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Donated Boljoon pulpit panels acquired legally -Nat’l Museum

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Dgital Multimedia Reporter | February 20,2024 - 10:44 AM

Boljoon pulpit panels

The four early 19th-century panels that have been donated earlier to the National Museum of the Philippines. The panels, which feature the image of Saint Augustine of Hippo, trace their origin from the pulpit of the Patrocinio de Maria Santisima Parish Church in Boljoon, Cebu. | Photo from NMP Facebook page

CEBU CITY, Philippines – How the previously missing pulpit panels from the historical Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria Santisima in Boljoon, Cebu ended up in the hands of private citizens remains a mystery.

But the national government assured that these historical artifacts, upon being turned over to museum curators, were acquired legally.

The National Museum of the Philippines has issued a statement days after the donation of four pulpit panels featuring the image of Saint Augustine of Hippo, which happened to be the four missing panels from Boljoon’s heritage church, sparked public outrage.

READ: Cebu seeks return of historic church pulpit panels from National Museum

In it, museum officials clarified that the four panels donated to the government were ‘procured through legal means.’

“It is noteworthy to emphasize that our donors procured these specific panels through legitimate means, highlighting their commitment to ethical acquisition,” they wrote.

“Moreover, the donors’ decision to acquire these artifacts and donate to the Philippines reflects their dedication to preserving cultural heritage and promoting patriotism,” they added.

In the meantime, the NMP and the Cebu Provincial Government expressed willingness to conduct open and constructive dialogues in addressing the issues surrounding the resurfaced Boljoon pulpit panels.


Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, in a recent press conference, continued to push for the return of the four panels to their home, adding that they have legal basis for doing so.

READ: Gov. Garcia wants Boljoon pulpit panels returned

The governor also invited officials from NMP to visit and hold their talks in no other than Boljoon town in southern Cebu.

“I will make that part of my formal communication to them. Why do we have to hold these discussions here? Precisely so that we can go to Boljoon as well. Let us not be table-surveyors and discuss ideas and concepts over the table. Let us go to where it all began,” Garcia added.

The panels

The four Boljoon pulpit panels were donated to the NMP by private collectors Edwin and Aileen Bautista.

Dr. Jose Eleazar Bersales, consultant for heritage at the Capitol, confirmed that these panels were the missing ones from the Patrocinio de Maria Santisima Church.

The pulpit in the Patrocinio de Maria Santisima Church, formerly known as Nuestra Senora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church, has six panels.

The fifth one is currently under the care of the priests at Patrocinio de Maria Santisima Church while the sixth remained missing, Bersales added.

The local government of Boljoon, a fifth-class municipality located approximately 104 kilometers southeast of Cebu City, also wanted the panels to be returned to their town.

Boljoon’s council recently issued a resolution, requesting the NMP to bring these historical treasures back to them.

READ: Cebu Artists hold fundraising painting exhibit to help build San Remigio Church

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TAGS: Boljoon, Cebu, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, pulpit panels

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