Categories
Iloilo

Jaro Cathedral

Among the most illustrious in Iloilo City is the heritage district of Jaro. This is the home of the national hero Graciano Lopez y Jaena. The district pays him tribute through the numerous streets and buildings named after him and statues built in his honor.

The Jaro Cathedral is the seat of Catholicism in Western Visayas and is the center for devotion to the Our Lady of the Candles. The stairs on the cathedral’s facade leads to a shrine of the Our Lady of the Candles above the main entrance of the church.

This photo reportedly taken in about 1889 shows the Jaro Cathedral and belfry with a bamboo replica of the Eiffel Tower, the icon of modernity in its times. Note the absence of the two church towers that were added much later.
This photo reportedly taken in about 1889 shows the Jaro Cathedral and belfry with a bamboo replica of the Eiffel Tower, the icon of modernity in its times. Note the absence of the two church towers that were added much later.

What’s distinctive about the church is that it’s bell tower is located across the street, near Jaro Plaza. While belfries are typically built next to their churches, the Jaro bell tower was built away from the church because the area is prone to earthquakes.

The cathedral was built in 1874 but was damaged by an earthquake in January 1948. It was repaired in 1956 by the first Archbishop of Jaro, Jose Maria Cuenco.

The Archdiocese of Jaro is one of the oldest dioceses in the country, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines website.

“It was created a diocese by virtue of a papal bull of Pope Pius IX on May 27, 1865, according to a document signed by Archbishop Gregorio Martinez, then Archbishop of Manila, under whole ecclesiastical province the new diocese belonged as suffragan,” the site said.

Its fiesta every February 2 is marked with pageantry, gastronomy and cockfighting.

A gift shop is found beside the church and blessed candles are always a good buy – for pasalubong or personal use.

A street separates the church from its belfry, which is built high so it can be seen almost all throughout Iloilo City.

Categories
Uncategorized

Welcome to Samboan

As one of the few towns located at the southernmost tip of Cebu, Samboan is an unspoiled gem of natural wonders and ancient stone monuments.

It is home to rivers, springs, waterfalls, caves and clean coastlines as well as structures that are hundreds of years old and bear silent witness to Samboan’s early years.

The town center is perched atop hill and forms a landscape that offers a panoramic view of the Tañon Strait and neighboring islands like Negros.

Town officials explain the name Samboan as coming from “sinamboang,” a method of fishing once commonly used by local fishers.

The story goes that during the early Spanish period years, the Spaniards who were the first to reach the town asked a fisherman for the name of the place. The fisherman, who didn’t understand a word of Spanish, thought they wanted to know what he was doing and so he answered “sinamboang.”

For reasons of simplicity and brevity, the name was shortened to Samboang which later on became Samboan.

History

Located shorly before the very tip of the island, Samboan is one of the oldest towns in Cebu.

Historical accounts state the town was spotted by combatants of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi while they were doing reconnaissance of the island from March 15 to April 22, 1565, during the first few months of their arrival in Cebu.

The tranquil place started out as the Encomienda Canamucan and became one of the visitas of the Parroquia de Barili de Santa Ana (parish of Barili) in the 1600s. As a visita, it was under the jurisdiction of the parish priest of Barili who made scheduled visits to hold masses and other religious activities.

Samboan was made an independent parish on November 3, 1784 under the patronage of San Miguel Arcangel (St. Michael Archangel), with Ginatilan, Malabuyoc and Alegria under its territorial jurisdiction. Its first parish priest was Romualdo Avila, a Franciscano Decalzo.

One of the priests that came after him was the great Fray Melchor de Vera, a Jesuit priest that was credited with having built the Spanish fortifications that served as protection against pirate raids.

People’s paradise

Life in Samboan, which is 140 kilometers or four hours of travel by bus from the central city of Cebu, is rustic and simple.

The town has progressed with the times while preserving the old ways, evidenced by the extant centuries-old structures and collection of rare items that offer glimpses into Samboan’s distant past.

People still live on the bounties of the water and the soil.

They seek to preserve the seas that provide them with an abundant catch by creating marine sanctuaries and the land that yield a plentiful harvest by keeping the forests untouched and the waterways clean.

As a result, they’ve created a people’s paradise for everyone to enjoy, in the form of unspoiled waterfalls, rivers, and seas.

