COLLAPSE OF LOON, BOHOL CHURCH IN OCTOBER 1850

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COLLAPSE OF LOON, BOHOL CHURCH IN OCTOBER 1850

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On October 15, 2013 the Loon Roman Catholic Church building collapsed.  The cause was the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and surrounding places.

It is not commonly known that that collapsed church building was a replacement of a church building that also collapsed on October or November 1850 or one hundred sixty-three (163) years previously.

There must be something at the church site that has already destroyed and completely collapsed two (2) church buildings.

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Fr. Antonio Yus

In 1847 Father Antonio Yus de la Purisima Concepcion, OAR, was assigned as the Parish Priest of Loon, Bohol.  He was a very active and energetic priest.

Within three (3) years he was able to construct and finish the Casa Real (Municipal building), the Tribunal (Hall of Justice), and the 198-steps stairway besides the church going down to the shoreline.  He also renovated the existing church by replacing the nipa and wooden parts with coral stones (it is not recorded what was the replacement of the nipa).

After three years of hard labor Fr. Yus’ body gave way.  He died in October 1850 at the age of 46.  He was buried inside the church at the central nave near the main pillar on the Gospel side facing the pulpit.

Fr. Antonio Ubeda

Fr. Antonio Ubeda de la Santisima Trinidad was the immediate replacement of Fr. Yus in 1850.

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Collapse of the Church

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One night at 7:00 o’clock towards the later part of year 1850, the church building totally collapsed to the ground for no apparent cause.  The narratives would indicate that the month was either late October or early November.

Luckily the church was already closed and there were no people inside the church.  There was no human casualty.  Nevertheless it caused grief to the people because the church Mass could no longer be celebrated with solemnity and dignity.

Fr. Ubeda constructed immediately a temporary church made of bamboo and nipa and adorned to the best way possible under the circumstances.

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That bamboo and nipa church existed until the arrival of Fr. José Garcia de la Virgen de los Remedios in 1854 to replace Fr. Ubeda.

With a budget of P1,550 Fr. Jose Garcia constructed and finished that large and magnificent church building that unfortunately totally collapsed on Oct. 15, 2015 due to an earthquake. (Ref: Cosas Notables de Loon).

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Why Did It Collapse in 1850?

Can a building collapse without a cause?  The answer is it could not.  But why did the Loon Church building collapsed in 1850? The answer can be gleaned from what caused the replacement church building to collapse during the October 2013 earthquake.  The location has a peculiar characteristic.

Vibration Frequency

Every material has its own natural frequency and fundamental frequency of vibration.  If an applied vibration will coincide with either the natural frequency or fundamental frequency of the material, the amplitude or length of the sway will become infinite and the material or building will totally disintegrate and collapse.  It is called resonance.

After the October 2013 earthquake, I was hired by the Municipality of Loon, Bohol to investigate their destroyed public market for insurance purposes.  I made the proper mathematical computations and discovered that the main cause of the destruction was not the swaying of the market building but the resonance of the natural frequency of the materials and the frequency of the earthquake vibration.

The earthquake vibration frequency coincided with the natural frequency of a concrete hollow block or a coral stone.  Since the church was constructed of coral stones, you will notice that it disintegrated into dust-like sizes.

Boring Test

I have seen and read the boring test conducted at the church area.  The test indicated that the rocks below the church area are unconsolidated limestone and coral stone.  Therefore the site has a tendency to have a magnified vibration.

1850 Collapse

Vibrations can have an upper bound and lower bound.  The earthquake was an upper bound vibration.  The lower bound vibrations are imperceptible vibrations that will happen to accentuate or gather together to produce a vibration that can cause resonance or near resonance. Apparently it was what happened in 1850. There was a resonance of the building and the lower bound vibrations that caused the church building to collapse.

If you will ask residents of high rise buildings in Metro Manila they will tell you that there will be a time when the tall building will suddenly shake.

The modern solution for this phenomenon is to hang a huge and heavy pendulum within the building to counteract the effect of the lower bound vibrations.

An example of this phenomenon is the small waves and ripples at sea that will suddenly cause a huge rogue wave of about 20 meters high and then suddenly disappear.

The Augustinian Recollect priests were able to start reconstruction after four (4) years.  It is now two (2) years after the church collapse in 2013, can the present church authorities beat the feat of the Recollects? (By Jes B. Tirol)

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