Ten commemorative stamps featuring centuries old churches in the Philippines have been issued in commemoration of National Heritage Month.
The Spanish colonial churches are considered national cultural treasures which have been the focus of preservation efforts through exhibits and public awareness.
The unique and irreplaceable ecclesiastical monuments featured on the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) stamps were built at the height of Spanish colonization of the archipelago and have remained intact for centuries.
According to Postmaster General Joel Otarra, PHLPost, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and FUNtastic Philippines, a group of amateur and professional photographers coming from the Philippines and abroad has collaborated to showcase the beauty and distinctive architecture of the Philippine colonial churches which shall now officially recorded in these miniature pieces of art called stamps.
The PHLPost Block of Four stamps includes colorful photographs of various Spanish-era churches which were declared National Cultural Treasures with photos credited to the following Photographers of FUNtastic Philippines:
- SAN MATIAS PARISH CHURCH by Nelson C. Gonzales, known as Tumauini Church, is an ultra-Baroque church located in Tumauini, Isabela. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared the Tumauini Church a National Historical Landmark on February 24, 1989.
- SANTA MONICA PARISH CHURCH by Bernadette Juson, commonly known as Pan-ay Church located in Capiz, is a Baroque church with neo-classical influence defined by used of attached coupled piers in Corinthian style. It is the oldest church in Panay Island and its five level belfry is the biggest, and most likely the heaviest bell in Asia which was casted in 1878 using 70 sacks of coins.
- SANTA MONICA PARISH CHURCH by Richelli Ridon Castellano, known as Minalin Church, is a Baroque church located in San Nicolas, Minalin, Pampanga. Founded in 1614, Minalin parish started as a visita of Macabebe, Pampanga. The building of the church was attributed to Augustinian Fr. Manuel Franco Tubil in 1764 and was completed in 1834. The Santa Monica Church was declared as National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum on August 27, 2011.
- SANTA CATALINA DE ALEJANDRIA CHURCH by Ma. Remedios Sotto, commonly known as Tayum Church located in Abra province, is a Baroque church located at Barangay Poblacion, Tayum, Abra. It is under the patronage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Bangued. The Tayum Church was founded and built by secular priests to Christianize the native group tinguians in the region during the 19th century. The Tayum Church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum in 2001.
PHLPost has also issued limited copies of Souvenir Stamps Sheets featuring:
- SAN CARLOS BORROMEO CHURCH by Annabelle Casino Chavez, commonly known as Mahatao Church located in Batanes Island, is a Baroque church dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo and is located in Mahatao , Batan Island, Batanes under the Diocese of Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Batanes.
- SANTA CATALINA DE ALEJANDRIA CHURCH by Rolino C. Bucao Jr., commonly known as Namacpacan Church, is located in Luna, La Union under the Diocese of San Fernando de la Union. The church is placed under the advocacy of St. Catherine of Alexandria in 1690 and known for its devotion to Our Lady of Namacpacan.
- NUESTRA SENORA DEL PATROCINIO DE MARIA PARISH CHURCH by Rolino C. Bucao Jr., commonly known as the Boljoon Church, is a Baroque church dedicated to Our Lady of Patrocinio and is located in Boljoon, Cebu under the Archdiocese of Cebu.
- NUESTRA SENORA DE LA ASUNCION by Richelli Ridon Castellano, commonly known as the Santa Maria Parish Church, is a Baroque church located in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur under the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. The Santa Maria Church is an attraction to both tourists and Catholics in Ilocos Sur province.
- NUESTRA SENORA DE LA ASUNCION by Remus Nicolas Doroon, commonly known as Dauis Church, is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. The church which is located in Dauis, Bohol underwent many changes since its inception when the Spanish missionaries arrived in 1697.
- SANTO TOMAS DE VILLANUEVA PARISH CHURCH by Rolino C. Bucao Jr., commonly known as the Miag-ao Church in Iloilo province is dedicated to Saint Thomas of Villanueva. It is a Baroque Romanesque Church located in Miag-ao, Iloilo under the Archdiocese of Jaro. Founded in 1731, Miag-ao was formerly a visita of Oton until 1580. It underwent restoration in 1960 and was completed in 1962. It was declared a national shrine by Presidential Decree No. 260. Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
PHLPost has issued 80,000 copies (20,000 pieces each) of the Block of Four Stamps with a denomination of P12 each. Another 5,000 pieces of the Souvenir Sheet of Stamps were issued to highlight some of the old churches in the Philippines. The stamps were designed by PHLPost in-house artist Vic Serevo and coordinated with Judith Neric ng Filipino Heritage Festival Inc.
The stamps, souvenir sheets and its official first day cover are now available at the Post Shop, Central Post Office, Door 203, Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila and area post offices nationwide. For inquiries, please call 527-01-08 or 527-01-32.