Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lake is a Bay: Bay (Ba’i), Laguna Barangay Tours

On looking back, I believe that my conception that Bay is just a small town was brought about by my everyday noticing at how small its town proper is. But having spent some time there, it is relatively small, but certainly big in terms of the prospective tour places. Not so many tourists’ spot, in the term’s common usage, but one can appreciate the rural scenes scattered here and there.

* a view of the fields in Bay with the border mountains of Calauan in the background, shot at Hanggan, Bay

* behold, the UP Rural High School site at Barangay Paciano Rizal

* view of the river side just before reaching UP Rural High School; notice the white structure on the lower right, it is actually a welcome sign which was brought down there by typhoon Milenyo

As observed also in some town on the island provinces in Luzon, public transports to different barangays are usually found in thee town proper, specifically on the town market. There is this jeep terminal that would take passengers to the mountainous place of Bitin, indeed far from Bay town proper, but surprisingly still part of the town. This is where the Mak-Ban Geothermal Plant is found (although I am sure if it’s still the name of the facility there).

* a view of Mount Maquiling from Jubileeville, Barangay Masaya

* welcome arc of Barangay Masaya, are all the people there wear all smiles everyday?

* a local church in Barangay Puypuy

* if one would take a closer look at the house, it’s actually an old one, but unfortunately had to suffer the bad repairs of its occupants; found in Barangay Puypuy

Although there are many varied personal reasons for liking and disliking people and places, one of the most fulfilling experiences in Bay is to find yourself in an open area (as in the case of Barangay Masaya where there are many open spaces) and behold the many beautiful stars that are always a treat when there are no clouds in the night sky.

* the mighty calo at Barangay Calo

* not a good shot at all, but the stone structure certainly has been there a long time ago, unfortunately was not able to scrutinize it for any engravings of date and names, found at poblacion

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lake is a Bay: Bay (Ba’i), Laguna Town Proper

The conquest of the Spaniards beyond the borders of Pasig River brought them to the already thriving place of Ba’i. When they had finally ‘conquered’ these places, it was perhaps only natural for them to build their temple of worship along the shores, where the blessings are received. I cannot help but think of Malate Church which has been erected also close the shores of Manila Bay. In Ba’i, the first church was built on the Aplaya (the place still exists today).

* a chapel in San Augustin Church in Bay

* the church’s interior

* notice the ‘frames’ of the church? Each has the letters of the word Agustin; in this picture, on the letters A, G, U, and S are visible

* the church of San Agustin in Bay

This first church was built through the administration of Reverend Father Martin de Rada, an Augustinian (a person which played some role on some activities during the Spanish period I missed to take note; now I am lost as to which book to find the name) in 1571. It became a parish in April 30, 1570 (not so sure about the date, my note here is unclear). Later transferred to the Franciscans, its first parish priest was Rev.Fr. Domingo Matorel in 1717.

A little conjecture here. It may be possible that the church has been made prey to natural disasters (which reminds me of the case in San Juan, Batangas) or to local vandals (a very wild guess at that) that it was relocated to its place at the Poblacion. It was managed by Rev.Fr. Geronimo Hervas and Rev.Fr. Pedro Moya on 1864.

War time of the 1940s brought about its destruction however. Reconstruction was facilitated by Rev. Fr. Alejandro Vermorel (not so sure about the spelling) in 1953. Today it is under the Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna.

* a painting inside Bay town hall depicting the legendary Maria Maquiling and her alleged sisters

* an old Philippine Postal Office mailbox

* Arrieta park found just in front of the town hall

The town hall on the other hand, found just a few steps away from the church, was inaugurated on September 12, 1960. The construction’s budget was from The Guy himself, President Ramon Magsaysay, built from 1956-1959. The Bay River Control (the river is found beside the town hall) was finished on January 1966. There is a park in front of the town hall named Arrieta, which is also a name of a street, in the town proper.

* one old house I’ve found so far in the town proper, the name of the establishment that used to be housed there is still visible – Farmacia Marfori

* the river just beside the town hall; the small grass area seen in the picture was totally submerged in water when Ondoy unleashed its wrath

* the shot is fitting, for it seems that the possibility that this particular Rizal monument would get obscured was not considered; it’s not even a park, so hardly any people get to be there long enough to contemplate about Rizal

Pensees Pit Again

Although Bay ‘suffered’ the same fate as Rosario, Batangas (having been subdivided into a number of several towns), I believe Ba’i itself still carries in it things that are really interesting to look after.

For one, Apolinario Mabini stayed in Bay until Emilio Aguinaldo finally called him to Cavite to be his personal adviser. Where exactly in Bay (if it’s still in Bay or not, being in its former included territory already) is a treat to find!

Also, when Rizal was executed, Josephine Bracken eventually helped the Katipunan. During those times of raging battles,. San Francisco de Malabon was eventually captured, prompting General Paciano Rizal to bring Josephine to safety to Bay, Laguna (where exactly?) passing through the dense forests and mountains. From Bay, most likely using the water transport, she was sent back to Manila.

I have no idea as of now is if these things are already known, but to novices, these are indeed channels worth following. Personally, these small details make my history readings more enjoyable.

