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)


  1. I was thinking of going there last month. Great job my friend...

  2. Salamat Kuya! Hope I'll be able to meet you, and your friends as well, when you go here in Laguna.:)