SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH CHURCH AND CONVENT, SIQUIJOR

The Lazi Church, or San Isidro Labrador Parish Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality1 of Lazi2 (formerly Tigbawan), in the province3 of Siquijor4, Philippines.

1024px-St_Isidore_the_Laborer_Church_in_Lazi,_SiquijorGreg – originally posted to Flickr https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi_Church#/media/File:St._Isidore_the_Laborer_Church_in_Lazi,_Siquijor.jpg

It is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Dumaguete5. It became an independent parish on August 8, 1857. The sea stone-wood, neoclassical-style6 church was built in 1884 by Filipino artisans, followed by the bell tower the following year, under the direction of Recollect7 priest Father Toribio Sanchez. The church has two pulpits, and has retained its original retabloand wood floorings.

This church was my group’s fourth stop (out of six) during our one-day Siquijor Coastal Tour. We rented an air-conditioned van owned by Yane’s Adventures Van Services6 after we arrived at the port of Siquijor. We were lucky to have a very cheerful and accommodating driver, Jimmy Bueno.2-parking-Jimmy-cropped

I wanted to enter this 135-year old church, see the belfry, light a candle, and take pictures, including the grotto, but when we visited it on March 25, 2019, it was closed for renovation. Perhaps, this is one reason why I should return to this island province3.1-Lazi-Church-constructionGreat news, target date of completion is May 21, 2019! Please give me feedback if this target was met.

Anyway, at the opposite side of the street is the church’s big convent. The construction of this U-shaped, bahay na bato10 convent was made with coral stones and hardwood, commenced in 1887, and completed in 1891, also under Fr. Toribio.

1024px-Lazi_Convent_ColorThe Lazi Convent in 2012 (Carmelo Bayarcal, own work created June 10, 2012, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi_Church#/media/File:Lazi_Convent_Color.JPG)

1-Lazi-trees-afar-ok

It is one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era11, at 42 meters by 38 meters (138 ft. by 125 ft.). The ground floor has stonewalls and the second floor has wooden panels. A street sweeper I talked with said that this convent is the largest and oldest in Asia. I need to research to verify that claim.

The convent is funded by donations from parishes and missions of the Recollects7. Partitions of the convent were removed, but the original structure was maintained. It now houses the Siquijor Heritage Museum which has collections of important church relics and paraphernalia.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to enter this convent. I merely took pictures of it from the road. I also admired, took pictures, and touched the three trees along the street which look like at least a hundred years old. BeFunky-collage-Lazi Trees

Lazi Church was declared a National Historical Landmark12 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines13 in 1984, and a National Cultural Treasure14 by the National Museum of the Philippines15 in 2001. It was also nominated to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites16 Tentative List since 2006, under the collective group of Baroque17 Churches of the Philippines (Extension), together with the churches of Patrocinio de Maria in Boljoon, Cebu; La Immaculada Concepcion in Guiuan, Eastern Samar; San Pedro Apostol in Loboc, Bohol; and San Mattias in Tumauini, Isabela. In 2014, the government announced its plan to nominate this church in the World Heritage List.

800px-Allan_Jay_Quesada_-_Lazi_Church_DSC_2365Lazi Church in 2016 (Allan Jay Quesada, own work, 20 April 2016, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Allan_Jay_Quesada_-_Lazi_Church_DSC_2365.jpg)

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia pages “Lazi, Siquijor”18 and “Siquijor”19.

We paid for our Siquijor Coastal Tour and all comments are based on my personal experience in this province3.

