Restoration of collapsed belfry of centuries-old Basilica del Santo Nino 50% complete

CEBU CITY, Oct. 15 (PNA) — The restoration of the belfry of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City which collapsed during the magnitude 7.2 earthquake two years ago is halfway to completion, a church official said.

Fr. Harold Rentoria, chairman of the Commission on Augustinian Cultural Heritage, said the church bells may ring again in December or shortly before the feast of Cebu City’s patron saint.

Basilica rector Fr. Jonas Mejares earlier said they asked the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to finish the restoration before the feast of the Santo Niño in January next year.

Rentoria said the major repairs are done, but minor repairs, such as restoring the designs on the walls and decorations on the belfry, may take longer to complete.

Rentoria said the NHCP spent close to PHP10 million on the restoration and rehabilitation of the belfry.

He said the NHCP’s official contractor is moving at the “right pace,” but restoration work can be slow because of the extent of the damage.

“Delays are always expected since this is restoration, not reconstruction,” he said.

He said restoring the old belfry is a tedious process that involves tracing old design patterns and finding appropriate materials. (PNA)