Parish of the Holy Sacrifice | Diliman, Quezon City
If not for a small metal cross, the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, a small church in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, could easily be mistaken for a flying saucer. Well, it does not look like most Philippine churches elsewhere with its circular shape, doorless entrances and an altar smacked in the middle. And in the absence of an ornate retablo, a double-sided crucifix is suspended instead at the center of the church’s thin shell concrete dome.
This was then the vision of Fr. John Delaney, S.J, the Diliman Catholic Chaplain in 1955: ‘a chapel that is open and can easily accommodate 1,000 people.’ The idea was probably unheard of that time but Leandro Locsin captured and executed it very well nonetheless.
Locsin was not the only who contributed to the ambitious project too. On the church’s walls, Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok painted beautiful depictions of the 14 stations of the cross including an extra resurrection scene. The crucifix and the marble altar were then done by Napoleon Abueva. The floor of the church, depicting a mosaic mural called ‘River of Life’ was by Arturo Luz.
All these men are probably familiar to most Filipinos by now. These are some of the country’s National Artists for architecture and visual arts. But back then, they were not yet bestowed with this prestigious honor. They were probably just happy and willing to pitch in their talents just to help realize the UP Catholic community’s ‘ dream of having a visible symbol of their faith.’
The Parish of the Holy Sacrifice is then more than just a realization of that dream. It is also a living testament to the artistry and ingenuity of the Filipino. It was rightfully declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute in 2005.
So if you happen to drop by UP Diliman campus anytime soon, make sure to visit the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice. This unimposing flying saucer adjacent to the UP Shopping Center, is in fact a rare collaboration of five National Artists of the Philippines. It is indeed a cultural treasure that should never be overlooked.