The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), headed by its chairman National Artist Virgilio S. Almario and its Board of Commissioners, declared the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish (IHMP) in U.P. Village, Diliman, Quezon City as an Important Cultural Property (ICP). The Parish was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin, which houses the Stations of the Cross made by National Artist (NA) for Sculpture Napoleon V. Abueva.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish

Pursuant to Section 8 of Republic Act No. 10066, the NCCA is vested with the power to declare works of National Artists as ICP. Thus, on July 30, 2019, the NCCA granted the petition filed by IHMP Parish Priest Fr. Antonio Eucapor, CMF last December 10, 2018.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish building represents Locsin’s architectural style of reinterpretation of Philippine traditional architecture through cross-ventilation and openness, and distinct form with its seashell-shaped reinforced concrete roof. The IHMP’s design is a testimony of Locsin’s bipolarity, as seen in four major expressions: (1) floating effect, (2) grounded flight, (3) enclosed openness, and (4) alternation of opposite spatial characters. The IHMP was designed with an open basement or ground level and the main space of the church is in the upper level, and represents the floating effect. At the rear portion of the IHMP are its walls that exhibit grounded flight. NA Locsin’s enclosed openness is shown in IHMP which follows concentric layers of porous residual space enclosing a core space, the altar, which provides different levels of interaction. The IHMP demonstrates the alternation of opposite spatial characters, where the apex of the roof of the church ends at the altar showing a transition from narrow and dark space into a wide and light space.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish

The fourteen Stations of the Cross, accomplished in 1982 for the IHMP was the first work NA Abueva created on this subject and is unique in terms of its scale, format, and representation. Each of the 14 stations is composed of relief figures that are 5 feet in height and 14 feet in width and depicts each scene with a great degree of theatricality. Carved in relief from native hard wood, narra, he captured the passion and movement of the suffering of Christ. He also carved each Station in irregular shapes, creating an organic series of tableaux. The IHMP Stations of the Cross are exemplary of NA Abueva’s modernist approach in figuration as well as his humorous and non-traditional approach to representation.

The IHMP is a property of exceptional architectural and artistic significance to the Philippines—representing NA Locsin’s architectural style and exemplifying NA Abueva’s design style on a monumental scale.

Procedure for Declaring ICPs within the jurisdiction of the NCCA

The declaration of a cultural property as National Cultural Treasures (NCT) or ICP shall commence upon the filing of a verified petition by the property owner, stakeholder, or any interested person with the NCCA, which shall issue temporary remedies, if necessary, to protect a site prior to declaration.

Upon verification of the suitability of the property as NCT or ICP, the NCCA will endorse the petition to the appropriate cultural agency, other concerned agencies or organizations (National Museum of the Philippines, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, local government units (LGU) etc.) for their comments and recommendations, and if necessary, conduct an ocular inspection to verify the claims of the petitioner.

The petition and its appendices, along with the comments and recommendations solicited shall be discussed by Technical Working Council (TWC), composed of the NMP, NHCP, NCCA, and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in its monthly meeting, and propose the necessary action to the NCCA Board of Commissioners which shall then render its decision.