Showing posts with label Mangatarem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mangatarem. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pangasinan: Visita iglesia to Western Pangasinan churches

Pangasinan has a lot of heritage churches. And it being a really big province, the churches are scattered all over. One route is the Western Pangasinan route from Camiling, Tarlac to Bolinao, Pangasinan. I noticed old churches in the towns of Mangatarem, Aguilar, Bugallon, Lingayen, Labrador, Alaminos, and Bolinao.

The first stop is the church in Mangatarem. You can't miss the Mangatarem Church because of its large green dome. The convento beside it is also intact but renovations have been done to the interior.

Aguilar is a next town. The Aguilar Church is very much intacts since the simple ceiling paintings, its wooden retablo and the convento are still there. I hope it stays that way.

Bugallon does not seem to have an old church. That's because the old town church is not along the National Highway. You'll have to enter Brgy. Salasa to see this old red brick church. The Salasa Church even has remnants of its old perimeter wall still standing.

Since I started late in the afternoon, I stayed in Lingayen for the night. It's a coastal town and if you're very observant, you'll notice some colorful birds every now and then. The Lingayen Co-Cathedral (its co-cathedral is in Dagupan). This one is a depressing story. And it is a blatant example of Roman Catholic Church, Inc. which I mentioned in the visita iglesia in Batangas post.

The centuries-old convento was demolished and a commercial structure was built to replace it, all under the watch of Archbishop Oscar Cruz. I expected much more from Archbishop Cruz. This incident is very sad.

When in Lingayen, make sure to drop by the Pangasinan Capitol and Lingayen Beach which is famous because of the MacArthur Landings during the Second World War. Several years back, even the Spanish colonial Casa Real was still intact. But a typhoon blew off its roof and it's now in a very sad situation.

On the way to Alaminos, you'll pass by the town of Labrador. I noticed the church was a bit old but I wasn't able to stop to investigate it further. Alaminos Cathedral, just like many cathedrals, has been renovated inside. It's sad because many of the old houses are still intact. I wonder when they demolished the orginal municipio because the plaza would have made an interesting cultural tourism attraction.

I hope Mayor Hernani Braganza realizes the strong potential of Alaminos, not just as an eco-tourism destination, but as a cultural and culinary destination. I'd really enjoy it if some of those old houses were converted into restaurants that serve Alaminos longaniza among other things! It would be a great stopover when visiting the Hundred Islands or Bolinao.

At the end of the road is Bolinao Church. I'll talk more about Bolinao in a different post. But worth mentioning is that it is challenging the claim of Limasawa as the site of the first Mass in the Philippines. Records say that it was Italian missionary Blessed Odorico who, on his way to china, said the first Mass when he took refuge in Bolinao Bay during a storm in 1324. The claim further mentions that he even baptized several locals making him the first evangelizer in the Philippines.

You can also do the Central Pangasinan route which takes you to Manaoag, Calasiao, San Carlos and Binmaley among others.

Part 2: Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan
Part 3: Tondol White Sand Beach in Anda, Pangasinan during high tide

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pangasinan: Another road trip in Pangasinan

I made another trip to Lingayen, Pangasinan today to attend to some business at the elegant Pangasinan Provincial Capitol. I left Pampanga together with my brods Ryan and Adrei at 6 a.m. We were rushing since we had to be there at 9 a.m. So the only stopover we made was at the Jollibee drive-thru in Luisita.

The fastest route to Lingayen is via Santa Ignacia and Camiling, Tarlac passing through the town of San Clemente before reaching the first town of Pangasinan which is Mangatarem. Camiling used to have a grand church, the oldest and largest church in Tarlac. But unfortunately, this heritage church got burned in April 1997. I noticed that Camiling still has a lot of heritage structures around the poblacion area. If the local government unit is able to do things right they could still save the character of the town.

As we entered Pangasinan we were greeted by some of the best views of the Philippine countryside. The rice crop was just about ready for harvesting so the fields were immaculately green with the rice grains at a golden brown. Behind the fields were the foothills of the Zambales mountains. If only we had time to stop over. Sigh!

Anyway, Mangatarem had a really old church and intact convento. You would immediately notice it because of its oversized turquoise blue dome. I promised myself to check it out on the way back. There were several Gabaldon schoolhouses and a colonial period town hall as well. The next town Aguilar had an equally impressive church as well as an intact covento very similar to the one in Mangatarem.

After passing through the town of Bugallon, we made a right at the intersection following the road to Dagupan. Lingayen was just a few kilometers away. You could immediately see the belltower of the church as you neared the capital town of Pangasinan. As you enter, you are greeted by several ancestral houses.

Although there are still a large number of heritage structures in the town, Lingayen is on the verge of transforming itself into another nondescript Filipino community without character. The stupid parish priest had demolished a centuries-old brick convento and replaced it with commercial stalls (left). The parish priest could have preserved the convento by employing adaptive re-use, altering the interiors to accomodate commercial stalls.

In the center of town is a modern public market. But just beside it is one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial period casas reales in the country (right) which is now used by the Sangguniang Bayan of Lingayen. If only the local government in Lingayen was able to regulate the designs of these new buildings. There is a proper way of building new structures in old districts. Scale and proportions are very important.

We finally made it to the Pangasinan Capitol after two hours and thirty minutes traveling. It was the second time for me to visit the building. And looking at the stately building which the provincial government painstakingly restored to its pristine condition gives me hope for heritage. The governor is in the process of landscaping the boulevard and open spaces that lead to the said building. For this I say, "Bravo Governor Agbayani!" It's sad that he is on his third term.

After our meeting we visited the beach right at the back of the Capitol which was the landing site of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Lingayen. On display are some World War II relics such as a fighter plane and a tank, as well as old photos in an exhibit area built by the LGU. We made our way to the fine gray sand beach which had a hotel and huts-for-rent.

We didn't have much time since we wanted to be in Pampanga before 5 p.m. So we made our way back after a quick lunch.

We were able to take photos at the Aguilar Church which was still very much intact except for the fact that they had replaced the old floor tiles with cheap marble. We really need to educate our priests and parish pastoral councils. I saw remnants of the black and white tiles outside and could imagine how much more charming the interior of the church would have looked with those tiles.

The ceiling, choirloft, pulpit and retablo were intact as well and I hope it remains that way. Right beside it was the original convento which except for the cement palitada inside, was very much the same structure. FYI, there is a proper mixture of palitada for these old churches and the current cement mixture is too strong and does not allow the structure to breathe.

After Aguilar, I can't remember what happened since I was too tired and lacked sleep having slept for only an hour the night before. So I was asleep for most of the trip back and thus missed stopovers at Mangatarem and Camiling. Oh well, maybe next time!
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