Categories
Negros Oriental

San Isidro Labrador Parish Church

Designated as a town in 1850, Zamboanguita was initially under the spiritual administration of Dauin until it was established as a parish by the Recollects dedicated to St. Isidore the Farmer some 15 years later.

The first Recollect missionary assigned to Zamboanguita when it became a parish on May 21, 1866 was Fr. Faustino Sanchez. He arrived in the town in December of that same year and was parish priest until September 1867.

Categories
Cebu

Plaza Hamabar

Hamabar was one of the names of Rajah Humabon, the leader of Cebu, a flourishing trading post and settlement since the 10th century. He was also known as Humabad.

Humabon was regarded as the “wisest and bravest man on the island” of Sugbu (Cebu), the “king and lord over eight chieftains and over 2,000 lancers,” according to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

“He was chieftain of the confederation of barangays and known as their supreme ruler. Cebu was then an entrepot, with a flourishing trade with Siam (Thailand), China, Borneo, etc. This was evident in the ornaments that adorned the bodies and clothes of its people, as well as in the fine china used in its royal houses and court.” the NHCP said.

Humabon was the chieftain of Cebu when the Armada de Molucca headed by explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521.

The chronicler of that expedition, Antonio Pigafetta, described him as a short and fat man who had his face painted with fire in diverse patterns.

PINTADOS. This image shows Visayan Pintados – so called because of the tattoos that cover their bodies. The image is part of the Boxer Codex a manuscript written in the late 1500s that contained illustrations of ethnic groups in the country. Humabon, like many Visayans, was also covered in tattoos.
PINTADOS. This image shows Visayan Pintados – so called because of the tattoos that cover their bodies. The image is part of the Boxer Codex a manuscript written in the late 1500s that contained illustrations of ethnic groups in the country. Humabon, like many Visayans, was also covered in tattoos.

“We found the king of Zzubu at his palace, seated on the ground on a mat of palms, with many people. He was naked except for a linen cloth covering his private parts, and round his head a very loose cloth, embroidered with silk. Round his neck he had a very heavy and rich chain, and in his ears two gold rings hung with precious stones,” read a translation of Pigafetta’s writings.

Humabon was named Carlos after the Spanish king when he was baptized together with his subjects into the Catholic faith by Magellan. His young and beautiful wife, given the name Juana like the king’s mother, was gifted with the image of the Sto. Niño in gratitude for their hospitality.

In memory of this man stands Plaza Hamabar, located across the Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu in Mabini St.

Categories
Cebu

1730 Jesuit House Museum

The oldest dated house in the Philippines was hidden in plain sight inside a warehouse in Cebu’s Parian district for many years.

Jaime Sy, who owns the house and Ho Tong Hardware within the compound, stumbled upon its significance quite by accident. At the Ateneo, when he was in college, Sy was flipping through a book of old Jesuit houses in the Philippines by Fr. Repetti when he made out a structure that looked familiar. It turned out to be the family bodega in Cebu.

Categories
Cebu

San Juan Bautista Parish Church

Dionisio Alo stood seething with anger as authorities tore down the magnificent San Juan Bautista Parish Church in Parian in the late 1870s.

“His heart bled with every stone that was removed and all he could do was bite his lips causing them to also bleed,” said Ang Sugbo sa Karaang Panahon: An Annotated Translation of the 1935 History of Cebu by Fe Susan Go.

Alo, who was capitan of the Parian gremio, was so angry at the destruction that he unknowingly crushed the golden handle of his baston.

The destruction of what had been described in various historical sources as the most magnificent church in Cebu was the end of centuries of struggle between the local mestizo community and the Spanish friars who wanted control over the structure.

The Parian church, according to Go’s translation submitted to the University of San Carlos as her masteral thesis in history, “has never been surpassed by any other church that has been built in Cebu, such as the Cathedral, the Seminary and San Nicolas.” It was built in 1602.

The San Juan Bautista Parish Church in the Parian district is described as having been the most magnificent church in Cebu. (PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE CEBUANO STUDIES CENTER OF USC)
The San Juan Bautista Parish Church in the Parian district is described as having been the most magnificent church in Cebu. (PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE CEBUANO STUDIES CENTER OF USC)

What remains on the site today, the San Juan Bautista chapel, is but a faint reminder of an opulent past.

“The church was made of stone blocks, plastered together in a mixture of lime and the sap of the lawat tree. The roofs were made of tiles, and the lumber used was molave, balayong and naga. The paraphernalia used in the mass was made purely of gold, the pews were carved by a sculptor of the Parian, the altars were covered with stone slabs with money and gold inlaid, and the church bells were big and loud. The tolling of these bells was so loud that it could be heard as far as Hilotungan ang the town of Talisay,” Go said in her thesis.

