Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cebu: Around the historic center of Carcar

Carcar is Cebu's best-preserved colonial town. It has dozens of ancestral houses, a charming church complex, elegant government buildings, schools and monuments among others. A visit to Southern Cebu is not complete if you do not stopover in Carcar.

I wonder when they'll print a walking map of Carcar's historic center because the architecture is quite interesting. I've walked around Carcar several times already and it never fails to amaze me. Aside from the very visible ancestral homes along the National Highway, there are even more grand old houses off the main road.

For the longest time, none of the structures in Carcar were even declared, which was quite ironic given the large concentration of built heritage in the town. But this year, four ancestral houses were declared Heritage Houses by the National Historical Institute. They are the Balay na Tisa Heritage House, Mercado Mansion Heritage House, Sa Dakong Balay / Don Florencio Noel House, and the Silva House Heritage House.

Other interesting structures include the Carcar Church (Santa Catalina Church), its convent and parochial school, Upland Elementary School, the Carcar Dispensary which is now a museum, and the Carcar Rotunda.

For more information on Carcar, read Lechon, chicharon and more from Carcar. Aside from its architectural heritage, Carcar is of course famous for lechon and chicharon. So make sure to get some when you're there. Both the chicharon and lechon are sold in the Carcar Public Market.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Malolos, Bulacan hosts 5th Annual Conference on Philippine Towns & Cities

The Provincial Government of Bulacan and City Government of Malolos, in collaboration with Heritage Conservation Society (HCS), Bulacan HCS Chapter, Urban Partnerships Foundation (UPF) and the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP), hosts the 5th Annual Conference on Philippine Towns and Cities (PTC), November 5 to 6, 2010 at the Hiyas Pavilion, Bulacan Provincial Capitol, MacArthur Highway, Malolos, Bulacan.

PTC aims to enhance civic engagement with local governments units in order to inform and guide the LGUs on the proper care and utilization of a valuable asset — built heritage resources.

In our towns and cities, wanton real estate speculation and over-construction are often mistaken for modernization when in fact these exert devastating pressure on the historic and cultural core of many of our human settlements. As a result, a valuable economic resource – built heritage — is left to deteriorate or is thoughtlessly demolished in the name of progress. Concerted effort is imperative to protect heritage resources because these are revenue and job-generating assets that can spark economic revitalization, as the case of Vigan clearly shows.

Highlights this year include a briefing on the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 (RA 10066), lecture and training on cultural mapping, heritage identification and documentation, the Lakbay Republika ng Malolos Heritage Tour and experience riding on a Karatig jeep, Bulacan Artists Art Exhibit launch, photo exhibit of bridges, Art Deco buildings and lighthouses, cultural presentation of Bulacan's Lakan Sining and case studies of selected Philippine towns and cities namely Malolos, Bulacan; Sta. Ana, Manila; Hagonoy, Bulacan; and Antipolo, Rizal.

For more information, contact Dorie Soriano or Luz Regalado of the Heritage Conservation Society at (02) 5466367, (02) 3534494, (0917) 8668853, (0906) 2625631 or e-mail hcs_secretariat@yahoo.com; Rheeza Hernandez (Bulacan HCS) at bul_heritage_conservation@yahoo.com, (0915) 4339438; or Arch. Osie Alfonso (Bulacan HCS) at jcbal2004@yahoo.com, (0917) 909768 or (02) 2380887.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Manila: Galeon Andalucia arrives at Pier 13

The Galeon Andalucia, a replica of the 17th century Spanish galleon, arrived in Manila this morning as part of Dia del Galeon celebrations. I was at Pier 13 as the galleon entered the port and docked. It looked quite majestic as it entered the breakwater. We were among the first to board the galleon together with the entourage of the Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias Romero, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and HCS President Gemma Cruz Araneta.

From October 7 to 8, 2010, the public may visit Galeon Andalucia at Pier 13, which is behind Manila Hotel, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 4 p.m. On October 9, 2010, the galleon will accept visitors only from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Its next port of call is Cebu City.

There is no need for reservations for individuals and groups with less than 30 people. Big groups will have to reserve with the organizers and are only allowed to board in the morning. Take note however that children under eight years old are not allowed due to safety reasons. While children under twelve need to be chaperoned.

Since the capacity of the boat is 100 persons at a time, entrance is on a first-come first-served basis. And guests have to queue in line. So expect some waiting time. Some walking will be required from the registration to the boat.

