A. Background of the Study
For over 87 years, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) have recognized, and continuously lent support; protecting and conserving sites and structures that demonstrates historical significance. In keeping with its mandate, the NHCP shall focus on the significance of the site or structure being considered for inclusion in or delisting from the National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines.
In correlation to their principles, the state is responsible to deepen the understanding of, promoting, and popularizing our country’s history, both national and local, and safeguard our historical treasures in order to strengthen our people’s nationalism, love of country, respect for our heroes, and pride in our people’s achievements (NHCP, 2011). Possibly one of which to be considered is the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church, located at University of Santo Tomas (UST), Manila.
Along the outskirts of Sampaloc District in the City of Manila is a unique Parish, for its seat is at the heart of the Catholic University of the Philippines. According to the article of the Varsitarian Publications (2012), the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church was established on March 21, 1942 and was canonically inaugurated on April 26. It was the venue for many religious activities and the home of Our Lady of La Naval from 1942 to 1954. Before it served as a parish church, it used to be the chapel of UST. The Chapel was among the earliest edifices in the Campus of the UST. It was completed on November 13, 1932. Since then, this chapel became the venue of the official and religious functions of the University (“Brief History of Santísimo Rosario”, 2018). When the parish was established in 1942, this chapel likewise became the center of the liturgico-sacramental life of the parishioners.
Moreover, it has become the venue for various university religious activities which include the annual Misa de Apertura, a decades-old tradition of officially opening the academic year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit and the delivery of the academic lecture called the Discurso de Apertura; the annual novena to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary for the La Naval celebration; and the Heritage Christmas Concert (University of Santo Tomas, 2016) — all of which are significant and strongly demonstrates properties associated with important historical events, and illustrious that are grounds for a historic site declaration.
B. DEFINITION OF TERMS
- National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) — undertakes the commemoration of signiﬁcant events and personages in Philippine history and safeguard the blazoning of the national government and its political divisions and instrumentalities.
- Nationally significant—historical, aesthetic, scientific, technical, social and/or spiritual values that unify the nation by a deep sense of pride in their various yes common identities, cultural heritage, and national patrimony.
- History- refer to a written record of the past events relating to the Philippine history
- Historical— people or places that existed in the past, or for things that relate to history
- Historic – about people, places, or events that existed or happened in the past. Only things and people that have a prominent place in history are called historic.
- Historical Significance-an important part of life and literature, and without it, memories, stories, and characters have less meaning. Historical context deals with the details that surround an occurrence. In more technical terms, historical context refers to the social, religious, economic, and political conditions that existed during a certain time and place.
- Heritage Zone/ Historic Center-a historic space, unit, district or cluster of structures and their environs, with distinctive historical importance in its entirety.
- Conservation- refers to the processes and measures of maintaining the cultural significance of a property, including but not limited to, preservation, restoration, reconstruction, protection, and adaptation of any combination
- Culture—the set of ideas that coordinate the actions and construct the meanings of a group of people
- Cultural Property – refers to all products of human creativity by which people and a nation reveal their identity, including churches, mosques and other places of religious worship, schools and natural history specimens and sites, whether private or publicly owned.
- Built heritage- refers to architectural and engineering structures, such as but not limited to bridges, government buildings, houses of ancestry, traditional dwellings, quartelles, train stations, light houses, small ports, etc. and their settings with notable historical significances.
- Ministry- an activity carried out by Christians to express or spread their faith
- Recognition- individual highlight of specific basis and criteria set by organizations.
- Registry- refers to the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property which is the registry of all cultural property of the country deemed of significant importance to our cultural heritage.
- Conservation—processes and measures of maintaining the cultural significance of a cultural property, including but not limited to, preservation, restoration, reconstruction, and protection, and any combination.
C. The Human Experience
The human experience involved in the study is the participation of the historical events to Philippine History, wherein, Santísimo Rosario Parish began to partake-in during the Second World War. From there, the researchers would also incorporate the foundation of the parish and the celebrations contextualizing the preservation of the traditions as the basis for self-identification, classification, and recognition of the parish as a historical site.
The historical events that will be covered in this study were those of during the Second World War. During the Second World War, the Japanese forces reformed the Sampaloc campus, the main location of the Santísimo Rosario Parish, into an internment camp for their combatants, mostly Americans, staying in the Philippines. More than 4,000 foreigners survived under difficult conditions in the internment camp for 37 months from January 1942 until February 1945 when American soldiers liberated the camp. During these turbulent months at the dawn of the Second World War, then Archbishop of Manila, the Most Rev. Michael O’Dougherty, DD (1874-1949) issued a decree on 21 March 1942, establishing the Santísimo Rosario Parish (“Brief History of Santísimo Rosario”, 2018).
