An aerial photo of the devastation of Loon township, Bohol province in central Philippines Wednesday Oct.16, 2013, a day after a 7.2-magnitude quake hit Bohol and Cebu provinces. The tremor collapsed buildings, cracked roads and toppled the bell tower of the Philippines’ oldest church Tuesday morning, causing multiple deaths across the central region and sending terrified residents into deadly stampedes. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
LOON, Philippines (AP) — The earthquake that killed at least 156 people in the central Philippines also took its toll on the region’s historical and religious legacy by heavily damaging a dozen or more churches, some centuries old.
As rescuers reached some of the hardest-hit areas and the death toll from Tuesday’s quake rose, images of the wrecked religious buildings resonated across a nation where 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.
The bell tower toppled from Cebu city’s 16th-century Basilica of the Holy Child — a remnant of the Spanish colonial era and the country’s oldest church building — becoming a pile of rubble in the courtyard.
Other churches on the neighboring island of Bohol, epicenter of the quake and a popular tourist destination known for its beaches, were also Login to read more