Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Father Behind the Name of Padre Garcia, Batangas

* a monument/sculpture portraying the main attraction
and identity of Padre Garcia – cow trading

* Padre Garcia Public Market

* an old house in town

I first learned about the eventual division the old town of Rosario, Batangas into towns of Rosario and Padre Garcia last year when a short visit to Rosario turned out to be a very worthwhile one as I got hold of the fact that the places there are filled with many tales and historical details.

For one who knows these details, it should not be surprising at all to find Padre Garcia, Batangas quite a small town. But smallness is not a hindrance at all for 'Garcia' (as it is commonly called by the people around the place) is dubbed as the capital of the country for cattle trading. One should only look around and see posters and tarpaulins posted depicting their local leaders in some sort of Wild Wild West costumes.

I think I have seen it a long time ago in the now-defunct TV program Magandang Gabi Bayan (MGB) when every year, people trooped to the place to buy and trade cows. They have this Livestock Auction Market, a really big venue just outside their public market.

* an old, apparently abandoned entablado outside the church;
the only eye sore to the place is the presence of the big court outside the church

* a peek inside the town church; I did not know if one was allowed
to enter for obviously, it was being prepared for a wedding

The Changing of the Names

It should not be a surprise that their church there is called the Church of the Most Holy Rosary. The town was originally called Rosario. The original church, built with native materials, was erected in 1776 and was overseen by the Augustinian Recollects. People from Lobo first settled to this place because of the widespread pirate attacks in their place.

The town, together with the church, was burned during the Philippine-American War. It finally got its name of Lumangbayan because the center of local government was transferred to the present-day Rosario.

The church was then manned by the Oblates of Joseph under Rev. Fr. Antonio Fachini, OSJ. He was later murdered by the Japanese on February 14, 1945 (which recalls to mind the common phrase "a bloody valentine"). Again it suffered destruction, this time under the Japanese. Reconstruction was later made by the OSJs.

It was only in 1949 when it was renamed Padre Garcia in honor of a local priest named Vicente T. Garcia.

* Fr. Garcia, in seeming reflective mood;
the town hall is just behind the monument

* a wagon!

Fr. Vicenter Garcia - V. Caraig

I find it really silly not to recall that it is the same Fr. Garcia who defended Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere. The root of this short story of course is the "explosive" contents of the Rizal’s first novel. A certain Fr. Rodriguez released a pamphlet entitle ‘Caingat Cayo’ (which can be roughly translated as ‘Be Careful’ or ‘Be Wary’) which warned people on reading Noli Me Tangere. Rizal answered him in return, a satire called ‘La Vision de Fr. Rodriguez’.

Although I still can’t find it in my books, I think it was also around this time that Fr. Vicente Garcia (April 5, 1871-March 12, 1899) also made certain writings championing Rizal’s novel. It was here that he used the pen name V. Caraig.

[How to go to Padre Garcia, Batangas: 1) From Manila, one can board a bus bound for Lucena City, Quezon. Drop off at Tiaong, Quezon, specifically at the place they call Bantayan. This is found a few meters away from Tiaong Elementary School and the famous kurba and the big balete tree 'decorating' it. Then board a jeepney bound for Lipa City. You will pass through the town of Padre Garcia. 2) Alternatively, you can start from Lipa City. Either you board a jeepney bound for Tiaong, Quezon or San Juan, Batangas. The jeepneys can be found at the terminal just outside Robinson's Lipa.]


  1. Hello, i would like to make this as one of my reference for my article, may I have your full name so that I can give credits. Thanks :)

    1. Hello. I haven't updated my blog for quite some time now. Hope you were able to use this blog post as you reference.