You can read related posts about my Siquijor tour: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!, ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR, SERENE AND SPONTANEOUS SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJORGET BEWITCHED AT HAPITANAN, SIQUIJOR, PALITON BEACH: THE LITTLE BORACAY OF SIQUIJOR,  and Now You Know – SIQUIJOR: ITS LEGEND, HISTORY, TRADITIONS, AND BELIEFS.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

 1A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU)20, in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province3, subdivided into barangays21, and is called town, or “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines.”22

 2Lazi, formerly called Tigbawan, is a coastal municipality1 in the island province3 of Siquijor4, with 18 barangays21. It is located in the southeastern side of the island, between the towns of San Juan in the west and Maria from the east. It is known for its Roman Catholic church called San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (see above), the Convent in front of it (see above), the 400-yo enchanting balete tree with fish spa (see my post: ENCHANTING 400-YEAR-OLD BALETE TREE AND FISH SPA, SIQUIJOR), and Cambugahay Falls (where you can accept the Tarzan Swing-Dive Challenge; see my post: TAKE A TARZAN-LIKE DIVE AT CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR!). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Lazi, Siquijor”18 and “Siquijor”19. Visit this site for more information: http://www.phtourguide.com/municipality-of-lazi-in-siquijor/

 3A province is the primary administrative and political division in the Philippines. It is the second-level administrative sub-division of a region23. There are 81 provinces (called “lalawigan”) in the Philippines. Each province is governed by an elected legislature called the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and by an elected governor. In the Philippines, a province is divided into cities24 and municipalities1 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays21, formerly called barrios. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines.”25 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

 4Siquijor is an island province3 of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas Region (Region VII)26. Its capital is the municipality1 which is also called Siquijor. This coralline island is predominantly hilly, and in many places the hills reach the sea, producing steep cliffs. Geographically, Cebu is to the north, Negros to the west, Bohol to the northeast, and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is Mindanao. It has a long-time reputation as a place of magic, sorcery, and mystical traditions. It is also well known for its festivals that focus on healing rituals where incantations are sung, while the old folks make potions out of herbs, roots, insects, and tree barks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siquijor”.19

5Dumaguete is the capital city24 and main port of Negros Oriental, a province3 in Central Visayas (Region VII)26, of the Philippines. This laid-back university town is called the “City of Gentle People”. It has a charming sea-front boulevard, the most popular destination in the Philippines for retiring abroad, and among the top 10 tourist destinations in the country. The information was obtained from the Wikivoyage page “Dumaguete”.27

6Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style that began in the mid-18th century, characterized by grandeur of scale, simplicity of geometric forms, dramatic use of columns, Greek/Roman detail, and a preference for blank walls.28

7The Recollects were a French reform branch of the Order of Friars Minor created at the end of the 15th century, commonly known today as the Franciscans, best known for their presence as missionaries in various parts of the world. They wore gray habits and pointed hoods, took vows of poverty, and devoted their lives to prayer, penance, and spiritual reflection. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII officially dissolved the Recollects order and integrated it as a part of the Franciscan order, officially changing their name to Friars Minor. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Recollects”.29

8A retablo is the altarpiece, the main feature of old Roman Catholic churches. This upright panel, intricately carved, gilded, polychromed, and highly decorated, has a wooden frame and contains ledges and panels behind and above the altar. It is embellished with decorative features like rosettes, grapevines, scrolls, and cherubs, crafted by native artisans. It has several niches for the patron saint, usually located in the topmost portion, while other saints, affiliated to the religious order which takes care of the church, occupy both sides of the second and third levels.30

9Yane’s Adventures Van Services information – Address: Pangi, Siquijor, Siquijor; Contact numbers: 09052133123, 09069732330 and 09183124461, look for Jade JumawanPestillos, and request for our very accommodating and cheerful driver, Jimmy Bueno.

10Bahay na bato, literally “house of stone”, is the Filipino term for a type of building originating during the Philippines’ Spanish Colonial period11, with a rectangular plan, popular among the elite and middle-class. It is an elevated, overhanging wooden upper-story nipa hut31 with balustrades, ventanillas (small windows), and capiz32 shell sliding windows. It stands on Spanish-style solid stone blocks or bricks and posts as foundation, and not wood, bamboo stilts, or timber posts. Roofing is either Chinese tiled roof or thatch (nipa, sago, palm or cogon), many today have been replaced by galvanized, or other modern, roofing. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Bahay na bato”.33

11The Spanish colonial era was the historical part of the Philippines from 1521, when European explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the country, and ended in 1898, with the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution34. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898”.35

