Long lost gold crown with gems of Nuestra Señora del Pilar found PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:25

After for more than 50 years, the long lost gold crown with gems of the miraculous Nuestra Senora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar), who is revered by Zamboanguenos has been found securely inside a safety box of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in this city .

In 1960, a canonical coronation of the image of Nuestra Senora del Pilar was performed by  the Papal Nuncio. However, after the statue was stored more securely and the church administration changed hands, the whereabouts of her gold crown were lost to memory.

Former Archbishop Romulo Valles of Zamboanga was recently informed by a church historian that the statue once wore a crown. He then instituted a search and asked BPI if they have anything in their vault deposited by the church for safekeeping.

BPI replied that they were in possession of a box with the seal of the church which had been handed down from branch manager to branch manager over the years. However, the box was not labeled to indicate what its contents were.

The Archbishop went to the BPI vault at Barrios House to break the seal on the box and, lo and behold!, there sat the gold crown, shining and splendid.
As a consequence of this discovery, BPI will sponsor a mass where the crown would be exposed to the public for the first time after  50 years of reported loss.

Indeed the main BPI Zamboanga branch is a part of the continuing and living history of a frontier town that has grown into a vibrant and colorful city over the last hundred years.

Meanwhile, A century ago, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) opened its second branch in a frontier town called Zamboanga, at the residence of Gen. John Pershing - a merchant house owned by Chinese entrepreneur and convert to Christianity Don Francisco Barrios.

The house where the original BPI Zamboanga opened in 1912 remains intact and the bank branch opened there still serves its community.

The centennial anniversary of this historic BPI branch takes place on August 17, starting with a Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar.

A historical marker in front of the building will be unveiled and the branch will be blessed. The marker signifies the recognition of the National Historical Commission that Barrios House, as the building is known, is a historical landmark.

After the formalities and community events, the BPI Zamboanga main branch will host cocktails to mark its centenary and salute the thriving community that has brought business through its doors for a hundred years.

As part of the centennial celebration of BPI’s historic Zamboanga branch, the second floor of the bank is being converted into a lifestyle museum where life in Zamboanga during the period of its establishment is represented. This museum will be opened to the public as part of the August 17 celebration.

Six rooms and a grand sala make up the museum. The rooms include the bedroom used by Pershing and the BPI branch managers who lived there after him. called the Managers’ Room. The museum also features an array of material on BPI history and the history of the Zamboanga branch, a dining hall and a weapons room, among others. — Nonoy E. Lacson