The Battle of Manila was a major battle of the Philippine campaign of 1944 -1945, during the Second World War that destroyed the Old Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros. On September 28, 1942, the image of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila, which was saved from the bombings was transferred to the University of Santo Tomás and was enshrined at the main altar of the UST Chapel (“Brief History of Santísimo Rosario”, 2018). Thus, resulting to the first fiesta celebration of the Santísimo Rosario Parish, dated on October 7, also known as the universal feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
However, after a period of 12 years, on October 10, 1954, the 412-year-old Marian image was placed back to the reconstructed Sto. Domingo Church at Quezon City. This did not serve as a hindrance to the people’s reverence to the image as a major festivity celebrated along with the Month of the Rosary every October was held in commemoration of the La Naval, (Varsitarian Publications, 2012).
Moreover, the events stated during and after the Second World War serve as the backbone of the human experience in this research. Branching from these occasions is the preservation of the traditions in the Church such as the celebrations done to commemorate specific sacred figures. The stated human experiences will further solidify the historical identity of the Church to be recognized in accordance to the NHCP Guidelines.
D. Scopes and Limitations
This study focuses on the qualifications of the Santisimo Rosario Parish in adherence to the guidelines set by the National Historical Commission formed under the republic act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, enabling the protection and conservation of national cultural heritage which in turn promotes the identification, preservation, and recognition of philippine historic sites and structures. This study will cover the sections and by-laws on the specific analyzation of needed requirements to fulfill the processes of the enlistment in the NHCP office and gather concrete evidences of the historical significance of the Santisimo Rosario Parish and its institution in Philippine History.
E. The Objective of the Study
The study aims to delve into the historical background and the milestones of the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church. For over 70 years, there had been numerous events held in the parish; some of which are the novena in honor of Our Blessed Virgin of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval, and parish fiestas celebrated every first week of October – significantly reflects the religion and distinct clarification that the parish withholds a distinct history.
In relation to this, that the researchers aim to secure its rightful place among the most progressive parishes of the country and this applies the NHCP accreditation for historical sites and structures as per the identification, classification, and recognition of the structure holding its historical upbringing aiming to deliver rightful preservation and conservation of the area with NHCP accreditation as a historical site, as well as the acknowledgement of the historical contributions and significant milestones of Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.
According to the NHCP Guidelines (2011), accredited historic sites and structures shall be classified according to the levels of recognition: (1) Declaration of a historic site or structure and installation of historical marker which entails within categories— Heritage Zone/Historic Center, National Cultural Treasure, National Historical Shrine, National Historical Monument/Memorial, or National Historical Landmark; (2) Installation of a historical marker, which entails the installation of a historical marker in a historic site or structure that is not declared a heritage zone/historic center, national cultural treasure, shrine, monument or memorial, or historical landmark, but nonetheless has some historical significance. Such a site or structure may later be elevated to Level I recognition pending further research and re-evaluation.
Furthermore, sites and structures recognized by the Commission, whether through a formal declaration and/or the installation of a historical marker, shall be recorded in the NHCP’s National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines— this would help in maintaining and protecting the marker and site it signifies and be known for its story; raising public awareness and value.
A. Research Design
The study is a qualitative research, an approach to an in-depth understanding of situations and experiences through social science. According to Camara, Drummond, Jackson (2007), qualitative research is primarily concerned in understanding human beings’ experiences in a humanistic, interpretative approach. The human experience being studied in this case is the participation of the Santisimo Rosario Parish to Philippine history.
The research is a case study form. The goal of a case study research is to discern the complexity of a case in the most complete way possible. For this reason, a case study research often involves the use of several methods for gathering data. By using multiple sources of data in a qualitative way, the researchers may attain the most substantial data leading to the richest and most concise possible understanding of the case (Cohen and Crabtree, 2006). In addition, according to PressAcademia (2018), a case study research includes qualitative evidence and relies on multiple sources of evidence and benefits from the prior development of theoritical propositions.
In this case, the researchers are to utilize different readings and book sources where the different past activities and historical events in the church are recorded. These readings were provided by the current Parish priest, Fr. Paul Reagan O. Talavera, O.P., to serve as a primary source and to support their statements and claims.
PressAcademia also defines case studies as an analysis of persons, groups, events, decisions, periods, policies, institutions or other systems that are studied holistically by one or more methods.