Quick facts

Classification: 5th class municipality
Population: 18,140 (2010 census)
Land Area: 4,500 hectares
No. of barangays: 15: Barangays Basak Bonbon, Bulangsuran, Calatagan, Cambigong, Camburoy, Cañorong, Colase, Dalahikan, Jumangpas, Monteverde, Poblacion, San Sebastian, Suba and Tangbo
Distance from Cebu City: 140 km, southwest of Cebu City
Estimated time of arrival from Cebu: 4 hours via public transport
Means of transportation from Cebu: Bus
Livelihood: Farming and fishing

Categories
Cebu

Campanario de Antigua

A painstaking restoration of the original watchtower, the Campanario de Antigua in Samboan formed part of a series of fortifications in southern Cebu aimed at providing coastal settlements early warning of pirate raids during the Spanish colonial era.

The watchtower in Samboan is located over 200 feet above sea level.

When it was constructed in 1878 under the supervision of then parish priest Toribio Gerzon, coral stone slabs were used for its foundation and walls and terracotta tiles for the roof.

It was built on a plateau that was the nucleus of the Spanish settlement in Samboan beginning in the 17th century.

Now the location of the town center, the flat hilltop also hosts the Municipal Hall and other local government buildings, St. Michael Archangel Church and belltower, Samboan Museum, and a small picturesque plaza.

A series of stone steps hand-carved on the side of the hill connects the coastal area with the plateau.

Called the Escala de Jacob or Jacob’s Ladder, the staircase ends at the foot of the watchtower. Before the coastal road that snakes around the island of Cebu was built, the steps reached as far down as the shore.

Samboan’s Campanario de Antigua faces the Tañon Strait. A 1970 photo of the watchtower owned by the Filipinas Heritage Library showed the structure to be in ruins, without a roof and with only one side of the square base and the two pillars remaining.

The three-storey Samboan watchtower has been restored to its former glory, with stone walls, sturdier flooring and steps leading to the two higher levels, and wooden railings.

Visitors may go up to the watchtower’s third level for a breathtaking vista of the town center, sea, and neighboring islands.

Categories
Cebu

Escala de Jacob

This flight of steps in Samboan that goes all the way down to the coastal highway is called Jacob’s Ladder or Escala de Jacob.

It was named after Jacob, the biblical ancestor of the 12 tribes of Israel who in his dream saw a ladder extending all the way from earth to heaven, explained the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Before the coastal highway that snakes around the island of Cebu was constructed, the steps that ascend up to the town center, which is located on a plateau over 200 feet high, began on the seashore. A portion of the stairway was demolished to make way for the coastal road.

Built in 1878 upon the instruction of then parish priest Fr. Toribio Gerzon, the hand-carved staircase of flat stones and lime was intended to make it easier for parishioners in the low-lying areas to attend mass.

Like any Spanish settlement in the Philippines, the central complex was where all the important buildings were located. In the case of the Philippine pueblos, the blueprint was for the settlement center to host the church, rectory, municipal hall, and plaza.

In the case of Samboan, the St. Michael Archangel Parish Church was built atop the plateau and best accessed from the lowlands through the Escala de Jacob.

The staircase, now made up of 147 steps, immediately ends at the town’s three-storey Campanario de Antigua (Ancient Watchtower).

Categories
Cebu

Museo de Samboan

For its cultural treasures and heritage memorabilia, Samboan finds a fitting repository in what used to be the town’s old municipal hall.

The Museo de Samboan was inaugurated during the town’s fiesta celebration in 2010. It displays stoneware and pottery, wooden implements and tools, celadons, and religious artifacts.

Some of the relics exhibited – such as Chinese pottery – date back to even before the Spanish colonial period.

Paintings of local artists like Benji Goyha, John Dinglasa, Mimitz Carredo, Lito Nellas, and Roel Fisalbon are also displayed in several galleries.

Another feature of the museum are wooden handicrafts fashioned in the workshop of French exporter Fabrice Desvaux. These were created by native craftsmen.

Prior to its conversion as the town’s two-storey museum, the building was used for a time as the municipal jail and a storage facility by an electric cooperative.

The town ceased using it as a Municipal Hall when the new one beside it was completed.

Prior to its conversion as a two-storey museum, the building had to be stripped of its cement finishing to reveal the original coral stone block walls underneath.

Categories
Intramuros

Postigo del Nuestra Señora de Soledad

Postern used as access from Fort Santiago to the Pasig River. Lieutenant Governor Simon de Anda, leader of Spanish resistance against the British occupation of Manila (1762-1768) during the Seven Years War, escaped through this postern after a siege of Intramuros by the British Army.

Categories
Cebu

San Guillermo Parish Museum

Throughout the centuries, the San Guillermo Parish Church has accumulated treasures that serve as proof and reminder of the devout faith of Dalaguetnons and their high reverence for religious symbols and images.