12A National Historical Landmark of the Philippines is a place or an object that is associated with an event, achievement, characteristics or modification that presents a turning point or stage in history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines”.36

13The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is a government agency of the Philippines which promotes Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management, and heraldry works, thereby inculcating awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, instilling pride in the Filipino people, and rekindling the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Historical Commission of the Philippines”.37

14A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts38 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines15, National Library of the Philippines39, and National Archives of the Philippines40. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 200941 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines42 by the Philippine government. The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation”.43 The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Treasure”.44

15The National Museum of the Philippines is a government institution in the Philippines which serves as the educational, scientific and cultural institution in preserving the various permanent national collections featuring the ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual artistry of the Philippines. It was formed on October 29, 1901, with headquarters in Padre Burgos Avenue, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. Since 1998, it has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the national government in restoring and safeguarding important cultural properties, sites and reservations throughout the Philippines. It is under the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and Arts38. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.45 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

16A UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) is a unique landmark, or geographically and historically identifiable place, which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific, physical or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the International World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties which are elected by the General Assembly. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “World Heritage Site”.46

17Baroque architecture began in Rome, Italy, in the late 16th century, which conveys grandeur and drama, most often used in palaces and churches. It includes curving forms, oval shapes, and a combination of concave and convex forms that make walls seem to undulate, or appear wavy, with a strong sense of motion. It groups things together like columns and decorative flourishes on building surfaces. Architectural elements are repeated across a surface. It uses distortion to make figures elongated, broken, or manipulated in some manner to make them stand out. Buildings have columns, sometimes topped with capitals and large volutes, scroll, or spiral forms. Sculptural wall elements will often project from the surface which is full of forms to increase the interplay of light and shadow across them. Inside, Baroque structures will often have ceilings painted in bright colors, made to fool one’s eye into believing one is looking at the sky. Buildings also have very rich surface treatments, including interiors with stucco47, various colored marbles, and gold gilt or thin sheets of gold applied to surfaces. Most Baroque churches have vaulted ceilings, supported by a series of interconnected arches.48

18“Lazi, Siquijor,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazi,_Siquijor

19“Siquijor,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siquijor

20A local government unit (LGU) in the Philippines is divided into 3 levels: provinces3 and independent cities49; component cities50 and municipalities1; and, barangays21, according to Wikipedia page “Local government in the Philippines”.51

21A barangay in the Philippines is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, headed by a barangay captain, aided by a Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council). It is the native Filipino term for a district or village. It was formerly called a barrio. In a metropolitan area, a barangay is an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from the term “balangay”, a kind of boat used by a group of Austronesian people who migrated to the Philippines. A number of barangays grouped together is called a district. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Barangay.”52

22“Municipalities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_the_Philippines

23A region is the first-order administrative division in the Philippines. There are 17 regions in the Philippines, based on geographical, cultural and ethnological characteristics. It is further subdivided in provinces3, composed of cities and municipalities1 (or towns), which in turn, are divided into barangays21. The regions were initially identified in 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 1 of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then, other regions have been created and some provinces have been “transferred” to another region. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”53

24A city is the local government unit20 in the Philippines headed by a mayor elected by popular vote. A vice-mayor serves as the presiding officer of the city’s legislative body – the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines.”54

25“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed July 17, 2018,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

26Central Visayas (Region VII) of the Philippines is a Philippine region23 located in the island group of Visayas55, with Cebu City as its regional center. It has 7 local government units20 (LGUs): Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor4. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Regions of the Philippines.”53

27“Dumaguete,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Dumaguete

28https://www.britannica.com/art/Neoclassical-architecture

29“Recollects,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recollects

30http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/nationalmuseumbeta/Collections/Retablo.html

31The nipa hut, bahay kubopayag or kamalig, is a type of native, stilt house of the indigenous people of the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived in 1521, similar to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia like Indonesia and Malaysia. It often serves as an icon of Philippine culture or, more specifically, rural cultures, designed to endure the climate and environment of the country. It was made from plant materials, like bamboo, which was easily accessible and acquired to rebuild it when damaged by a storm or earthquake. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Nipa hut”.56

