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Archive for the ‘Places of Worship’ Category

Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

Posted 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 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.

At the time, we weren’t able to go to the site because most people seem to have already forgotten about the place.

When my family and I went back to Sanchez Mira, Cagayan for our Christmas vacation last December, I once again asked my brother-in-law, Mang Val, if we could try once more to locate the site/ruins of this “Nagsisiiman”/”Nagtutulagan”. To my great joy, he obliged.

And so, we went around town asking people about the place.

Most people, particularly those who were beyond 500 meters from the site, are practically clueless about it. Luckily, we bumped into a couple of elderly people who had been to the place as children back in the 60s or 70s. One of them remembers seeing stone “seats” (pews probably) scattered on the site.

But, to my disappointment, when we told them that we wanted to go there, they told us that it was very doubtful that we’ll be able to see anything there because they’ve heard that the stone seats/pews had already been discarded by either miners or the farmers living near the vicinity.

But still, we carried on.

Our first attempt was a failure… thanks to the vicious dogs roaming around the dirt path going to the site. We were also told that there are snakes along the way and that we’ll need someone to guide us.

When we went back a few days later, we were very fortunate to find a local (Vicente Donalvo Yaquin) who was very much willing to take us to the site (which is situated on top of a hill).

Our guide, Vicente Donalvo Yaquin

Our guide, Vicente Donalvo Yaquin

It was quite a long trek. And since it had been raining earlier, the path was muddy and slippery.

Path to the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

Path to the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

Path to the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

Path to the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

Path to the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

Path to the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

When we reached the top, this was what we saw…

The site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan on top of the hill

The site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan on top of the hill

But upon closer inspection, we saw something distinctively manmade lying underneath the thick green carpet…

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The ruins of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

I wasn’t able to make a visual of how the place could have looked like before. What I can say is that the the area covered by the “ruins” is quite wide. And the view is Wonderful!

The view from the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

The view from the site of Nagsisiiman/Nagtutulagan

There’s still something there, and it’s probably almost 500 years old.

Sanchez Mira/Claveria boundary (Namuac Bridge) - Hill on the right is where Nagtutulagan is situated

Sanchez Mira/Claveria boundary (Namuac Bridge) - Hill on the right is where Nagtutulagan is situated

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Posted in History, Landmarks, Places of Worship, relics, Sanchez Mira | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Church of the Holy Sacrifice

Posted by BCS on July 9, 2009

Church of the Holy Sacrifice (Exterior)

Church of the Holy Sacrifice (Exterior)

I don’t know how true the story is, but I’ve heard that the Church of the Holy Sacrifice (located at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman) is the first project of Leandro V. Locsin to be built during his career. Locsin was proclaimed a National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture in 1990 by President Corazon C. Aquino.

On January 12, 2005, the chuch was considered as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum respectively.

Everything about it is remarkable… the dome, the absence of any kind of structural support inside the structure, the simplistic design, the 1,000-person seating capacity. But what I find most remarkable is the fact that this church is a product of the collaborative efforts and extraordinary talents of five National Artists. And what a glorious product it is!

Historical Marker at the Church of the Holy Sacrifice

Historical Marker at the Church of the Holy Sacrifice

The structure (as I’ve already mentioned) was designed by Leandro V. Locsin…

Church of the Holy Sacrifice (Exterior)

Church of the Holy Sacrifice (designed by Leandro V. Locsin)

the murals of the Stations of the Cross were painted by Vicente S. Manansala and Ang Kiukok…

One of the murals of the Stations of the Cross inside the church (by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok)

One of the murals of the Stations of the Cross inside the church (by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok)

the double-sided crucifix and altar base was sculpted/carved by Napoleon Abueva…

The Crucifix by Napoleon Abueva hanging beneath the skylight at the center of the church

The Crucifix by Napoleon Abueva hanging beneath the skylight at the center of the church

and the floor (entitled “The River of Life”) was designed by Arturo Luz.

The River of Life by Arturo Luz

The River of Life by Arturo Luz

It is as much a shrine of the arts as it is one of the religious and the holy.

Posted in Architecture, Places of Worship | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

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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Posted in Architecture, History, Places of Worship, Sanchez Mira | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments »