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Ruins of Cagayan’s First Church

Posted by BCS on April 14, 2009

While I was doing the series on Sanchez Mira early this year, scouring the web for any information about the place already available at the time, I came upon a website (http://cagayannorth.com) that mentions of a place called “Pata” (which, as the site describes it, is part of Sanchez Mira). According to the entry, short as it is, it is where the ruins of “Nagtutulagan” or “Nagsisiiman” are situated (however, it doesn’t give any detail regarding the nature of the ruins). In addition, it also mentions that it is where the first seven baptized natives were born.

Being a sucker for historical sites/places, I wanted to see the place. I was planning on asking my brother-in-law, Mang Val, to take me there the next time we go back to Sanchez Mira.

Excited, I asked my wife if she knew anything about the place. She told me that Pata is actually part of Claveria, and not Sanchez Mira, and that was all she could tell me. It discouraged me somewhat that I almost scrapped my plans of visiting the place as I thought it would be too much of a bother for Mang Val (my brother-in-law) to take me there (being in another town and all).

When we got to Sanchez Mira last Thursday (for the Lenten Season break), I took my chances and asked Mang Val about the place and, just like my wife, he told me that Pata is in Claveria and that he had never heard of any ruins.

*****

Friday morning… right after breakfast, Mang Val called on all the kids (all seven of them) and told them that he’s going to drive them around town. I can’t remember how things went but I eventually found myself inside the car with them.

Mang Val drove without mentioning where we were heading. But, when we were just a few meters away from Namuac Bridge (bridge connecting Sanchez Mira to Claveria), as if stricken with a bright idea, he suddenly mentioned about a place near the bridge called “Nagsimbaanan”. Though, he said, he neither has any idea what was in that place nor what the place is all about.

But the name seemed to be sounding off an alarm for the both of us… “Nagsimbaanan”.

Then again, I suppose any Filipino-speaking person can recognize something from the name… “Simba” (attend mass). Why was it given that name?

*****

The arch at Nagsimbaanan

The arch at Nagsimbaanan

An arch… and, on top of it, spelled in big capital letters… “NAGSIMBAANAN”.

The bamboo gate was open, several vehicles were parked inside, and “Pasyon” could be heard being sung from the inside.

Clueless, we followed the dirt path… it didn’t take long before old stone walls slowly revealed themselves through the trees and shrubs that dotted the landscape. Mang Val was as surprised as I was awestruck at the sight of the ruins. He’s lived there (in Sanchez Mira) all his life and it was only then that he found out about the ruins.

As we were going around the grounds, questions began to flood my mind. Why was there no indication, a marker perhaps, to tell of the existence of the ruins? How old was the structure? What did the structure look like before?

One thing’s for sure, it was no small structure. As a matter of fact, it was fairly huge… my guesstimate puts it around half, if not two-thirds of the size of the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo in Manila. That alone, I think, should have made it hard to ignore.

Since we didn’t expect to go there, let alone see something worthy of photographing, I didn’t bring my camera with me. And so, we left the ruins with a promise to revisit it on another day.

*****

We went back to the ruins the following day, after cooling off at the Agua Grande Picnic Park (near Patapat Bridge) with the rest of my in-laws. The gate was closed that day and there was no sign of any activity inside.

Mang Val and I approached a fellow cleaning the yard of the property adjacent to the archway and asked him if he knew the story/history of the ruins. The fellow told him that the caretakers of the site were inside the house.

We were allowed in to the property and were led to the front door of a modest house. At the door we were greeted by an elderly woman, Elizabeth Martinez who, in turn, introduced us to Lilia Rodriguez, the other caretaker and older of the two.

The Caretakers Elizabeth Martinez (left) and Lilia Rodriguez (right)

The Caretakers Elizabeth Martinez (left) and Lilia Rodriguez (right)

After exchanging our pleasantries, Mang Val asked Elizabeth about the story of the ruins to which she answered by pointing at something behind her…

The marker

The marker

English translation:

The Church of Pata

Under the supervision of the Dominican priests, the Church of Pata, then called the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, was built on June 15, 1595 by Fray Miguel de San Jacinto and Fray Gaspar Zarfate in the town of Pata, Cagayan.

On this land, the Dominicans decided to carry on with the evangelization of the region despite the “bad timing” [sic]. The men of Siriban, chieftain of the ethnic group dwelling along the shores of the Cagayan River, became the first people to be baptized in 1595. Fray Diego de Soria, who became the bishop of Nueva Segovia, was the first minister of the people of Cagayan.

…the marker… resting on the floor, leaning against a wall facing the door, yelling an inaudible scream for attention.

Martinez told us that they decided to keep the marker there for fear of it getting stolen.

Understandable, I thought.

The marker revealed very little about the church/ruins and, sadly, both Martinez and Rodriguez were not able to provide any additional information. The church, as it seems, has long been forgotten.

Finding ourselves at a dead end, we asked the two ladies if we may be allowed to take photos of the ruins, telling them that I was going to blog about the place. Both answered very graciously and enthusiastically in affirmative.

I doubt any of them knew anything about “blogging”, but it seemed that Rodriguez took it that I was going to do something for the betterment of the place… so much so that she thanked me countless times and told me that she hopes that I will be able to contribute to the improvement of the place.

Before proceeding to the ruins, we asked the ladies if they knew where Nagsisiiman is. “It’s towards that direction…” Martinez pointed out the door towards the mountains.

We bade the ladies farewell and exchanged numerous thanks with them and proceeded to the ruins.

As soon as I got back to Manila, I tried to do a little research on the ruins and found this:

CBCP Monitor, Vol. 11, No. 19, B3 – September 17-30, 2007

The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao

The Dominican Mission

When we speak of Cagayan Valley, we refer to Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, provinces surrounded by the Carraballo, Sierra Madre and Cordillera Mountain Ranges in the northeastern part of the island of Luzon. These four provinces formed one big province known as Cagayan, established by the Spaniards in 1583. Thus, to speak of the Christianization of Cagayan is to speak of the Christianization of the entire Region II.

Governor Perez Dasmariñas, in his capacity as Vice Royal Patron of the King of Spain, formally assigned the evangelization of the Cagayan Valley region to the Dominicans in 1594. Fathers Diego de Soria and Domingo Castelar were assigned to open the new mission. The first church in the region, the Santa Maria Magdalena Church in Pata, started in 1595 under the supervision of Fathers Miguel de San Jacinto and Gaspar Zarfate. In the same year, through the efforts of Fr. Diego de Soria, the first recorded Cagayano converts, Chieftain Siriban and seven other companions; were baptized in Pata. The Dominican mission in Cagayan Valley continued uninterruptedly for more than three hundred years.

And, for all the world to see, here are the photos of the ruins:

Panorama shot of the site of the ruins

Panorama shot of the site of the ruins

Could this be the bell tower?

Could this be the bell tower?

One of the few walls that remain standing today

One of the few walls that remain standing today

One of the few walls that remain standing today

One of the few walls that remain standing today

Close up shot of the stones that make up the walls

Close up shot of the stones that make up the walls

A fallen column

A fallen column

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30 Responses to “Ruins of Cagayan’s First Church”

  1. rodney said

    nice research Bry. An added information, this is the church where the legend “The Bell of Namuac” came about. it is a story where a couple got annoyed with the noise produced by the sounds of the bell. nagigising daw yung bata e ang hirap daw patulugin. sa inis, sinira daw yung buong simbahan. anyway, it just a legend.

    • BCS said

      Funny you mentioned that, I’ve been trying to find information on the destruction of the church. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find anything… at least, not just yet. But the legend is really interesting, thanks for mentioning about it.🙂

  2. rodney said

    this is one kind of historical site that being neglegted by the government. this really shows that Filipinos have no sense of history. there is a saying, “ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan”.

    We, Filipinos, shall value things in the past. we must learn these experiences so we cannot have the same mistakes again.

    just like this church from pata, i will bet on it, baka mahirap pang 10% ng mga taga Sanchez Mira ay nakakaalam niyan. tsk tsk tsk.

    sayang ito, we are informed that dominicans once conggregate our place. this may be a valid rationale for UST to put a branch in Sachez Mira to spread a dominican kind of education. or in a futuristic sense, this also be a good magnet for influx of tourist. we must remember that it was a century hence that we have this kind of experience. nice soul searching to all!

    • BCS said

      True indeed! This reminds me of the hopes of the caretakers of the site… I really wish I can do more than just blog about it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the place would become a popular tourist destination?🙂

      Imagine, Cagayan’s first church! How on earth can something like that be forgotten?