32Capiz, or kapis, is the shell of the windowpane oyster (Placuna placenta), an edible, bivalve marine mollusk in the family of Placunidae. It is durable and translucent so it is used as a glass substitute for windows, and even decorative items like chandeliers and lampshades. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Windowpane oyster”.57

33“Bahay na bato,” accessed March 8, 2019,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahay_na_Bato

34The Philippine Revolution is the revolution that started on August 23, 1896 when the Spaniards discovered the Katipunan58, and ended in August 13, 1898. The Filipinos were victorious, and this resulted in the expulsion of the Spanish colonial government, as well as the: signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato59 in 1897; resumption of hostilities during the Spanish-American War60 in 1898; the establishment of the First Philippine Republic61; and, the outbreak of the Philippine-American War62 in 1899. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Philippine Revolution”.63

35“History of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Philippines

36“Category: National Historical Landmarks of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:_National_Historical_Landmarks_of_the_Philippines

37“National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Historical_Commission_of_the_Philippines

38The National Commission for Culture and Arts is the official government agency for culture in the Philippines, formed in 1987, with headquarters in General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila. It is the overall policy making body, coordinating, and grants-giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture. Its parent department is the Office of the President of the Philippines and its sub-agencies are the: National Archives of the Philippines40, National Historical Commission of the Philippines13, National Library of the Philippines39, National Museum of the Philippines45, Commission on the Filipino Language, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Commission for Culture and Arts”.64 Visit its website: www.ncca.gov.ph

39The National Library of the Philippines is the official national library of the Philippines, with over 1.6 million pieces in its collections. It is notably called the home of the original copies of the defining works of Jose Rizal (Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Mi Ultimo Adios). It was established in 1901 and is located in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Library of the Philippines”.65 Visit its website: www.web.nlp.gov.ph

40The National Archives of the Philippines is an agency of the Philippines which is mandated to collect, store, preserve and make available, archival records of the government and other primary sources pertaining to the history and development of the country, as a result of the passage of Republic Act 9470 on May 21, 2007. It is the primary records management agency, tasked to formulate and implement the records schedule and vital records protection programs for the government. Its headquarters is in the National Library of the Philippines, in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “National Archives of the Philippines”.66 Visit its website: www.nationalarchives.gov.ph

41The National Cultural Heritage Act is a law of the Republic of the Philippines which created the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property and took other steps to preserve historic buildings that are over 50 years old, signed into law on March 25, 2009, according to the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Heritage Act”.67

42The Cultural Properties of the Philippines refers to the cultural properties listed by the National Commission for Culture and Arts38, National Historical Commission of the Philippines13, and the National Museum of the Philippines15 through the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), the official cultural property list of the country. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cultural properties of the Philippines”.68

43www.primer.com.ph

44“National Cultural Treasure,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Treasure

45“National Museum of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_Philippines

46“World Heritage Site,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Heritage_Site

47Stucco refers to the cement-based and fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations. It hardens into a highly durable material that requires little maintenance and can be used to obtain different textures and finishes.69

48https://study.com/academy/lesson/italian-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html

49An independent city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which is administratively and legally not subject to a provinceso it does not share its tax revenues with any province. The national government and its agencies serve such a city through sub-offices of the region23 it belongs to. It is subdivided into 2: highly urbanized city70 or independent component city71. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”54

50A component city is a type of city24 in the Philippines which does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city70. It is under the jurisdiction of a province3. If such a city is located along the boundaries of 2 or more provinces, it shall be considered part of the province of which it used to be a municipality1. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”54

51“Local government in the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_the_Philippines

52“Barangay,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay

53“Regions of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_the_Philippines

54“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed January 29, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

55Visayas is one of the 3 major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It covers 3 administrative regions: Central Visayas26, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas. It consists of 6 major islands (Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Panay and Samar), mostly surrounded by the Visayan Sea, and is composed of 16 provinces3, according to Wikipedia page “Visayas”.72 Visayas is located at the middle part of the country; the 2 other geographical divisions of the Philippines are Luzon (in the northern part) and Mindanao (in the southern part).