There will be a waiting area where guests can view an exhibit, mural paintings and information on the Galleon Trade. Also, there will be a creative trade fair selling indigenous arts and crafts, and items from around the world. There is no ample parking at the pier, so you might have to park at the Quirino Grandstand and walk. Better to take a cab or bring a driver.

For inquiries and reservations, e-mail Abi Portillo at diadelgaleon@yahoo.com.

Update (10/11/2010): Galleon Andalucia will be arriving in Cebu on October 13, 2010. Details to follow.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Cebu: Heritage churches of Southern Cebu

I found myself visiting again the heritage churches of Southern Cebu. There are quite a lot actually. So from Cebu City, my class proceeded down south to explore the heritage of Southern Cebu. If you were to choose seven churches, here is the suggested route.

We first stopped at the San Fernando Church (San Isidro Labrador Church) which is built in the Gothic style and completed in 1886.

After San Fernando, we drove to Sibonga Church (Nuestra Senora del Pilar Church) also built in the Gothic style and completed in 1881. It was the town fiesta and there were a lot of people visiting the church. We got to try the torta and pinyato which were both being sold outside the church for just Php5 each!

Then we drove all the way down to the Oslob Church (Inmaculada Concepcion Church) built in the Neo-Classical style and completed in 1847. This church was gutted by fire in 2008 because the parish priest left his modem running while he was out which is not a good idea in a centuries-old structure. The modem overheated and the rest was history. There used to be a really beautiful convento with a clay tile roof right beside the church. But that's gone now. Such a pity!

It's actually had a history of fires. It was burned by Filipino guerillas in 1942. And again, the whole complex got burned in 1955. But what's important is that they restored the church every time it burned. In fact, they're restoring the church again now. I wonder if they'll reconstruct the convento though.

From Oslob, we drove back north to Boljoon Church (Patrocinio de Maria Church) which is both a National Cultural Treasure and a National Historical Landmark. The first church was probably destroyed during the Muslim raid of 1782. Work on the current church, which is built in the Rococo style, began in 1783.

From Boljoon, we visited the Dalaguete Church (San Guillermo de Aquitania Church), also built in the Rococo style and completed in 1825. It's one of the best-preserved churches in Cebu and a National Historical Landmark. Just remember that Dalaguete is pronounced by locals as dalaget.

Argao Church (San Miguel Arcangel Church) was our next stop. It's a National Historical Landmark. I'm sure you've heard the horrible thing one of its previous parish priests did to the church retablo. He painted the exquisite polychrome wooden retablo with gold and silver latex paint making it the biggest trophy case in the country! This church is also constructed in the Rococo style.

Finally, we visited the Carcar Church (Santa Catalina Church), built in the Graeco-Roman style with strong Muslim influence, and completed in 1875. There are more churches to visit in Southern Cebu. These churches featured are from the southeastern side of the island. I'm actually looking forward to my trip to visit the churches of Southwestern Cebu.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Cebu: Walking tour around old Cebu City

As soon as we arrived in Cebu City from Bantayan Island, we went straight to Magellan's Cross in between the City Hall of Cebu and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the starting point of our walking tour around old Cebu City. Our guide was Ka Bino Guerrero, one of the best tour guides in Cebu.

At the Magellan's Cross, Ka Bino gave an overview of Cebu and the cross itself. From Magellan's Cross, we entered the Santo Niño Basilica. Unfortunately, Mass was going on so we had to deal with the large crowd which was there to hear Mass. We were able to enter the church and see the Santo Niño and the intricate main retablo of the basilica.

From the basilica, we crossed over to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit Cathedral Museum of Cebu which I got to visit in 2007 when it was just about to open. So we walked straight to the Parian District to visit the Heritage of Cebu Monument where Ka Bino concluded the tour.

Along the way, he of course told stories about structures which once stood in the area, including the grand Parian Church which was ordered dismantled by the church hierarchy during the Spanish Colonial Period because it was competing with the collections of the Cebu Cathedral.

In Parian, there's also the Yap-Sandiego House, one of the oldest surviving Spanish colonial houses in the Philippines, and the Casa Gorordo Museum. But unfortunately, we had to cut the usual tour short because we had to check-in at our hotel. In any case, if you're planning a walking tour around old Cebu City, Ka Bino is highly-recommended.
Related Posts with Thumbnails