Community and Sectoral OutreachPrograms

Return of the 400-Year Old Church Bell


WEST POINT, New York – On 29 April 2016, a ceremonial handover of a church bell from the Catholic Chapel of the U.S. Military Academy drew attention as a sign of goodwill between America and the Philippines. Sonny Busa, a West Point graduate, represented the US-Philippines Society by making remarks on the significance of the occasion and hosting a small reception.

US-PH Society Director Dennis Wright, Father Rodolfo Beltran and Mayor Martin de Guzman during the ceremonial unveiling of the bell in La Union, Philippines. Also in attendance was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Photo credit: Smart Communications Public Affairs

The massive bell was a gift to Father Mariano Garcia, an assistant priest of Bauang, La Union, by the Province Lieutenant-Governor D. Mariano Balancio and Lieutenant Hilario Calica in 1883. It was removed from the Church in 1901 to prevent fighters in the Philippine-American War from melting it to make weapons. The USMA’s 21st Superintendent Thomas H. Barry transferred the bell to West Point in 1915 where it was later displayed with the inscription “Symbol of peace that even the ravages of war could not destroy.”


Historical Bell at the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in West Point

US-Philippines Society Director Dennis Wright and Society member Dan McKinnon facilitated the agreement between Fr. Ronald Chan, parish priest of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, and the USMA’s current Superintendent Lt. Gen Robert L. Caslen, Jr. for the bell’s return to Bauang. Transportation is being arranged by US authorities.

Representing Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr., remarked that the handover is a fitting gesture to commemorate the 70th anniversary of US-Philippines diplomatic relations. Consul General De Leon was joined by members of the Filipino American community, U.S. officials, cadets, military officers and guests.

To view video highlights, please click on the following link: ABS-CBN Video News

Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Bauang, La Union. Photo credit: Dennis Wright

Previous post

Disaster Resiliency Program in Aklan, Philippines

Next post

In Memoriam Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan (October 19, 1923 - August 17, 2016)