TACLOBAN CITY-The historic Balangiga Bells are now in full public display as the artifacts were placed at the garden of the Saint Lawrence The Martyr Church on December 24.
And it took about almost two hours to complete the installation of the three weighty bells to the concrete stands inside the garden with the help of a boom truck assisted by 10 men.
The bells, after their return to the town on December 15 to Balangiga, were placed in a movable platform and were displayed inside the church.
Fr. Serafin Tybaco, parish priest of Saint Lawrence The Martyr, said that the bells were transferred to the Church’s garden, measuring of about 20 x 10 meters, at past 4 pm on Dec.24 after he presided the morning masses on that day.
A canopy was placed on top of the bells as protection from heat and rain.
“We just want to ask for the pilgrims and visitors to preserve the bells sacredness. That is why we want to control the pilgrims and visitors. They can have their photos taken but they could not touch them,”Tybaco, reached on his phone, said.
A concrete railing was put up around the garden to ensure that the people could not have their photos taken so close or touch the artifacts.
With the bells now outside the Church building, more pilgrims and tourists alike are expected to see the bells taken by the American troops 117 years ago.
At least 2 policemen are to be assigned inside the Church’s vicinity, aside from roving policemen, Tybaco said.
The bells, aside from being considered as Church properties, are also being eyed by the municipal government as potential tourism attraction for Balangiga.
Fe “Joy” Campanero, tourism and information officer, said that they expect their town would greatly benefit on the return of the bells, particularly its tourism industry.
Fr.Tybaco said that the bells will be eventually be placed at the church’s belfry where these will be put permanently.
But still, these bells while on display at the Church’s garden are now being used during the conduct of a Mass, Tybaco said.
The bells were returned to the Philippines on Dec.11 and turned over by President Rodrigo Duterte to the municipal government through Mayor Randy Graza during a simple rites held at the town’s covered court on Dec.15.
Graza, in turn, turned the bells to the Church on that same day.