Two years after the Manila Cathedral closed for major repairs in February 2012, the Manila Cathedral administration is eyeing to reopen on March 25 or a few weeks before the Holy Week.
Manila Cathedral rector Monsignor Nestor Cerbo said they are pursuing to reopen the Cathedral before the Holy Week, but clarified that the project manager had seen damages to some parts of the Church, which may delay the opening target date.
He added that the project manager is still assessing the project’s progress; some contractors asked for another one week to complete such assessment.
“They [contractors]are trying their best, but they could not yet give me their definite answer. So, they asked if I could give them one more week to assess and they would see the progress of the work during this coming week and then they would tell me if we could open during the Holy Week,” Cerbo said.
Cerbo noted that the structural foundation of the Cathedral was already stable.
However he said that there are “portions” of the Church that needs to be secured.
He said that the project manager had rechecked the baldachin, a small canopy of the altar, and the sacristy of the Cathedral.
The Manila Cathedral is known formally as the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
A detailed survey showed the cathedral was unstable because of soil liquefaction that caused cracks in the walls and ceilings.
Construction experts sounded the alarm and warned of a possible collapse should a strong tremor strike in Manila.
The survey also showed signs that groundwater was seeping into the church flooring, which darkened the marble in some places.
To formally reopen the Cathedral its administration has to consult various contractors from the electrical, audio-video, closed-circuit television, architectural restoration groups, Cerbo said.
Citing the history of the opening of the Cathedral, the priest said that it usually falls on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary “because this is dedicated to Mary the Immaculate.”
In December 8, 2013, the Manila Cathedral administration had a soft opening of the Cathedral, and invited the donors “to see the progress of the work” and to witness how their donations were spent.
Cerbo said that some P120 million was spent for the restoration project.