|The official promotional poster after the DOT 'More fun in the Philippines" meme.|
Here's an overdue post from my not-so-recent visit to Bacolod City last March. It was one of the highlights of our sojourn aside from our ocular inspection and negotiation from one of the prospective donor's one-hectare site in the municipality of Murcia. During our visit, we stayed in the convent of the Recoleto friars inside the campus of the University of Negros Occidental - Recoletos. It was within the area of Greenheart Hermitage where we saw and held Mass in the Earth Chapel - a collaborative work from three Negrense artists anchored on their common advocacy of protecting the environment. Here's my review of the structure:
The chapel is the first solar-powered religious edifice in the country where it is envisioned both to have a sound spiritual and environmental atmosphere. The main material used for its walls were mud mixed with lime and rice straws. The posts and trusses were salvaged bamboo trunks and the roofing is made up of thatched cogon grass. During the day, the green-tinted old wine bottles incorporated in the structure lets in an ambient lighting aside from serving as an aesthetic recycled stained-glass window. LED lights were used to illumine the interior at night. Discarded tiles and wood slabs are only some of its notable recycled materials. The chapel was envisioned to be the center of the community's ecological reflection, owing to the spiritual inspiration of our Creator, in the hopes of transforming individuals in the community to be men and women of faith committed to protect and preserve the earth.
The collaborative project were from the brain juice of Marisol Alquiza (visual artist), who sketched and designed the chapel; Brother Tagoy Jakosalem (a Recoleto friar and an official presenter of The Climate Reality Project), who did the interior and conceptualized the incorporation of the use renewable energy to make the structure true to form and function in its liturgical scheme; and Nunenlancio Alvarado (a leading social-realist artist in the country) who designed the centerpiece of the chapel - a mosaic crucifix for the altar that depicts Christ as a suffering sacada.
The Earth Chapel adds another spiritual and liturgical venue in the island of Negros, aside from the "Chapel of the Angry Christ" in Victorias and the "Chapel of the Cartwheels" in Manapla. The chapel is a model of how a place of worship can maximize the use of renewable energy and indigenous materials in its structure.
Below are original images I took during our visit. We also made history by celebrating the first Holy Mass in it after its official blessing from the Bishop of Negros Occidental :)
|Christ as a suffering sacada. (Altar centerpiece by Nunelancio Alvarado)|