House Assistant Majority Leader Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. has filed a bill seeking to proclaim Cebu province’s Carcar City, home to numerous historical structures and artifacts, a national cultural heritage zone.
“We have to move fast to protect the integrity of Carcar’s historical and cultural structures, including various works of art, which now form part of the national treasure,” Gullas said in House Bill 1340.
Located some 40 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, Carcar boasts an assortment of artistic creations, including architecturally distinctive Spanish to American vintage houses.
The city’s classical Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria is likewise admired for its Byzantine design, Greco-Roman altar, and twin bell towers with a minaret, a distinctive architectural feature of mosques.
Carcar’s rotunda, a principal landmark, is also unique and remarkable for its shape and scope.
“Carcar’s preservation will give more meaning to the mandate of the 1987 Constitution for the State to safeguard and popularize our historical resources for the purpose of enriching the national culture,” Gullas said.
Carcar was established as a municipality 414 years ago, in 1599.
The modern-day Carcar forms part of Metro Cebu, and belongs to Cebu province’s first district, which Gullas represents in Congress.
With a population of more than 107,000, Carcar was upgraded into a city only in 2007 through the efforts of then Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, the younger Gullas’s grandfather.
Famous for producing ampao, or rice puffs, a native delicacy, and pork chicharon, Carcar is also reputed to be the shoe capital of the Visayas.
A heritage zone refers to historical, anthropological, archaeological and artistic geographical areas and settings that are culturally important to the country.
Once declared a heritage zone, Carcar’s streets, parks, monuments, buildings and even natural bodies of water shall be kept as close as possible to their form when the area was of greatest importance to Philippine history, as determined by the National Historical Institute.
The Department of Tourism, in coordination with the Cebu provincial government and the Carcar city government, shall also be required to preserve, restore and maintain the appropriate structures and
facilities that would help foster tourism.