  3. rodney said

    yes, we have the same idea in mind. our entrepreneurial spirit is really awakened at the moment.

    i surmise, it will be park with picnic grounds. if it is near the river, the better. just like shooting a two (2) birds with one (1) stone, a park to enjoy and breath fresh air as well as rekindle historical value. i bet after that, businesses will mushroom in the area.

    who would imagine CSU-Sanchez Mira? if you pass by that place, all you see is forest. an ambuscades of NPA during that period, one politician was killed and a number of military and police met with accident to run away away with NPA resting during nigh time.

    or SM National High School. napakahabang daan na parang halos di ka makahinga hangga’t di mo makita ang kabahayan ng Brgy. Magacan. iba na talaga ngayon ang sitwasyon.

    ganyan din ang mangyayari sa Ruins of Pata Church kung masisismulan. surmise na ang mag tao e naghahanap ng ganyang paligid na pwedeng pasyalan. Hindi naman dapat tayo umasa palagi sa gobyerno because there are many priorities, but i proposed for an initiative for start-up. there will be other entity to be benefited if not the town itself. Tourism is the fastest way for money-making possibilities these days. you bet?

  4. Philip Balangatan said

    Im an architect,and seen this place. i think the proper governing body we can approach is the nation historical institute. I was born and raised in sanchez mira, but as youve said, no one cares about the history of sanchez mira. If i have the power, I love to preserve some of the original houses,pawid rood, capiz window,etc. Arch. Philip Sacramed Balangatan

  5. melgie said

    sir/ma’am, i just want to ask question…
    Who is the author of “The Bell of Namuac”?

  6. barretm107 said

    i’ve heared about this nagsimbaanan but i’ve been there once evethough i came from the near barangay. some legends says the bell was thrown in the river but until now no one have ever confirmed it was there.

