Dingras Church

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Dingras Church is located in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Its patron is San Jose.


There are conflicting accounts of the history of Dingras Church. One of the earliest recodrs mentioning it states that it was damaged in the earthquake of 1620; thus it had been built prior to that year. In 1710, according to the report of Capitan Don Lucas Mariano de Ochoa, the church was originally constructed by Fray Alonso Cortes, OSA, 30 years before, or between 1678 and 1680. Only the brick walls of the church remained by the time of Ochoa's account. Regalado Trota-José, a noted church historian on the other hand wrote that a brick church was erected in the late 1670s but was damaged in 1707 by an earthquake. From both accounts, this building was the second church of Dingras. The church was again rebuilt, only to be destroyed by fire along with the town.

According to Fr. Pedro Galende, OSA, the present church was built by Fray Damask Vietez, OSA, in 1879. Trota-Jose pointed out that Vieytez died in 1854, thus the church would have been built during his priorship from 1846 to that year.

From 1879 to 1893 and from 1894 to 1898, under the priorship of Fray Ricardo Diaz and Fray Saturnino Franco both from the Order of Saint Augustine, the church underwent renovations such as fixing and replacing the roof with metal sheets.

In 1914, the church was once again destroyed by fire and in 1931, it was damaged by another earthquake which made the church unsafe so that it was later abandoned. A smaller concrete structure was constructed across the street to serve as the church.

Church facade

The facade of Dingras church is similar to the structures of other churches in Ilocos. It is Baroque in style with four buttresses. There are three large openings on the lower level and another opening for the choir loft. The facade is further embellished by a curved pediment, and scrolls or the cornice.

Dingras church faces demolition

In 2009, the Dingras church was set for demolition which was opposed by several organizations including the International Council for Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Philippines and the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS). The original facade was to be demolished rather than conserved and a new church would replace the old structure.

According to architect Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo-Noche, a faculty member of the College of Architecture at the University of Santo Tomas, HCS director, and member of Icomos Philippines, the demolition of Dingras church is a threat to other historic buildings in the Philippines.

Del Castillo-Noche advised that the church should be conserved similar to what was done to the Jesuit Church of Saint Paul in Macau.




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