* one of my favorite styles of street lamp
* a monument for Apolinario Mabini
I have said this already to a friend: if you would travel to a certain place, it is sometimes better to look more closely to the scenery and not get stuck to traditional tourists’ spots. So it came one time that I found myself walking in Batangas City, seeing along the way a dusty and sleepy bus terminal, an abandoned hotel, scattered or spent firecrackers, men still having the hangover of the New Year’s Celebration, and an attractive seafood restaurant, among others.
Batangas State University (BatStateU) came into view and somewhere along the sidewalk I saw the sign pointing to the direction of a ‘Basilica.’ The random walk finally found a definite goal.
What else can be used to describe the city center but the word ‘beautiful’? The plaza boasts a big park with spaces for children’s playgrounds, open grounds for aerobics enthusiasts, lanes for strollers and joggers alike. The place is also dotted with benches on which one can rest.And then the treasure of the place – the Basilica.
* the Basilica in Batangas City on a Sunday
The basilica is called the Basilica Menor de Inmaculada Concepcion. I did not notice the curious ‘n’ there in what certainly means immaculate. But since it has been years since the visit, I can only ask for it the next time I go there.
The Basilica Menor de Inmaculada Concepcion History
The first church was built in 1581 through the efforts of Father Diego Mojica, an Augustinian pastor from Calapan, (Oriental) Mindoro. So far it is probable since Calapan is just a boat (or a sea vessel, if you will) away from the pier. The church was dedicated to Inmaculada Concepcion de Nuestra Señora.
The laying of stone foundations for the construction of the second church happened between the years 1682 and 1721. In 1693, the convent with its own artillery was added. The purpose of the artillery was to drive sea pirates away. I could only imagine the topography of the place then. It was probably a candy to the eyes of conquistadores and pirates alike. (Which leaves me now with an open task of finding even at least a sketch or a map of the place during the Spanish era.)
The church was demolished again and rebuilt under Padre Pedro Cuesta in 1851. It was then blessed on February 2, 1857 and designated as a ‘minor basilica’ (if it is the right term) on February 13, 1948. I know there are still many things to be known about this city. I wish I would have the opportunity again to take a sneak peek into the past of this important city.
One can reach SM Batangas City by boarding a jeepney on the left side of the basilica (if you are facing it). One shall pass a long bridge, and I am not so sure if it’s the bridge that collapsed when one of the many storms hit Luzon last year.
[How to go to Batangas City, Batangas: From Manila, one can board a bus bound for Batangas Pier. Whether the bus is via CALABARZON or Tanauan-Lipa, it does not matter. Drop off at the place they call Balagtas Exit. From there, board a jeep bound for the city proper of Batangas City.]