Multiple statements that will be gathered from the different members of the church particularly those with concrete knowledge regarding the parish, apart from the priest, are lined up for analysis using a cultural approach under a case study.
To achieve a precise data, the researchers had set a criteria for the selection and identification of their co-researchers: (1) must be legally employed and/or assigned to give service at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church (2) may either be male or female, (3) spent at least 10 years of service in the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church through any field, (4) a person able to narrate what he/she had encountered and/or is aware of the events that had passed regarding the parish. The criteria set will be the grounds set for the gathering of information among the selected staff, office workers, and parishioners of Santisimo Rosario Parish Church. They are expected to narrate and allow the researchers to immerse to the different situations at their area.
Likewise, the participation of the parish administration would also be recognized, as information of legal and/or authorized documents regarding the history of the town should be assisted upon distribution. In addition to this, the researchers would also contact the office of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Historic Sites Education Division and the Historic Preservation Division, together with its executive offices to formally request a copy of the guidelines for their accreditation.
The data analysis should begin while the data are being collected so that the researcher can discover additional themes and decides whether to follow those leads for more intense investigation (Roper and Shapira, 2000). Therefore, the identification of additional significant individuals; such as, parish priest and office heads will be reached-out and related researches will be needed for further clarification.
C. Data Collection
The researchers will coordinate with the administration and parish servants of Santisimo Rosario Parish Church to assist in the data collection process; gathering and requests. In addition to this, the researchers will contact the office of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for further clarifications regarding the standards for the declaration of a potential historic site.
According to Angrosino (2007), there are three modes of data collection: first is observation which he (2007) defined as the act of perceiving the activities and interrelationships of people in the field setting; second, is interviewing defined as the process of directing a conversation to collect information; and lastly, archival research which is the analysis of existing materials stored for research, service or other purposes officially and unofficially. All of which will be used for thorough analyzation of the information from the co-researchers.
With this, the background of the study together with the related articles and researches regarding the history of Santisimo Rosario Parish Church will be used first to garner evidences to support the observations. The researchers will be contextualizing the relevant aspects of interaction with the people who experienced the history of the church through immersion.
As cited by Gill, P., Stewart, K., and Treasure, E. (2008), focus groups are used for generating information on collective views, and the meanings that lie behind those views. They are also useful in generating a rich understanding of participants’ experiences and beliefs. Thus, the researchers will conduct a focused group discussion with the staff, parish servants, and parishioners, to gather and understand their collective insights regarding the church and their lived experiences and insights in the church, and its history.
Moreover, the researchers will be securing documents that will help support the statements of the co-researchers. The outliers—cases, situations, events or settings that are not relevant with the rest of the findings are to be identified. On the other hand, patterns or connected findings that are related to theories in order to make sense of the rich and complex data collected shall be generalized as existing literature would also be reviewed.
- National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Congress of the Philippines Republic Act No. 10066: National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009: 14th Congress, Article I- XI, Section 1- 52
- Naidoo, L. (2012), Ethnography: An Introduction to Definition and Method, An Ethnography of Global Landscapes and Corridors, page 2-7, Available on: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221927953_Ethnography_An_Introduction_to_Definition_and_Method
- Sangasubana, N. (2009). How to conduct ethnographic research. The Qualitative Report, 16(2), 567-573. Available on: http://nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR16-2/sangasubana.pdf
- The Varsitarian Publication, University of Santo Tomas (2012), Article: Santisimo Rosario Parish Church Celebrates 70th Year, [ONLINE] https://varsitarian.net/news/20121109/santisimo_rosario_parish_church_celebrates_70th_year
- Brief History of Santísimo Rosario Parish-UST (2018, March 26) [ONLINE] Retrived from http://santisimorosarioust.blogspot.com/2018/03/brief-history-of-santisimo-rosario.html
- S. Crowe, K. Cresswell, A. Robertson, G. Huby, A. Avery, and A.Sheikh (2011) The case study approach, BMC Med Res Methodol [ONLINE] Retrieved on: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3141799/
- Gill, P., Stewart, K., Treasure, E. (2008), Methods of Data Collection In Qualitative Research: Interviews and Focus Groups. [ONLINE] Retrived on: https://www.nature.com/articles/bdj.2008.192#Sec6
- National Historical Commission of the Philippines (2011), Guidelines on the Identification, Classification, and Recognition of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines, [ONLINE] Available on: http://nhcp.gov.ph/resource/guidelines/nhcp-guidelines/