Sunday, January 03, 2010
Aurora: Old Baler and the Quezon legacy
Baler and the Quezons - Pres. Manuel Quezon and Dona Aurora Aragon-Quezon - will always be synonymous with each other. The fact that they were both from Baler is very much evident. Aurora Province, for one, is named after the former first lady. Its mother province, the former Tayabas Province, was renamed in honor of President Quezon.
Aside from gearing itself to be an adventure tourism destination, Baler is poised to restore its historical heritage. As a sign of local pride, the Quezon and Aragon homes have been reconstructed and restored as well. A replica of the nipa hut where President Quezon was born now stands beside the Museo de Baler where a statue of the former president can also be found.
Only a few months ago, the reconstructed home of Dona Aurora Aragon-Quezon was completed. Beside it, the National Historical Institute has placed on display Quezon's presidential car.
I was told that there are plans to restore the Baler Church, a National Historical Landmark, bringing it back to its 1899 look, a reminder that it had been the site of the last stand of Spanish forces in the country. As the Siege of the Church of Baler marker mentions, a Spanish garrison of four officers and fifty men was besieged in the church by Filipino forces from June 27, 1898 to June 2, 1899. Check out a previous post on Baler heritage for more details.