The Durano Foundation Complex in Guinsay, Danao City has always been one of the most fascinating religious sites in Northern Cebu. Despite its relative obscurity, the complex has somehow become quite popular among people traveling to the northern end of the island.
The Durano Foundation is a two-hectare property in Barangay Guinsay in Danao City. The complex houses a home for the aged (Ramon Durano Foundation Home for the Aged,) a church (St. Anthony of Padua Church,) and a school (Colegio de San Antonio de Padua.) The most important feature of the complex, however, is the massive collection of life-size statues and tableau of the different stations of the cross as well as busts of different popes and saints.
The first time I discovered this gem was back in 2006 during a usual motorbiking trip with my family (Read: The Guinsay, Danao Experience.) Since then, the place had become one of my all-time favorites and was always in my itinerary whenever I passed through the city.
Last week, I visited the compound for the first time after a very long time. And what I saw was saddening.
The St. Anthony of Padua Church inside the complex remains standing but it is obviously in a state of disrepair.
Rows of busts of saints and popes can be seen several meters from the church. Hundreds of busts can be found in various parts of the complex.
This iconic angle is forever changed because of the addition of that new building on the left.
Here is the same angle back in 2006.
These ‘huts’ contain tableau of the different stations of the cross. Each hut has a glass cover that allows visitors to see the statues inside. The area in front of the huts is flooded and overgrown with weeds.
Plants have started to grow inside these huts, too.
This hut doesn’t have a glass so I guess part of it was broken and the whole thing was just removed completely.
A statue of a young Jesus has been destroyed and is leaning on another statue.
This tableau features the Holy Family inside a solid concrete hut.
The statues inside have been vandalized and tags and graffiti can be seen in various parts of the statues.
This amazing dome has a statue of Jesus holding a cross on top of it.
In the past, you can peek into the dome’s interior where you can see a tableau of the last supper. Today, however, the door has been padlocked and covered with pieces of clothing.
The last supper tableau inside the dome that I captured backed in 2006.
Probably the tableau that got the most damage was the Nativity.
The statues have been vandalized and destroyed.
One of the kneeling statues had also been beheaded and a sheep’s upper trunk was put in place of its head.
Even the statue of baby Jesus had been completely destroyed.
This beautiful tableau of Mary holding Jesus below the cross ended up being a storage for various pieces of wood.
This statue of Jesus Christ badly needs a paint job and some repairs.
Below the statue, you can find pieces of plastic and paper.
This tableau of the Last Supper features statues with missing fingers and hands. Also, it now serves as a bed for young kids milling inside the complex.
I’m not saying that people are methodically destroying this precious gem. The place had been quite dilapidated when I visited it for the first time. But I can say that the state of the complex is now seriously so bad that something must be done right away.
If there are plans of rehabilitating this place, I hope that they do it soon. But if it turns out that nothing is planned for the future of this beautiful spot, I would have to say we are throwing away a very important piece of our history and culture. I hope something is done to restore the complex to its old glory before it is too late.
To see photos of the complex back in 2006, be sure to check out this post: THE GUINSAY, DANAO EXPERIENCE.