chairman of the Board of Trustees if Lydio Ligutom with Ophelia Fua as vice chair.

Alih said they are hoping Bishop Cortes will attend the workshop to strengthen the nomination of Lazi Church and convent as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to her, the nomination of the San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi as a World Heritage Site was made when Bishop Cortes was being groomed as president of the Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church.

The San Isidro labrador Church and Convent was proclaimed Landmark Structures of the Philippines during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.

In 2000 it was designated as one of the Most Outstanding Heritage Churches in the Philippines by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The National Museum declared the San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent in Lazi as National Cultural Treasures sometime in 2012.

Back then, the National Museum of the Philippines implemented the restoration of the said church’s retablo mayor (main altar) and two pulpits with a US ,000 funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The church in Lazi was built by the Agustinian Recollects in the latter half of the 19th century. (PNA)