CULTURAL LEARNING. Guests mostly employees of the Cagayan de Oro City government, listen to the local tour at the Bell Church, on Tuesday (Jan. 17, 2023). Amid the weeklong celebration of the Chinese New Year, the local government partnered with the Filipino Chinese community to open the Bell Church to the public to promote its tourism potential and raises awareness on the history of the local Filipino-Chinese community. (Photo courtesy of John Asuncion)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The local government here has partnered with the Filipino-Chinese community to open the iconic Bell Church to the public to reignite local tourism and learning local history.

In an interview Tuesday, John Asuncion, head of Trade and Investments Promotions Center (TIPC), said Bell Church is a universal church established by the Chinese in the city, symbolizing reverence to various religious denominations: Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam.

"We are given the opportunity to showcase the unique Filipino-Chinese culture we have grown up with and share to the greater public the beautiful influences that have molded us into who we are now as an individual and as a community," Asuncion said.

The opening of the Bell Church to the public is part of the weeklong celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Asuncion, who is also the chairperson of the Chinese New Year Festival Committee, said the tour will run from Jan. 17 to 19 to give Kagay-anons the opportunity to understand the culture and tradition of the Bell Church, as well as the significance.

The Bell Church started its roots in the religious group founded by Ng Pee in 1954 in Baguio City.

The Bell Church was constructed here in 1989.

During the devastation of Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) in 2011, Asuncion said the church was flooded but the statues of saints on the altar, as well as the holy water contained in the glass, were not destroyed. (PNA)