The Oldest Church in Mindanao Reopens After 2-Year Restoration
The San Salvador del Mundo Church in Caraga, more commonly known as the Caraga Church, is the oldest church in Mindanao. It had been closed for two years to give way to much-needed restoration work and was reopened to the public in July.
The church was built by the Jesuits in 1883, and survived earthquakes and typhoons that leveled surrounding buildings in the area. The church’s structure is made from limestone, corals, and hardwood. It doubled as a fortress and watchtower to protect against raiding pirates.
In 2012, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) declared the church a national heritage site. It set aside P20 million for its preservation and restoration. This restoration only started in 2018, which required the site to be closed to the public. Caraga also donated P2 million to restore the heritage site.
NHCP executive director Restituto Aguilar explained why the restoration took such a long time to finish.
“The restoration was a very meticulous process, based on the restoration guidelines of the agency. The walls were thoroughly cleaned and repaired, as well as the doors, windows, the roof, especially the corals,” said Aguilar in a statement.
Historical Marker Outside the Church
Interior of the Church After Restoration
Church Facade After Restoration