Catholics would have to forgo their Visita Iglesia plans this year to heed the government’s call to stay home as much as possible. For those who are used to including the Parish Church of the Holy Sacrifice, more popularly known as the University of the Philippines (UP) Chapel, in their Holy Week itinerary, they can still visit the structure by going on a virtual tour through this link qrco.de/UPChapel.
The chapel, recognized as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and a Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines, has recently undergone a facelift.
The state university shared in its website that DMCI Homes, the real estate arm of DMCI Holdings, worked on the repair, restoration, and rehabilitation of the 65-year-old iconic structure, after a series of consultations with UP officials.
The project was supposed to have begun during the early part of 2020, but the pandemic pushed back plans. The DMCI people were able to work on the restoration during the second half of year 2020, until the early part of 2021.
The property developer shares in its website that their team facilitated the repair of the masonry cracks, the de-clogging of the downspouts and drains, and the installation of new electrical fixtures. But while addressing the urgent repairs needed, the original beauty and elegance of the structure were thoughtfully maintained, UP noted on its website.
A fresh coat of paint breathed a new life to the chapel’s iconic dome and roof, as well as its walls, columns, eaves, under slabs, ceilings, and railings. The repainting of the chapel’s dome interior was completed early this year, with the help of JBLS Trading & Construction Aesthetics, and Boysen Philippines, which donated the paint materials. According to UP, 138 gallons of paint were used to coat the entirety of the chapel’s interior dome.
The UP Chapel is considered an important architectural landmark because it showcases the works of some of the most notable and brilliant Filipino artists of our time. Its unconventional circular layout—a church with no doors, only entrances, and its saucer-shaped roof—was the brainchild of National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin. The vision of then U.P. chaplain Fr. John Patrick Delaney, S.J., according to the parish website, is that the church will be open to anyone who wants to commune with God at any time. The pews encircling the altar in the middle of the church were also designed by Locsin.
The 15 mural-sized Stations of the Cross, were painted by two National Artists for Painting—Vicente Manansala, assisted by Ang Kiukok.
National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva designed the giant wooden cross at the center of the Church. It depicts the double figure of Christ—Christ the Victim (Crucified Christ) on the one side and Christ the Priest (Risen Christ) on the other. Abueva also designed the marble altar.
The floor mural that we step on from the altar dais at the center of the Church down to the sacristy, called the “River of Life,” was designed by National Artist for Visual Arts Arturo Luz.
The restoration efforts were completed in time for the observance of the Holy Week. We hope to visit the actual edifice as soon as all the restrictions are over.