The exceptional church heritage of the Philippines is seen through the eyes of French photographer and baroque expert Ferrante Ferranti. His works from his two-week visit in the country last June 2014 are now on exhibit at the National Museum of the Philippines.
Dubbed Encounters: World Heritage Baroque Churches of the Philippines, the exhibit features 99 large-scale photographs of the Immaculate Conception de San Agustin in Manila, La Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion in Ilocos Sur, Church of San Agustin in Ilocos Norte, and Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Iloilo, among others.
The exhibit contextualizes Philippine heritage within the colonial world by featuring photos of Filipino churches alongside photos of other baroque churches in Latin America and India as part of the French photographer’s project for the past 30 years.
No less than French President François Hollande was guest of honor for the inauguration of the exhibit on the occasion of his historic state visit to the Philippines in February.
President Hollande was impressed by the “beautiful exposition” as he was toured personally by photographer Ferranti.
Encounters is also immensely relevant in raising awareness about the destructive effects of climate change and the need to protect heritage, important topics which will be addressed at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris this December.
Among the churches featured in the exhibit are those located in Bohol and in Eastern Samar, two provinces that were heavily affected by natural disasters, such as the Bohol earthquake of October 2013 and Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
The exhibit is the first achievement of the administrative agreement for cultural cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Communication of France and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, which was signed during the official visit of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to France in September 2014.
The ceremony was attended also by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Linglingay Fonacier-Lacanlale, National Museum Chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr., National Museum Director Jeremy Barns, National Museum Assistant Director Ana Labrador, National Commission on Culture and Arts Chairperson Felipe de Leon Jr., and Alliance française de Manille Director Patrick Deyvant.
With the launch of 2015 as “Visit the Philippines” year by the Department of Tourism, the exhibit highlights the historic baroque churches of the country, inviting viewers to experience Filipino heritage through photographs.
The exhibit runs until April 26 at the Old Senate Session Hall of the National Museum of the Philippines, Padre Burgos Avenue, Manila. The exhibit is open for public viewing from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.