56“Nipa hut,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nipa_hut

57“Windowpane oyster,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windowpane_oyster

58The Katipunan was the Philippine revolutionary secret society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892 which aimed to gain independence from Spain through a revolution, according to the Wikipedia page “Katipunan”.73

59Pact of Biak-na-Bato was a truce between Spanish colonial Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera and the revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo to end the Philippine Revolution34, signed on December 14, 1897, in the house of Pablo Tecson (a Philippine revolutionary captain who served as Brigadier General under General Gregorio del Pilar) in San Miguel, Bulacan. Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries were given amnesty and monetary indemnity by the Spanish government, in return for which the revolutionary government would go on exile in Hong Kong. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Pact of Biak-na-Bato”.74

60The Spanish-American War was fought between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor, in Cuba, leading to US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The Americans won and it resulted in the Treaty of Paris75, signed on December 10, 1898, came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged, with Spain relinquishing all claims of sovereignty over and title to Cuba, and ceded Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the US. The cession of the Philippines involved a compensation of $20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from Wikipedia pages “Spanish-American War”76 and “Treaty of Paris of 1898”77.

61The First Philippine Republic, or the Malolos Republic, was a nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines, established after the Philippine Revolution34 against the Spanish Empire (1896-1897) and the Spanish-American War60, and was the first constitutional republic in Asia, with a comprehensive constitution duly approved by a partially elected congress. It was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899, in Malolos, Bulacan, and endured until the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “First Philippine Republic”.78

62The Philippine-American War, the Philippine War, the Philippine Insurrection, or the Tagalog Insurgency, was an armed conflict between the First Philippine Republic61 and the USA that lasted from February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902. The conflict arose when the former objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris75, under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the short Spanish-American War60. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Philippine-American War”.79

63“Philippine Revolution,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Revolution

64 “National Commission for Culture and Arts,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_for_Culture_and-Arts

65“National Library of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_the_Philippines

66“National Archives of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Archives_of_the_Philippines

67“National Cultural Heritage Act,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Heritage_Act

68“Cultural properties of the Philippines,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_properties_of_the_Philippines

69https://www.thebalancesmb.com/choose-right-stucco-mix-844655

70A highly urbanized city (HUC) is a type of city24 in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and with the latest annual income of at least 50 million pesos, according to Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.54 There are currently 33 such cities in the Philippines (Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?).

71An independent component city (ICC) is a type of city24 in the Philippines which is autonomous from the province3 in which it is geographically located and has a charter that explicitly prohibits its residents to vote for provincial officials (unless allowed to do so). It does not meet the requirements of a highly urbanized city70. There are 5 such cities in the country: Cotabato, Dagupan, Naga, Ormoc, and Santiago. The information was obtained from Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”54

72“Visayas,” accessed January 29, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visayas

73“Katipunan,” accessed October 16, 2018,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katipunan

74“Pact of Biak-na-Bato,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pact_of_Biak-na-Bato

75The Treaty of Paris was an agreement, signed on December 10, 1898, that involved Spain relinquishing nearly all the remaining Spanish Empire, especially Cuba, and ceding Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US, thus ending the Spanish-American War60. It came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged. The cessation of the Philippines involved a payment of US$20 million from the US to Spain. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Treaty of Paris (1898)”.77

76“Spanish-American War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_American_War

77“Treaty of Paris,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of-Paris.

78“First Philippine Republic,” accessed October 16, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Philippine_Republic

79“Philippine-Amercian War,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War.

