Simple IEC pavilion set for turnover tomorrow

After one year and three months of work, the pavilion for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) will be turned over to the Cebu Archdiocese.

Officers of the Duros Development Corp., the private firm which offered to build the venue for the international event, led the local media in a walk through at the project site behind the archdiocesan seminary grounds in barangay Mabolo.

Unlike other convention centers, the three-story Eucharistic Pavilion has simple cement finish on its walls and floors.

Architect Carlos Pio Zafra said he was instructed by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo to do away with flamboyant designs.

Zafra said Villarojo, the IEC secretary-general, wants the Pavilion to reflect the Church’s mission to be an institution for the poor.

“When we host an international gathering, we’re always tempted to use flamboyant designs. But Bishop Dennis wants a spiritual structure that is simple and humble. He doesn’t want a capricious building,” Zafra told reporters yesterday.

The simplicity of the Pavilion, he said, got the admiration of international delegates who inspected the structure last April.

“We want IEC participants to focus on the stage, not elsewhere,” Zafra said.

Rizal Camangyan Jr., construction manager of DDC, said the Pavilion would be 97 percent complete upon turnover to the archdiocese tomorrow.

The remaining works, which include some finishing touches, testing of equipment and site development, will be completed within the month.

Duros spent over P500 million to build the 26,000-square meter Pavilion which features a huge plenary hall, a theater, function room, and a 500-slot parking lot.

The Sto. Niño Plenary Hall can accommodate 7,000 to 8,500 people, while the gallery on the second floor can hold 3,500 persons.

The cost of building the pavilion is fully shouldered by Duros.

Under an agreement with the Cebu Archdiocese, the construction company pledged to donate the entire pavilion. In exchange,  the archdiocese will give Duros usufruct rights over part of   the seminary property for  25 years.

Since the Pavilion will be used as a pastoral center and the “biggest evacuation center” in Cebu, Zafra said the structure was purposely built to withstand strong earthquakes and typhoons.

Rafaelito Barino, Duros owner and chairman of the board, said he didn’t have second thoughts of building the Pavilion when Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma looked for a venue that can house 12,000 delegates for the IEC.

“I accepted the challenge because I know God will never fail us,” he told reporters.

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