Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PH's first environment-friendly chapel built in Bacolod

BACOLOD City, March 20, 2012—An environment-friendly chapel, solar-powered and constructed from indigenous and recycled materials was opened in a simple blessing ceremony yesterday in Bacolod City.

Located within the area of the Greenheart Hermitage on the campus grounds of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, the chapel was a collaborative effort of three Negrense artists who offered their talents and skills pro bono to build the “earth chapel” due to their common advocacy of protecting the environment.
The chapel structure was made of indigenous materials that include mud, bamboo, rice straw and stalk and cogon grass. Recycled objects including wine bottles, discarded tiles, discarded wood slab and other bits and pieces were also added in the structure.
Brother Tagoy Jakosalem, a Rekoleto friar and an official presenter of The Climate Reality Project, did the interior of the chapel.
He conceptualized and incorporated renewable energy into the structure, making the chapel true to form and function in its liturgical scheme.
"The chapel is the first solar-powered religious edifice in the country, it is envisioned both to have a sound spiritual and environmental atmosphere, LED lights are used to illumine the interior. Wine bottles are incorporated in the structure, natural lighting effects emanating from the green-colored wine bottles, serving as recyclable stained-glass windows," said Jakosalem, a religious environmentalist who was personally trained on climate change science by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore through The Climate Reality Project.
The other two artists who worked with Jakosalem were Marisol Alquizar, a visual artist who spends her time building mud houses in Negros island; and Nunelucio Alvarado, a leading social-realist in the country.
Alquizar designed the chapel while Alvarado transformed his pen and ink version of “Kristo ni Alvarado” into a colourful mosaic as the chapel’s centerpiece.
"Working on a mud chapel, is a labor intensive exercise; that truly needs a collective manpower. The chapel, started its skeleton from the hands of volunteer students, who are all active members of the Tsinelas of Hope; offering their time to give life to the chapel," explained Jakosalem.
"We are envisioning the chapel to be the center of our ecological reflection, owing to the spiritual inspiration of our Creator; hoping to be transformed to be men and women of faith committed to protect and preserve the earth," he added.
Meanwhile, Rodne Galicha, the Philippine district manager of the Climate Reality Project, said the Earth Chapel is a sustainable spiritual edifice that reconnects people to nature, to “what we have been.”
“This is the 8th R which we always emphasize, R-econnecting ourselves to Nature, to the creation and to the Creator. Unless we are unable to realize that we are part of the whole creation, we will not be able to solve this climate crisis," he said.
The Climate Reality Project in the Philippines is currently doing its bottom-up information education campaign with the grassroots to promote awareness on the climate crisis. The group promotes climate change adaptation and mitigation through observance of 8-Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, refuse, rethink, rainforest and reconnect.
"We are called to be stewards of creation and there is a need to re-establish the role of spirituality in restoring the integrity of creation," Galicha said. (CBCPNews)


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