  7. TERRY M. BARASI said

    HEY GUYS! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT “NAGSIMBAANAN” IS OUR FAVORITE HANG OUT WHEN WE’RE STILL KIDS AT THE AGE OF 7 UP TO 16 YEAR OLD. THAT WAS THE YEAR 1957 WHEN WE STARTED PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK, SHOOTING USING MAN MADE FAKE FIRE GUNS, PALSOOT(MADE OF BAMBOO TRUNKS W/ 1/2″ DIAMETER HOLES)USING COFFEE SEEDS AS “BALA”. BUT THE MOST GAMES I REALLY LIKE AND ENJOYED SO MUCH WAS FENCING USING RATTAN AS OUR ARMS ABOUT TWO FEET TO 4 FEET LONG WITH A 2 FEET RADIUS MAN-MADE PLYWOOD/WOOD BOARD SHIELD TO PROTECT YOUR SELF SO THAT THEY CAN’T HIT YOU.THIS KIND OF GAME WAS COPPIED AND WE IMITATED ALL THE THE ACTIONS FROM THE NOBELA STORY FROM THE “BANNAWAG” THE ILOCANO MAGAZINES, A MONTHLY DELIVERY THAT WE NEVER MISSED TO READ THE ENTIRE STORY OF THE “THREE MOSKEETERS”. ALMOST ALL THE KIDS IN THAT PLACE USED TO PLAY IN THAT AREA ALTHOUGH IT WAS SO THICK WITH DIFFERENT KINDS OF WILD PLANTS AND IT’S A FOREST AREA AROUND THE BIG AND HUGE TALL MAN-MADE WALLS WITH RED BRICK TILES FINISHES “LADRILLOS”, ABOUT APPROXIMATELY 40 FEET TO 60 FEET TALL MAN-MADE WALLS AND THE THICKNESS OF THE WALLS IS ABOUT 2 FEET TO 3 FEET WIDE. AND MOST OF THE WALLS AROUND THE ENTIRE AREA OR ALONG THE PERIMETER OR EXTERIOR WALLS ARE PROVIDED WITH BIG AND LARGE OPENING WINDOWS AND DOOR EXITS ABOUT TWO LAYERS OR TWO STORIES. MAYBE THE CHURCH WAS A TWO STOREY STRUCTURE ALONG THE PERIMETER OF THE ENTIRE AREA OF THE CHURCH. THE WINDOWN OPENINGS OF THE FIRST FLOOR AND SECOND FLOOR ARE MOSTLY ALIGNED WITH THE SAME WIDE AND HEIGHT AND PROBABLY THATS THE CLEARSTORY OF THE EXTERIOR DESIGN OF THE CHURCH BEFORE. YEAH, WE USED TO CLIMBED IN ALL THOSE OPENINGS USING THE BIG VINES “LANUT” SWINGING OVER THERE TO REACH THE HIGHEST PART OF THE STRUCTURE SO THAT YOUR OPPONENT CAN’T REACH AND HIT YOU. WE’RE LIKE “TARZAN”, “JAYNE” AND CHEETAH” SWINGING IN THE AIR USING THE BIG VINES “LANUT” TO TRANSFER INTO ANOTHER PLACE ON THOSE BIG WINDOW OPENINGS, YES WE LIKE THE PLACE BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF BIRDS THERE TOO, AND THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS AND WITH THEIR COLORS TOO. AND SOMETIMES WE USED TO CATCH THEM USING SLING SHOTS AND COOKED FOR OUR FOODS. BEFORE THAT TIMES THERE WAS NO CARETAKER AND NOBODY LIVES THERE AND EVERY THING WAS NATURAL AND NOBODY WILL STOP US TO PLAY THERE. SOMETIMES WHEN WE ARE TIRED TO PLAY GAMES, WE USED STAY AT THE MOST NORTHERN PART OF THE TALLEST WALL WITH A BIG AND WIDE WINDOW FACING THE NORTHERN PART OF THE RIVER THAT ONE BRANCH LIES LEADING TO “MARTOLINO”, “BALIW” AND NAMUAC CEMETERY CLOSE TO BARIO “TOKITOK”. IN THAT HIGH WALL OR NORTH CORNER WALL OF THE “NAGSIMBAANAN” WE FELT CONFORTABLE TO STAY THERE FOR PAST TIMES BECAUSE YOU CAN SEE A NICE VIEW OF THE RIVER RADIATING ALONG THE RIVERBANKS ARE “NIPAS” AND FOLLOWED BY DIFFERENT KIND OF TREES WITH A VARIETIES OF COLORED FLOWERS OF INDIVIDUAL TREES ALL THE WAY UP TO “MINANGA” AND ON TOP YOU CAN SEE THE ONLY BUILDING WITH A TOWER “LIGHT HOUSE” THAT WHEN THE LIGHTS STARTS TO OPEN AND BLINKS AND THAT’S THE TIME WE START TO LEAVE THE PLACE BECAUSE IT’LL START TO GET DARK TOO. FROM THAT TIME WE NEVER EXPERIENCE ANY WORRIED OR NEVER IN OUR PART LIES ANY AFRAID OR WHATSOEVER THAT MAY STOP US TO GO THERE TO PLAY OR JUST TO HANG UP AND MAKE SOME STORIES. BUT WHEN THE TIME THAT SOMEBODY USED TO STAY AND LIVE THERE TO TAKE CAREAND CONTROL THE ENTIRE AREA, THE PLACE WE CONSIDERED AS OUR PARADISE WAS SUDDENLY GET CALMED, IT SEEMS LIKE A GHOST AREA THAT THERE WERE NO MORE SOUNDS YOU CAN HEAR, EVEN THOSE BIRDS SOUNDS YOU CAN NEVER HEAR AND SEE ANY ONE FLYING ON THOSE TREES NOT LIKE BEFORE YOU COULD JUST IMAGINE IT. AND I REALIZED THAT ALL THOSE LIVING THINGS AROUND THERE WAS ALSO JOINING AND ENJOYING US EVERYTIME WE’RE THERE. YES THOSE DAYS AND TIMES ARE VERY UNGORGETTABLE AND I THINK CAN NEVER BRING THEM BACK ANYMORE BECAUSE I BELIEVE AND I KNOW IT CHANGED A LOT ALREADY AND THE WHOLE ENVIRONMET MAYBE IT CHANGED ALREADY NOT LIKE BEFORE. YES SINCE THERE WAS A CARETAKER WHO CONTROLLED THE WHOLE AREA WE NEVER TRIED AND ATTEMPT TO GO BACK THERE ANYMORE FOR THEY’RE VERY STRICT AND NON OF THE NEIGHBORS CAN NEVER ATTEMPT TO TALK WITH THEM AND BECAUSE OF THEIR ATTITUDES AND THEY’RE ALL UNMARRIED LADIES.
    OH YES, AFTER THAT “NAGSIMBAANAN” THERE WAS ANOTHER PLACE WE USED TO GO DURING SCHOOL BREAK AND WEEKENDS, IT’S A NICE PLACE ALMOST SIMILAR TO THAT “NAGSIMBAANAN” AND THAT’S “NAGTUTULAGAN” ONLY YOU’VE TO CLIMB ABOUT 150 FEET HIGH BEFORE YOU REACH THE TOP. I LIKE THE PLACE WE FOUND A SET OF CONCRETE BIG TABLES AND CHAIRS MADE OF RED BRICKS “LADRILLOS” AND THERE ARE SOME CONCRETE WALLS TOO LIKE AND SIMILAR TO THAT “NAGSIMBAANAN” STRUCTURES, ONLY THE DIFFERENCE IS THE HEIGHT OF THE WALLS SMALLER THAN THE “NAGSIMBAANAN” BUT ALMOST THE SAME THIKNESS. BUT ACCORDING TO THOSE OLDS GREAT GRANDFATHER AND GRANDMOTHER THAT PLACE WAS USED BY A SECRET MEETING OF THOSE PRIEST OF THE “NAGSIMBAANAN”. THERE ARE A LOT OF HAPPENINGS WE EXPERIENCED THERE BUT I’M SORRY TO SAY I’VE TO GO, IT’S TIME TO GO WORK AGAIN, WE’LL CONTINUE CHATTING AGAIN, I STILL HAVE A LOT TO TELL YOU ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCES AND MY PLAN AND DREAMS TO SHARE ABOUT HOW TO PRESERVE AND MAINTAIN THE HISTORIC PLACE OR TO CONVERT THESE PLACES AS A NATIONAL PARK, I HAVE SOME IDEAS AND DESIGNS ALREADY THAT COULD BE A TOURIST SPOT AND ALSO IN “MINANGA” TO LIGHT HOUSE, I’VE SOME IDEAS AND DESIGN TOO TO MAKE THOSE AREAS A GOOD AND EXCITING PLACE INCLUDING ALL THE ENTIRE AREAS OF THE RIVER FROM “MINANGA” TO “NAGSABARAN” NAMILAGAN AND CLAVERIA BOUNDARY (SURONG).
    THANKS AND GOOD LUCK, “GOD BLESS YOU ALL”.