(Next: tour of Bay barangays)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Lake is a Bay: Bay (Ba’i), Laguna

* the fields of Bay with Bundok Tikew in the background

Although there are many themes or places that one can immediately say when one speaks of Laguna, I believe two things must come up first. Certainly Laguna de Bay, and Bay itself should be put in the top list.

Not that I am playing the role of a homegrown history kido. But the point is it was in Bay that some of the pre-Spanish activities (i.e., trading, etc.) were encountered and got their ways into history books. The story of Juan de Salcedo and its conquest was not without mentioning Ba’i.

We have a small account on the place in Nick Joaquin’s ‘Rizal in Saga’ about Ba’i being made the capital of the newly created Provincia de La Laguna.

A ‘walk on the back trails’ of the town is certainly a worthwhile one.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Down on the South: the Philippine Eagle Haven

* Durian – a Davao pride

As the last installment on my Davao series, I could not help but note here that it is pretty hard to put-in everything in just a few sentences what’s enough to keep a chance blog reader interested. Travel, much like in artworks (forgive this comparison), is more of an experiential thing to me. From the name itself, a requisite thing is mobility, the need for the person to be ‘there’ to get to know more of a thing or a place.

As for my case, I immensely enjoyed the stay in Davao, as can be seen from the energy with which I do this series. But no matter what I do, I could not possibly describe detail for detail those pieces of feelings and experiences. In a way, travel narrations are snippets, selective in nature.

And to this last trip.

* don’t you think this is a beautiful shot?

* a nation’s treasure indeed – eagles

* croc, croc

Coming out of Samal Island, we gravitated to this place, which I would risk to call the Davao City Water District Malagos Watershed. I just got this name from the photos although I must admit that I did not really take note of the place’s name.

Nevertheless, the trip was nature-based, as we were able to see right from their natural habitats beautiful creatures such as eagles, pilandok(?), caimans, among other. I in fact had one good shot with a big snake hanged in my neck; I do not want people to see the look on my face – one of suppressed fear of the animal!

The travel to the place requires you to take a very long jeep (much similar to the ones brought by the Aurora Council Boy Scouts in Marinduque back in 2003) and with a conductor found at the back. I do remember dozing off during the travel, so it must have been quite a long travel. During the transit, we were able to pass SM Davao and the Davao Campus of Philippine Science High School. One big prize for the tiredness of the day was the eat-all-you-can promo at a class hotel back in downtown Davao later that night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 World War II True Stories Writing Contest (Philippines)

Hear ye, hear ye. Young people aged 13-18 from the Philippines might want to join this event, especially if they have some WWII stories to tell, be it from your lolo or lola or from some other people who have been through the hardships of the 1940's. Just visit the Philippine Veterans Bank website ( for the complete details on the mechanics of the contest. Indulge!

*Image from the Philippine Veterans Bank Website


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Site to Dig-in about San Antonio, Quezon


Anyone wanting to know more about the town of San Antonio, Quezon and/or anyone who wants to supplement one's knowledge before or after a trip to this town ought to visit this site.

Recently had a short exchange of words with the site administrator. Indulge! (

Monday, March 1, 2010

Down on the South: Samal Island

A big piece of land mass in Davao Gulf, Samal Island is easily identified for its presence in an otherwise ‘speck’-free gulf. I did not even know it existed, having been pre-occupied in my elementary and high school days with geography stuff from Luzon only.

* aboard a motor boat; you could easily see the houses on the seashore on the background, with me are faculty members of UPLB and MAPUA [2]

The trip from downtown Davao to the pier is quite long. After passing a posh hotel in our way, we found ourselves in this seaside area where houses dominate the place. I have thought (as have been mentioned also, en passant, in an earlier entry) that this place could be a part of, or is, Punta Dumalag, a small village that was once (or possibly still) part of the NPA dominated community. The simple description that it is on the shores of Davao Gulf made me really think that ‘this is the place’. Whether my hunch is true or not, the place stands evidence to the economic-life division that is still existing, the very problem that the radicals (a toned-down term for me) there sought to overcome years ago. Indeed, Filipinos have earned the notoriety for disregarding much of what we are suppose to tackle. If it’s not laziness or indolence, as Rizal has termed it, then I can’t think of anything else. Anyway, back to the island trip.

* since I did not take this shot, I am not so sure if this view is still part of the seashore side, but I think it is [2]

* behold! First view of Samal Island; all green, eh? [2]

Even the trip to the beach resort from where we landed is feat. We had to endure very rough, and I mean very rough, roads. Despite having those big resort, they have certainly forgotten lanf transport. For it seems to me that these beach resort owners or managers have in mind visitors going to their places directly via motor boats. I would later learn that that we made the long cut. We were really supposed to go directly to the pier of the beach resort.

* teachers! [2]

* the beach in the afternoon [2]

At the place a mini-zoo can be seen and loads of food can be ordered and eaten. This was where I started liking durian. Having a first serving of durian shake, it would be the start of my durian affair during our Davao trip. Morning was spent disturbing the waters (Prof. Herrera got a nasty experience of jellyfish bite, although I am not so sure if that was really jellyfishes) and eating. In the afternoon, half of the goup decided to stay in the place while we aimed for a visit to the Philippine eagles, which would be the topic for the next entry.