“The Augustinian friars upon seeing the magnificence of the church of the Parian, got envious, and employed every shrewd means they could think of to take over the Parian church,” the thesis said.

Fr. Rafael Vasquez, a Parianon, however, fought back and kept the friars at bay.

Go said in one of her footnotes that Augustinian Fr. Santos Gomez Marañon filed a petition “to have the Parian parish supressed and incorporated into the Cathedral.”
Rivalry

Go said, “Many reasons for this request were given, but it definitely had the earmarks of a direct challenge against the dominance of the Chinese mestizo community of Parian and their elaborate church, which far outshone the cathedral.”

Through the years, however, the rivalry with Spanish friars continued with succeeding priests and capitans of the Parian gremio.

During the time of Don Pedro Rubi as Parian captain, the bishop ordered that masses be held at the church only on Sundays.

During the time of Don Maximo Borromeo as captain, the bishop “removed the right of the Visayas priests to officiate mass in the Parian Church.”

The San Juan Bautista Parish Church in a diorama of the old Pari-an district located inside one of the galleries of the Museo Pari-an sa Sugbo 1730 Jesuit House, which is located just a few meters away from here.
The San Juan Bautista Parish Church in a diorama of the old Pari-an district located inside one of the galleries of the Museo Pari-an sa Sugbo 1730 Jesuit House, which is located just a few meters away from here.

“In retaliation the residents of the Parian decided to make use of the school across from the church and converted it into a chapel where the parish priest of Parian could officiate the mass.”

In 1875, Dionisio Alo, known as Capitan Isyo, became capitan of the Parian gremio. With the San Juan Bautista fiesta in June approaching, Capitan Isyo called for a meeting to discuss preparations. The fiesta was a big affair in the area with most Parian residents spending “as much as three thousand pesos” for the celebration.

Capitan Isyo also wanted to discuss who would replace their parish priest, the Ilonggo Fr. Anselmo “Pari Imoy” Albanceña, who died in December 1874. The replacement would be celebrating the fiesta mass.

Fr. Tomas de la Concepcion, the parish priest of the cathedral, told the group “to request the bishop to appoint a white priest.” De la Concepcion said there was no Filipino priest capable of being named to the post.

Capitan Isyo, however, strongly disagreed and shouted at a cabeza de barangay who agreed with the suggestion.

“At that instance, a quarrel broke out between the two. While Capitan Isyo used his prerogatives as head of the mestizo gremio, Padre Tomas also made use of his power as representative of the Bishop in order to force Capitan Isyo to yield and accept (a) white priest as their parish and spiritual guide.”

The heated and bitter exchange ended with the two deciding not to hold a mass for the fiesta or even holding any celebrations.

Followers of Capitan Isyo feared he would be excommunicated and tried to change his mind but the nationalist community leader just told them, “I would prefer that the church be destroyed rather than have a friar in it.”

Fr. Tomas kept a grudge against Parian and “boasted to his priestly friends, especially the friars, that he was obsessed with the complete destruction of the Parian church.”

When Fr. Tomas reported the incident to the bishop, including Capitan Isyo’s declaration that he would rather have the church destroyed than have a white priest in it, the bishop felt insulted.

On June 24, 1875, the bishop forbade the parish priest from saying mass in the Parian church. The community’s fiesta celebration was also overseen by the Cathedral parish priest. Capitan Isyo could not do anything and his enemies made sure he would keep his post so that they could exact their revenge. They told residents that the capitan was to blame for what happened in Parian.

The bishop then ordered a Spanish engineer to check the durability of the Parian church. The engineer later informed the governor that the materials used to build the church were weak and the structure, including the stone wall that surrounded it, should be torn down.

The governor of Cebu then ordered the destruction of the church. He also ordered the bishop to take possession of everything inside the church, including its statues and bells.

While Ang Sugbo Sa Karaang Panahon listed the destruction of the church as having occurred in 1875-1876, Go said “the actual destruction of the church seems to have taken place in late 1878 or 1879.

According to information printed on a photograph found at the Cebuano Studies Center in the University of San Carlos, “the convent of the church was spared and was used later during the American regime as a public library and a fire station.”

Categories
Cebu

Heritage of Cebu Monument

Cement, iron, and steel come together to form the towering Heritage of Cebu Monument built right on the original Plaza Parian in Cebu City.

Conceptualized by the late National Artist sculptor Eduardo Castrillo, the mammoth structure depicts significant moments in Cebu’s history beginning with that fateful fight of April 21, 1521 in the island of Mactan where native chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The monument also portrays as well the conversion of Rajah Humabon and his followers to Christianity, local revolution against Spanish rule, Cebuano veneration of Sto. Nino, and beatification of first Cebuano saint Pedro Calungsod.