    • BCS said

      Thank you very much for that wonderfully detailed and insightful story, Terri. I hope other people who have experienced the place will be encouraged to tell their stories, too. And thank you very much for shedding some light on Nagtutulagan… as you may have seen in my post on that place, particularly the photos, there’s nothing much left there (sadly).

      Once again, thank you for your wonderful contribution to this blog. Please feel free to tell more if you have the time.🙂

  8. TERRY M. BARASI said

    TO THE CARETAKERS OF NAGSIMBAANAN / PEOPLE OF NAMUAC RIVERSIDE,
    I’VE SOME SUGGESTION ABOUT THE ARCH DESIGN OF THE ENTRANCE OF THE “NAGSIMBAANAN” AND DON’T HESITATE TO GIVE ME A CALL AND I’M ALWAYS READY TO HELP YOU TO PROVIDE, PREPARE AND SHOW YOU SOME POSSIBLE DESIGN THAT WILL ATTRACT PEOPLE AND PASSERS-BY TO CATCH THEIR ATTENTION. ONE SUGGESTION IS THAT I KNOW AND I BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE STILL OR TRY TO DIG ON THOSE AREAS WHERE THE WALLS LOCATED BEFORE, I MEAN THE ORIGINAL FOUNDATIONS BECAUSE YOU CAN GET THOSE OLD BRICKS “LADRILLOS” TO USE AS A FINISHING TOUCHES OF THAT ENTRY PORCH. IF THERE ARE STILL THERE TRY TO SAVE THEM AND STORE IN A SAFE PLACE. ALL THE OLD MATERIALS (ANY KIND) KEEP AND SAVE THEM BECAUSE YOU CAN USE ALL OF THEM, FROM SMALLEST ONE TO BIGGEST ONE. IF POSSIBLE THE FRONT OF THE “NAGSIMBAANAN” ALONG THE HIGHWAY, FROM CORNER TO CORNER (FROM PROPERTY LINE OF “URNOS FAMILY” TO PROPERTY LINE OF “ROSARIO FAMILY”) IT SHOULD BE BUILT A LOW FENCE ABOUT TWO FEET TO FIVE FEET TALL EACH SIDES OF THE BIG ARCH OF THE MAIN ENTRANCE OF THE “NAGSIMBAANAN”, AND THE HOUSE OF THE CARETAKERS WILL BE CONVERTED INTO SMALL MUSEUM WITH ONE TO TWO BED ROOM WITH TOILET FOR BOTH MALE AND FEMALE THAT WILL USE BY THE CARETAKER AND PUBLIC VISITORS. I KNOW AND I BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE STILL BURRIED OLD MATERIALS FROM THE FOUNDATION BECAUSE WE USED TO DIG AND GET SOME MATERIALS BEFORE TO USE FOR KITCHEN “FUGON” AND I REMEMBER THAT AND THERE ARE A LOT, UNLESS THE CARETAKERS TOOK THEM OUT WHEN THEY OCCUPIED THE AREA. BECAUSE WHEN WE USED TO PLAY THERE WHEN NOBODY STAYING THERE AT THAT TIME THERE’S A LOT AND MOSTLY WE GOT THEM FROM THE FOUNDATION AND IT’S EASY TO TAKE THEM OUT BECAUSE THEY’RE PILED LAYER BY LAYER. WELL IF THESE CARETAKERS OR THOSE NEIGHBORS CONCERNED SPECIALLY TO THE OFFICERS OF THE NAMUAC RIVERSIDE ORGANIZATION, IF THEY’RE STILL INTERESTED TO DO THIS PROJECT I’M WILLING TO HELP THEM TO PREPARE ALL THE DESIGN AND ENGINEERING WORKS AND OTHER PAPER WORKS NEEDED SAME THING IN “NAGTUTULAGAN”. BECAUSE THESE TWO PLACES I’M QUITE FAMILIAR OR SAY 90% I KNOW TO MAKE THE FORMAT HOW TO MAKE THE MOST POSSIBLE DESIGN THAT WILL CONVINCE MY NEIGHBORS IN THAT AREA OR THE ENTIRE “BARANGAY NAMUAC”. AND I BELIEVE THAT THESE DREAMS AND PLAN THAT WE’VE BEEN PLANNING BEFORE WITH MY COMRADES IN THAT AREA IT’S GONNA WORK AND BENIFITTED AND ALSO CAN PRODUCE JOBS AND ADDITIONAL INCOME OF THAT BARANGAY.
    SO IF THOSE PEOPLE IN RIVERSIDE ARE VERY MUCH INTERESTED, DON’T DELAY YOUR DECISION TO WAKE UP YOUR MIND AND START TO MOVE ON. PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO GIVE ME A CALL OR E-MAIL ME ANY TIME AND I’M READY TO HELP YOU GUYS, AND I’M PROUD TO BE A “RIVERSIDENIANS”.
    GOOD LUCK GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
    archbmbarasi@yahoo.com
    DESIGNER BUILDER CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION

