Monday, August 02, 2010

Misamis Occidental: Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo in Ozamiz and the Jimenez Church

When you are in Ozamiz, there are two heritage sites worth visiting in the area: the Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo Historical Landmark in Ozamiz City, and the Jimenez Church, a National Cultural Treasure and probably the best-preserved Spanish colonial church in Mindanao, located in the town of Jimenez about 20 minutes from Ozamiz.

The Ozamiz Fort, just like Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City, has one side of its walls transformed into a religious shrine. Built in 1756 out of coral stone, it has four bastions (baluarte) namely San Fernando, San Jose, Santiago and San Ignacio. It became a shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The image also referred to as Virgen sa Cota is venerated every July 16 by devotees.

Before proceeding to Jimenez, we had lunch along the way at Palayan Seafoods Restaurant beside the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP). We ordered native chicken for lunch. And you could request them to cook the chicken in various ways: tinonuan, adobo and tinola. The adobo in Mindanao is sweet and spicy, unlike the Luzon version which is on the sour side. Tinonuan is a coconut milk-based soup.

The San Juan Bautista Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental was built in the 19th century by the Augustinian Recollects. According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), it has retained its original clock metalwork and paintings. It adds that the ceiling of painted canvass which was installed in 1898 actually concealed an earlier mural painted directly on the wooden ceiling.

What I like about Jimenez town is the fact that many of its ancestral houses are still intact. If we had more time, it would have been nice to walk around the town and appreciate its old houses. From the Jimenez Church, we drove further north to Oroquieta City.

Update (08/03/2010): I almost forgot to include one more interesting heritage structure in Misamis Occidental. And that would be the Misamis Occidental Provincial Capitol in Oroquieta City. It looks similar to the capitol building of Surigao del Norte. But unfortunately, there's a basketball court right in front of the grand building! Such a shame!
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