These are now housed at a space in the old rectory that has been converted into the San Guillermo Parish museum.

Many of the religious artifacts and relics date back to the 1800s and include a chandelier, carousel, and ciborium in silver; long carved benches made from the hardwood of the Magkono tree and vestment cabinets that are over three centuries old; confession box from the same period; and wooden ceremonial chairs.

The museum was put up during the stint of Msgr. Phil James Tumulak, just a year before Dalaguete celebrated in 2011 the 300th anniversary of the founding of the parish.

An old canvas painting of the Last Supper, Ecce Homo image, a missal with lock from the early 1900s, musical instruments, and earthenware jars are other museum treasures.

A cabinet keeps the old records of the parish containing details of baptism, confirmation, marriages, and deaths from as far back as the early 1800s.

Categories
Intramuros

Plaza Roma

This is the principal public square of Intramuros. It was historically known as the Plaza Mayor. It was converted into a garden in 1797. In 1901, it was renamed Plaza McKinley in honor of US President William McKinley.

During the Second World War, it was renamed by the Japanese sponsored Philippine Government as Plaza Malaki.

(The Plaza Mayor in 1852 by German traveler Carl Johann Karuth. Source: http://nostalgiafilipinas.blogspot.com/2012/04/ciudad-murada-intramuros-de-manila.html)

The name reverted to Plaza McKinley after the war. The square was renamed Plaza Roma in honor of the College of Cardinals in Rome after the elevation of Archbishop Rufino Santos of Manila as the first Filipino cardinal in 1960.

In the square is a monument to Charles IV, King of Spain (1788-1808). The monument was put up in gratitude of his decree to introduce the smallpox vaccine in the Philippines.

It was cast in bronze under Governor General Rafael Maria Aguilar and upon the direction of Ambrosio Casas, 1805-1808. The monument was unveiled in 1824.

The statue was replaced with a monument to the martyr priests Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora (GomBurZa) in 1961.

The Charles IV monument was reinstated under the Intramuros Administration. In 2016, it was declared a National Cultural Treasure.

Categories
Cebu

San Guillermo Parish Museum

Throughout the centuries, the San Guillermo Parish Church has accumulated treasures that serve as proof and reminder of the devout faith of Dalaguetnons and their high reverence for religious symbols and images.

These are now housed at a space in the old rectory that has been converted into the San Guillermo Parish museum.

Many of the religious artifacts and relics date back to the 1800s and include a chandelier, carousel, and ciborium in silver; long carved benches made from the hardwood of the Magkono tree and vestment cabinets that are over three centuries old; confession box from the same period; and wooden ceremonial chairs.

The museum was put up during the stint of Msgr. Phil James Tumulak, just a year before Dalaguete celebrated in 2011 the 300th anniversary of the founding of the parish.

An old canvas painting of the Last Supper, Ecce Homo image, a missal with lock from the early 1900s, musical instruments, and earthenware jars are other museum treasures.

A cabinet keeps the old records of the parish containing details of baptism, confirmation, marriages, and deaths from as far back as the early 1800s.

Categories
Cebu

Museo dela Parroquia de San Miguel

Established upon the behest of the late Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in 1999, the Argao Parish Museum houses the town’s religious treasures.

Msgr. Jose S. Montecillo, the parish priest at the time, had just transferred to Argao so he tasked his classmate Msgr. Elias Matarlo with the job. Matarlo is a native of Argao and the 44th priest produced by the town.

Matarlo then went about setting up the Museo dela Parroquia de San Miguel, which is a member of the Visayan Association of Museums and Galleries, Inc. (VAMGI).

An undated archival photo of the Argao convent, which houses the museum. (Photo from the University of San Carlos Cebuano Studies Center.)
An undated archival photo of the Argao convent, which houses the museum. (Photo from the University of San Carlos Cebuano Studies Center.)

Museum treasures

A centerpiece display in the museum is the larger than life sculpture of the archangel Michael, wings spread and sword raised, standing over the fallen Lucifer. The image used to adorn Argao’s San Miguel de Arcangel Parish Church and was paraded around in a carroza during religious activities but had to be kept in a safe place when it sustained damages, according to museum staff Myrgrid Mamites.

Other relics and artifacts include: ecclesiastical vestments of long ago

The museum is open from:
Friday to Sunday or Thursday to Saturday (in case of Sunday parish meetings)
9:00 am-12:00 pm
1:00 pm-4:00 pm

It may be opened any other day by prior arrangement.