    • BCS said

      I admire your show of concern and interest in the revival of these historic sites (i.e., Nagsimbaanan and Nagtutulagan), Mr. Barasi. However, wouldn’t what you are suggesting just contribute to the further destruction and eradication of the little evidences left of these historical structures/sites? As you can see in the photographs, there are still structures (however scarce)–possibly already centuries old–which are still present on these two sites. It would be best to do everything that can be done to preserve them in the state that they are in now. Gathering materials from these structures’ foundation will surely weaken the structural integrity and bring further ruin to the remains of these old and extremely valuable edifices. And all that for what? Just to construct a new arch?

      Given that you are able to produce a new arch from the materials you’ve gathered from the old structures and capture the attention of the people. What then? What’s the use if there’s nothing left of the old structure to be seen on the site?

      By the way, Mr. Barasi, I feel a sense of extreme urgency in your comments. Unfortunately, this is all in vain as this blog/site has nothing to do with or have any connections to the municipal government in whose jurisdiction these historic sites belong. It would be best if you’d personally approach all the people concerned with regards to your plans.

      But again, although I respect your opinions/suggestions, I am personally against your proposal of the gathering and utilization of the ancient materials just to make a “new” arch (or to make anything out of them for that matter). The best, I think, is to leave them as they are, preserve and protect whatever is left, and increase awareness among the people, especially the younger generations.

      • rodney said

        this is a good development indeed. Mr. Barasi really knows what he is talking baout the old church of namuac. i heard it as a legend but the structures is a living testament that it was real thing…

        prayle, the term priest was called in history, worked like a mafia that that even a Nagtulagan was even created far from from the church… indeed a very excellent one…thanks bry…kailangan talaga ang makakita ay outsider na kagaya mo before people like me could appreciate that hidden treasure(?) of ours…