Short and Simple: WHAT IS A NATIONAL CULTURAL TREASURE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts1 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines2, National Library of the Philippines3, and National Archives of the Philippines4. Such declarations are authorized under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 20095 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines6 by the Philippine government.

l-r: Jose Rizal National Monument (Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila), Las Piñas Bamboo Organ (St. Joseph Parish Church, Las Piñas, Metro Manila), Parish Church of San Gregorio Magno (Majayjay, Laguna), Basilica Menor de San Sebastian or San Sebastian Church (Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila)

The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation.”7?

2 out of the 4 components of the University of Santo Tomas NCT: The Main Building and the Arch of the Century (no pictures available for the Central Seminary and the Open Spaces for the 4 papal visits); location: España, Manila

As of May 2018, 85 NCTs are immovable heritage, classified into 7 categories:

  1. Church complexes and colonial fortifications;
  2. Mosque complexes and temple complexes;
  3. Indigenous place of worship or dambana8 complexes;
  4. Modern and historical residences;
  5. Structures related to industry, transportation and public works;
  6. Archeological sites; and,
  7. Miscellaneous structures and sites.

3 out of the 4 murals, or Sacred Art, of the Parish Church of Saint James the Apostle, Paete, Laguna, by Luciano Dans, a Paeteño, using natural color pigments mixed with volcanic ash and brushes made from cat’s hair (l-r: Saint Christopher wall painting; Heaven, Earth and Hell; another Saint Christopher wall painting being restored due to termite infestation); no picture for the Last Judgment, or Juicio Final (1720), the oldest painted wooden panel-mural located near the church altar)

As of May 2018, there are 18 NCTs classified as movable heritage, although one contains more than 20 heritage objects under “artifacts and ecofacts in the National Museum in Manila”. Movable heritage is further divided into 7 categories:

  1. Ancient documents or artifacts with pre-colonial writings;
  2. Archeological materials;
  3. Ethnic crafts;
  4. Historical materials owned by historical persons, families, or organizations;
  5. Paintings;
  6. Sculptures; and,
  7. Writings and other literary works.

As of May 2018, there are 3 NCTs classified as intangible heritage, inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: the Darangen epic of the Maranao people of Lake Lanao, Hudhud chants of the Ifugao, and Punnuk tugging rituals and games, according to the Wikipedia page “Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Philippines”.9 Intangible heritage is divided into 5 categories:

  1. Oral traditions and expressions including language;
  2. Performing arts;
  3. Social practices, rituals and festive events;
  4. Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and,
  5. Traditional craftsmanship or the tradition of making crafts, not the craft itself.

There is a total of 106 NCTs, 3 of which are intangible: 75 are housed in Luzon, 6 are in Mimaropa, 19 are in the Visayas, and 6 in Mindanao. The Sulu Archipelago does not have any such treasures.

Different NCTs originally from the Mimaropa Region, Visayas and Mindanao are now housed in the National Museum in Manila (Luzon), such as the Qu’ran of Bayang11.10

Any Filipino institution or person can nominate a cultural property for a National Cultural Treasure declaration, whether the property is private or public. If the property is private, the ownership of the property is retained by the private owner and shall not be transferred to the government.

Are you now curious to see the complete list of the National Cultural Treasures of the Philippines? Simply visit the Wikipedia page “List of National Cultural Treasures in the Philippines”.10

Include these awesome 106 NCTs in your domestic travel bucket list, and tick them off one by one. Be proud of our heritage, Filipinos!

Almost all information were accessed from the Wikipedia page “List of National Cultural Treasures in the Philippines”.10

Did you find this post informative? How many NCTs have you visited? What are your favorites? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”.  Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1The National Commission for Culture and Arts is the official government agency for culture in the Philippines, formed in 1987, with headquarters in General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila. It is the overall policy making body, coordinating, and grants-giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture. Its parent department is the Office of the President of the Philippines and its sub-agencies are the: National Archives of the Philippines4, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Library of the Philippines3, National Museum of the Philippines2, Commission on the Filipino Language, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Information is from the Wikipedia page “National Commission for Culture and Arts”.12 Visit its website: www.ncca.gov.ph

