Malolos diocese claiming 2 bells returned to Philippines | Global News

Malolos diocese claiming 2 bells returned to Philippines

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 05:13 AM October 29, 2011

The Catholic diocese of Malolos is claiming ownership rights to two century-old bells recently turned over by American Catholic nuns to the Philippine government.

Msgr. Andres Valera, vicar general of the Diocese of Malolos, said the diocese has the right of ownership to the historic bells if indeed the two bells were taken from a church in Meycauayan, Bulacan, 112 years ago during the Philippine-American War.

American Catholic nuns from the congregation of the Sisters of Mary based in Omaha, Nebraska, turned over the two small bells to the Philippine consulate in Chicago some three weeks ago.


The bells are reportedly set to be turned over by the consulate to the Philippine National Museum.


The Philippine government has long been seeking the return of two big bells taken by US forces from Balangiga, Samar, during the war. It was not commonly known that bells were also taken by American soldiers from a church in Bulacan.

Valera admitted that the diocese had no idea about the bells prior the turnover this month. He surmised that they probably belonged to the St. Francis of Assisi Parish, one of the oldest churches in Meycauayan.

“We will conduct our studies about the bells and discuss our plans about it,” said Valera in an interview with CBCP News, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“If they will return it to the Church that would be a welcome development,” said Valera. “But I think that should really be returned to us if indeed they are properties of the Church.”

Meycauayan is also one of the largest parishes in the Malolos Diocese, founded by the Franciscans in 1578, with an estimated 80,000 parishioners.

The priest said a church bell, normally, has an inscription indicating where it came from, from what parish and who donated it. “Church bells have names, so anybody cannot just claim it,” he added.


The two bells turned over to the Philippines are connected by “a hard block of black wood with a handle on top,” described the US newspaper Omaha World-Herald.

A written note on the wood states that the bells were taken from a church at Meycauayan in Luzon “after bombardment by Utah Battery on March 29, 1899.”

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TAGS: Philippine-American war

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