  9. TERRY M. BARASI said

    SIR, I MEAN TO SAY NOT IN THOSE RECENT WALLS WHICH ARE STILL STANDING OR EXISTING, I MEAN TO SAY THE FOUNDATION OF THOSE WALLS THAT HAS BEEN DISAPPEARED ALREADY. BECAUSE AS I SEE TO IT IN YOUR POST THERE ARE A LOT OF WALLS THAT HAS BEEN DISAPPEARED AND I BELIEVED THOSE CARETAKERS OR SOME OF THOSE NEIGHBORS ARE STILL KNOW WHERE THE ORIGINAL LOCATION OF THOSE HUGE WALLS AND YOU CAN FIND THE FOUNDATION WHERE YOU CAN COLLECT THOSE OLD BRICKS OR “LADRILLOS”. AS FOR ME I CAN STILL APPROXIMATELY REMEMBER WHERE THOSE HUGE WALL LOCATED, UNLESS THE CARETAKERS OR SOMEBODY TOOK THEM OUT ALREADY, BECAUSE WHEN WE USED TO PLAY THERE BEFORE WE USED TO DUG ON THOSE FOUNDATION AND WE FOUND A LOT OF LAYERED BRIKCS MOSTLY LOCATED ON THOSE FOUNDATIONS, AS I SEE IN YOUR POST THOSE BIG AND HUGE WALLS WITH ARCH WINDOWS ARE NO MORE AND DISAPPEARED AND I STILL REMEMBER THAT THE BIG WALL IN YOUR PICTURE IS THAT THE ONE LOCATED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STRUCTURE AND THERE’S NO WINDOWS OR OPENING ON THAT ONE, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT WAS A SOLID WALL OR WALL PARTITION IN BETWEEN OF THAT STRUCTURE BEFORE. BECAUSE OF THAT WALL THERE WAS A BIG SPACE EACH SIDES AND THOSE WALLS EACH SIDES OF THOSE LARGE SPACES THERE WHERE YOU CAN SEE THOSE ARCH WINDOWS AND DOOR OPENINGS (EAST PODIUM AND WEST PODIUM). ANYWAY THIS IS NOT THE TOPIC ANYMORE, I JUST WANNA SAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND I’LL TRY TO VISIT THIS PLACE ONCE I GET MY VACATION THIS YEAR OR NEXT YEAR BECAUSE WE’RE PLANNING TO SCHEDULE OUR MEDICAL MISSION AGAIN, WE JUST DID TWO YEARS AGO AND OUR PLAN IS TO SCHEDULE EVERY TWO YEARS AND WE JUST HELD A MEETING TWO MONTHS AGO (NASANYAN’S – NAMUAC, SAN ANDRES, NAGRANTAYAN ORGANIZATION)AND WE TALKED AND DISCUSSED ABOUT OUR PLANS.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH SIR.
    TERRY,

  10. rodney said

    i would like to comment on that. i am not also infavor of using those bricks, down or still standing, to be used for other purposes. according to mr. terry, there are lot of changes na, the high walls before is no longer there. we need to do something but we should rule out using those bricks, like using as part of an arch, they remain there. reignite the awareness of the people of namuac, may be a historical tourist spot, a picnic ground, like the one in Daraga, Albay. Ganyan din naman ang nangyari dun. sabi ng mga tao e bumagasak na rin yung ibang mataas na pader. we should do something about it…

  11. […] by BCS on March 11, 2010 I first mentioned about this in a post I made way back in April, 2009 on the ruins of Cagayan’s first ever church: While I was doing […]

  12. novi urnos said

    I’m so happy at for the long time may nakapansin din sa “NAGSIMBAANAN”.sa tabi niya ay ang mismong bahay namin..(i am one of the urnos clan)…i was away for 5 long years,nung umuwi kami last may iisa lang ang napansin kong nagbago,nagkaroon ng arch ang nagsimbaanan..1or 2 years bago ako umalis,may mga nagdonate(kasama kasi ang mga pinsan ko sa mga nagdonate) for the stations of the cross na ginawa..have you noticed anyone of it?are they still exist?I’m wondering bakit di na lang yun ang gawing nilang simbahan ng namuac?ang laki ng place na yun atpara di makalimutan ng mga tao

  13. With the above blog, I was mesmerize with it.Yes when we were having gimmicks during our high school life. We were dropping by Nagsimbaanan. I hail from the barangay but not that part.Nice to reminisce those times!
    Thw caretakers there were our ChildreN OF maRY CATHECHIST!Whew!Its really quite long time though.
    And to ninong Terry Barasi.Dito lng pala kita mahahanap. I was looking long time to my one and only left NINONG!