2The National Museum of the Philippines is a government institution in the Philippines which serves as the educational, scientific and cultural institution in preserving the various permanent national collections featuring the ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual artistry of the Philippines. It was formed on October 29, 1901, with headquarters in Padre Burgos Avenue, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila. Since 1998, it has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the national government in restoring and safeguarding important cultural properties, sites and reservations throughout the Philippines. It is under the Department of Education and the National Commission for Culture and Arts1. Information is from the Wikipedia page “National Museum of the Philippines”.13 Visit its website: www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

3The National Library of the Philippinesis the official national library of the Philippines, with over 1.6 million pieces in its collections. It is notably called the home of the original copies of the defining works of Jose Rizal (Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Mi Ultimo Adios). It was established in 1901 and located in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. Information is from the Wikipedia page “National Library of the Philippines”.14 Visit its website: www.web.nlp.gov.ph

4The National Archives of the Philippines is an agency of the Philippines which is mandated to collect, store, preserve and make available, archival records of the government and other primary sources pertaining to the history and development of the country, as a result of the passage of Republic Act 9470 on May 21, 2007. It is the primary records management agency, tasked to formulate and implement the records schedule and vital records protection programs for the government. Its headquarters is in the National Library of the Philippines, in Rizal Park, at T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Ermita, Manila. Information is from the Wikipedia page “National Archives of the Philippines”.15 Visit its website: www.nationalarchives.gov.ph

5The National Cultural Heritage Act is a law of the Republic of the Philippines which created the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property and took other steps to preserve historic buildings that are over 50 years old, signed into law on March 25, 2009, according to the Wikipedia page “National Cultural Heritage Act”.16

6The Cultural Properties of the Philippines refers to the cultural properties listed by the National Commission for Culture and Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the National Museum of the Philippines through the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), the official cultural property list of the country. Now, where did they get the names of such properties? Listen up, dearest Seniors! This raised my eyebrows to the max! All local government units (LGUs) are mandated to submit a partial/full list of their cultural properties, however, only 39 out of the 1,934 cities/municipalities in the country have submitted such as list as of November 2017! Information is from Wikipedia page “Cultural properties of the Philippines”.17 Talk about being proud of these properties – only 2% of LGUs complied!

7www.primer.com.ph

8Dambana, in modern times, refers to a shrine of indigenous religions in the Philippines (mainly in the Tagalog areas), altar of Philippine churches, or monuments erected to remember Philippine history, according to the Wikipedia page “Dambana”.18

 9“Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Philippines,”

10”List of National Cultural Treasures in the Philippines,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Cultural_Treasures_in_the_Philippines.

11The Qu’ran of Bayang, according to oral history, is Lanao’s oldest Koran which belonged to the Sultan of Bayang in Lanao del Sur and was copied by Saidna, one of the earliest hajji (one who successfully completed the pilgrimage to Mecca during Islam’s early days in the Philippines). It is one of the few copies translated into a non-Arabic language, i.e., using a language in the Malay family and handwritten in Arabic calligraphy.19

12“National Commission for Culture and Arts,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Commission_for_Culture_and_Arts.

13“National Museum of the Philippines,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Museum_of_the_Philippines.

14“National Library of the Philippines,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Library_of_the_Philippines.

15“National Archives of the Philippines,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Archives_of_the_Philippines.

16“National Cultural Heritage Act,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cultural_Heritage_Act.

17“List of Cultural properties of the Philippines,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cultural_properties_of_the_Philippines.

18“Dambana,” accessed January 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dambana.

19www.gmanetwork.com

Pagsanjan’s Pride: PUERTO REAL – THE TOWN’S GATE

The historical, Roman-style town gate or triumphal arch1 of the town of Pagsanjan, in Laguna, Philippines, is called Puerto Real, Arco Real, or simply the Pagsanjan Arch. It was built from 1878 to 1880 by the Pagsanjeños, under the supervision of Fray Cipriano Bac (a Franciscan priest), and Don Manuel de Yriate, as an expression of gratitude to the town’s patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is believed to have protected the town from bandits in 1877. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Pagsanjan Arch”.2

The National Museum declared this arch as a National Cultural Treasure3 on July 2017 because “it is an outstanding landmark and epitomizes the ideal blend between aesthetics and function.”4

The arch has three Roman arches, or gates, originally made of adobe, lime and carabao milk.