PLAZA PARIAN. This photo taken at about 1910 shows the old Plaza Parian, looking down to corner Colon Street. There were only a few automobiles in Cebu at this time and most went around in tartanillas or horse-drawn carriages. (This photo is part of the Galileo Medalle collection of the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of the San Carlos and is used in this project with the center’s permission.)

Construction of the structure began in July 1997; its inauguration was on December 8, 2000.

Funding for the monument’s construction came from the late Cebuano senator Marcelo Fernan as well as private individuals and groups.

Historical structures carved into the huge monolith are the Basilica del Santo Nino, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, San Juan Bautista Parish Church, Magellan’s Cross, and a Spanish Galleon.

Also to be found in the monument are statues of the late president Sergio Osmena Sr. and Blessed Pedro Calungsod.

The structure is in Parian, which got its name from the word “pari-pari” meaning to barter or trade, according to scholar and historian Resil Mojares. It was where the wealthy Chinese merchants of old lived and held lavish events. A few homes constructed during the 17th to 19th century remain standing today.

Categories
Siquijor

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Church

Enrique Villanueva was erected as a town and parish close to 50 years after the creation of the first five parishes in the island of Siquijor.

It wasn’t part of the cluster of five parishes that were already established by 1877 under the religious administration of the Augustinian Recollects.

Formerly known as Talingting, from the species of fish that used to thrive abundantly in the area, it used to be a barrio of the Siquijor town of Cano-an that is now called Larena.

Talingting became Enrique Villanueva after the Negros Oriental governor who was instrumental in its creation as a town in 1925. The island of Siquijor was ceded to Negros Oriental from 1854 to 1892, becoming a sub-province in 1901 and independent province in 1971 by virtue of Republic Act No. 6398.

Modern construction

Enrique Villanueva doesn’t have a church that can trace its beginnings to the Spanish period. The parish, which has Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for patron, features a church of modern construction built in the early 20th century.

While it’s a fairly new structure, the church of Enrique Villanueva is one of six visited by devout Catholics as part of an island pilgrimage called Round Siquijor.

If you’re doing the pilgrimage, you are in the fifth stop of your undertaking. The chapel that houses the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is where you light the seven candles and pray your special intention.

Next stop — the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Larena — is just 20 to 30 minutes by car or public transport.

Categories
Intramuros

Former site of the Manila High School

The market known as the Parian de San Jose once stood on this site from 1783-1860. Established by Governor-General Jose Basco, 1738; then demolished, 1860.

This site was then occupied by the Escuela Municipal de Niñas from 1892-1899. It was renamed as the Manila Grammar School and American High School, 1899-1905, then as the Manila High School, 1906.

An undated US Colonial Era postcard featuring the Manila High School. Photo from the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation
An undated US Colonial Era postcard featuring the Manila High School. Photo from the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation.

It was renamed again as the Manila South High School in 1921; then as the Araullo High School, 1930.

It was destroyed during the Second World War. The name reverted to Manila High School in 1958.

Categories
Intramuros

Former site of the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura

Established by Royal Decree in 1846, the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura was incorporated under the School of Arts and Trade in 1889.

It was elevated to the rank of an Escuela Superior in 1893 but was dissolved due to lack of funding in 1898.

Categories
Intramuros

Former site of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas

The school was established by the friars of the Order of the Preachers as the Colegio de Santo Tomas de Nuestra Señora de Santissimo Rosario in 1611.

In 1645, It was raised to the status of a university by Pope Innocent X.

The university was graced with the following titles: “Royal” by King Charles III of Spain, 1785; “Pontifical” by Pope Leo XIII, 1902; and “Catholic University of the Philippines”by Pope Pius XII, 1947.

The library of the University of Santo Tomas in 1887. The library was first mentioned in 1605 in the will of Archbishop Miguel de Benavides, the acknowledged founder of the university. Photo from the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana.
The library of the University of Santo Tomas in 1887. The library was first mentioned in 1605 in the will of Archbishop Miguel de Benavides, the acknowledged founder of the university. Photo from the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana.

It was destroyed during the Second World War. It moved out of Intramuros in 1945 to Sampaloc, Manila, where its present campus now stands.

The office building that occupies the site was constructed in the 1960s.

Categories
Intramuros

Former site of Beaterio de la Compaña de Jesus

The Beaterio de la Compaña de Jesus was established by the Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo in 1678. No less than the Archbishop of Manila approved the rules of the order in 1732.

It was granted royal recognition in 1755 and canonically approved by the Holy See in 1931. Destroyed during the Second World War, the beaterio was reconstructed as the Bagumbayan Light and Sounds Museum in 2003.