    • TERRY said

      THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH LUMITAW NA RIN YUNG INA-ANAK KO, YOUR DAD DID’NT TELL ME WHICH ONE OF HIS SIBLINGS KUNG SINO TALAGA SA KANILA, SO ANG DAMI KO NANG UTANG SA IYO BALASANG KO. AYAAN MO PAG NANALO AKO NANG LOTTO SURPRISE GIFT NA LANG. HOW’S YOUR DAD AND MOM MALAKAS PA SILA, OKEY GIVE MY REGARDS TO THEM AND SEE YOU SOON GUYS.
      TERRY M. BARASI
      CEO/PRESIDENT
      DESIGNER BUILDER CONSTRUCTION CORP.
      NATIONAL CITY, CA. U.S.A.

  14. […] They vowed to spend the rest of their lives guarding what was once the “Church of Mary Magdalene” or the “Church of Pata.” […]

    • TERRY YANIT MALTO BARASI said

      DONT’T WORRY GUYS PAG NAGBAKASIYON AKO KAKAUSAPIN KO MGA ITONG NAGBABANTAY KUNG PAPAANO I-MAINTAIN ANG LUGAR NA ITO AT KAILANGAN MERON MAITAYO NA STRUCTURA NA PAGKAKITAAN PARA MAY INCOME NA PANG MAINTAIN ITONG LUGAR NA ITO PARA GUMANDA AT UNTI-UNTI MAPALAGO ITONG LUGAR NA ITO AT MARAMING MGA VISITA NA MAMASIYAL DITO NA GALING PA SA IBANG PARTE NANG FILIPINAS AT IBANG DAYUAHAN KATULAD NANG GINAGAWA KO NGAYON NA PLANO SA “NAGTUTULAGAN” TRY TO CHECK MY PROFILE AT MY FACEBOOK PARA MAY IDEA KAYO, MAYBE NEXT YEAR IPO-POST KO SA WEB SITE KO AT SUBUKAN KUNG I-SUBMIT YUNG MGA PRESENTASIYON KO SA BUREAU OF TOURISM BAKA SAKALI MABIGYAN PANSIN PARA MASIMULAN NA NA MAITAYO PARA MERON NAMAN PAGMAMALAKI NANG BARANGAY NAMUAC AND AT LEAST MAKAKATULONG SA MGA KABABAYAN NATIN PARA MAGKAROON SILA NANG TRABAHO AT INCOME NANG NAMUAC,MABUHAY ANG MGA TAGA “NAMUAC” MALAPIT NA ETO IPAGDASAL NATIN SA MAHAL NATIN NA PANGINOON TO BLESS ALL THESE PROJECTS PARA MAGTAGUMPAY AT TAGUMPAY NATIN LAHAT. “GOD BLESS US ALL”

  15. melvin said

    i hope our government will exert more effort in promoting and preserving our old churches kasi we have a lot of them na centuries old na and intact pa.these places could draw a lot of tourists kung ma promote lang.sa macau nga facade lang ng church proud na sila

  16. Eileen said

    Well it’s nice to find this article about Martolino as I was amazed and mesmerized by the beautiful ruins of that church. However, my dad, the owner of the land north of Nagsimbaanan also urged us, her children to invest some money for his land. I would say then why not! It’s a beautiful place!

  17. Kenny Sang said

    Great job composing Ruins of Cagayans First Church tanawin.wordpress.com.

  18. Stephen Rodriguez said

    Stumbled upon this article while doing a little research on this church ruins. My late Auntie Lily Rodriguez was a long time caretaker of the site. She and my grandmother lived in the house on that church owned property. The legend I was told about the bell from that church is that it is a massive one and rings so loudly that it caused miscarriages among pregnant women. So the locals dislodged it from the tower and it rolled into the Namuac river nearby, sunk into the mud and now the location’s forgotten. There is more to this area than being the site of the first Church in Cagayan. Ancient Chinese artefacts have been unearthed within the church ruins. I have seen a clay vase that looks like MIng Dynasty design and a bowl with an ancient Chinese character- my research shows that it is an ancient form of the character for “Fu” or good fortune. There is this tantalising prospect that the old church was built on an area that has seen trade with the Chinese long before the Spanish colonizers arrived.

  19. Stephen Rodriguez said

    The last time I was at Namuac, I saw the concrete structures built for the “Stations of the Cross” and I thought it was awful and incongruous with the ruins. Oh well, it’s church property and they can do whatever they want with it, I suppose.

  20. Robert Angel Castro Mercurio said

    I visited the place once to take some pictures, and i was so amazed with the place. However, it does not look the way it is portrayed in the picture. The place is already full of tall grasses and the ruins are almost covered with baletes… nakakapanghinayang lang po kasi, ang ganda po talaga ng lugar na yun..sana po mamaintain yung itsura kasi it can be a tourist attraction for sanchez mira..🙂

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