1-arch-topOn top of the arch is the Royal coat-of-arms of Spain (called “escutcheon”) originally in gold and yellow, guarded by two red Castillan lions.2

You will definitely not miss it because it is along the main street, named Rizal Street (formerly called Calle Real), at the western entrance of the town, coming from the town of Sta. Cruz.

1-arch-back                                                   Back view, Pagsanjan Arch

This ornate arch has a very interesting story. It is said that there were many bandits (called “tulisanes”) during the last years of the Spanish colonization. A group of bandits, led by Tangkad, came from the nearby town of Majayjay, and was about to approach the western entrance of Pagsanjan, on December 8, 1877. A beautiful lady dressed in white, holding a shining sword, appeared before the bandits at the exact site of the current arch. She drew a line using her sword and proclaimed that the town was under her protection. The bandits immediately proceeded to the mountains due to their fear of what they saw.2

There was a witness to this miracle, a “sabungero” (cockfighter) called Mang Juan, an insommiac from a house nearby. He told the story of what he saw to the Spanish Cura (priest), who later told it to the government authorities and leading citizens of the town. As expected, all did not believe Mang Juan until they went to the exact site and saw the mark of the Virgin’s sword as well as Her footprints and those of the bandits. They then built a stone gate on the exact site and called it Puerta Real, or Royal Gate, from 1978-1880, and inaugurated in 1894 by Don Pedro A. Paterno5.2

The town arch was bastardized and defaced during the Japanese liberation so Pagsanjeños in Manila, through the efforts of historian Gregorio F. Zaide, a native of the town, obtained permission from the National Historic Institute (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines6) to restore the arch. This renovation was done under the supervision of Engineer Tito Rivera, and was completed in May 25, 1975.2

1-arch-marker                                   Philippine Historical marker, Pagsanjan Arch

So, the next time you visit the town of Pagsanjan to “shoot the rapids” with balikbayan family/friends, you can now tell the story about its arch! Filipinos, be proud of our cultural heritage!

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road, associated with ancient Rome. The main structure is often decorated with carvings, sculpted reliefs, and dedications. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Triumphal arch.”7

2”Pagsanjan Arch,” accessed January 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagsanjan_Arch.

3A National Cultural Treasure (NCT) of the Philippines is a tangible (movable and immovable) or intangible heritage property declared by the National Commission for Culture and Arts1 and other cultural agencies such as the National Museum of the Philippines, National Library of the Philippines, and National Archives of the Philippines. Such declarations are authorized under the National Heritage Act of 2009 and recognized within the Cultural Properties of the Philippines by the Philippine government, according to Wikipedia page “National cultural treasure”.8 The title of NCT is the highest designation given to a “unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation.”9 See a coming post re this topic. See a related post: (I will place the link here for Short and Simple: WHAT IS A NATIONAL CULTURAL TREASURE IN THE PHHILIPPINES?)

4www.lifestyle.inquirer.net

5Pedro Paterno (1857-1911) is the second Prime Minister of the Philippines, politician, poet and novelist. He was the President (1898-1899) of the Revolutionary Congress and (1907-1909) member of the Philippine Assembly from Laguna’s First District, according to the Wikipedia page “Pedro Paterno”.10

6 The National Historical Commission of the Philippines is a government agency of the Philippines which is responsible for the promotion of Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management and heraldry works. It aims to inculcate awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, to instill Filipino pride in the Filipino people and to rekindle the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history. Information is from Wikipedia page “National Historical Commission of the Philippines.”10

7”Triumphal arch,” accessed July 10, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumphal_arch.

8”National cultural treasure,” accessed January 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_cultural_treasure.

9www.primer.com.ph

10“Pedro Paterno,” accessed January 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro _Paterno.

11”National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” accessed January 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Historical_Commission_of_the_Philippines.