Sunday, May 16, 2010

Land on the South: Lucena City, Quezon 1

The sheer size of this city and its distance from the capital city of Manila are sufficient enough to treasure one’s visit to this place found in Quezon. Not that I am one of those who has to travel from the country’s capital just to see the city; I am just from the neighboring province of Laguna. Perhaps it’s the travel, no matter where you have come from. For the time consumed on road alone could be a big and satisfying trade-off for the view of the place, for the sceneries of the place.

* the bridge, under which a river flows – whose name I was not able to identify – connecting the city proper (that is, the market place and the modern establishments) with the part of the city where SM Lucena can be found

* a marker for the completion of a street in Lucena during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos

* a street mural spanning the street where the church is found

Without resorting to the ever helpful internet, I believe the name Oroquieta (I hope I got the spelling more or less right) has some intimate association with the place, as it was chosen as the name of the organization of UPLB students from Lucena. Indeed, as I go and proceed with this Back Trails enterprise, I see again and again the insufficiency of just being a mere traveler, a mere tourist to a place. To admit, I have been to this place for quite a number of times already yet I only found the occasion for a more meaningful ‘look’ at the city, its places, and people the last time I visited it. Perhaps my sentiments can be best expounded as an appendix to this two-part entry.

Size-wise, the city is big; a day is not enough to roam its streets. Even in earlier years, the city is already a tourist hub. I can still remember frequenting a place called Ocean’s Palace, which was their prized ‘mall’ at the time. Unfortunately the place was forced to be closed when an SM branch was erected at the city. If my memory still serves me right, onwards to a place called Cota, one can find a river and some wooden boats anchored, the styles of which are more or less native to the place. Definitely, a revisit to these places should be done. On the other side, towards the place called Iyam, a number of lodgings can be found where visitors can take their rest.

* the church of San Fernando

* inside the chapel of the saints, or is it the chapel of the virgins?

* a view of the interior of the church

* a tomb found outside the church

* the church tower

As to their church, I believe it’s one of the most important havens for examiners, especially teachers. I cannot fully attest to this, for I only have this general idea that the licensure examination for teachers for the regions and provinces around Lucena is done there yearly. I remember attending a mass there; most of the attendants were probably aspiring licensed teachers. The place was packed, and I do remember hearing the blessings of the priest for them. Shameful to admit but I was at the time amusing myself by memorizing the inscriptions on an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in a chapel adjacent to it.

The parish of San Fernando was established on March 1, 1881. A certain Father Mariano Granja was its first parish priest. The first church was built on May of the next year and was completed on July, 1884. It caught fire on May 24, 1887 and later renovated by November. It was only in 1950 that the Diocese of Lucena was established.

The church must have been an important place, especially for the upper class, as I still found some tombs, curiously outside the walls, as opposed to the ones I found in Pila.

* one heck of a mansion found as one approach the provincial capitol

* another big house, only this time it is a restaurant of some sort

House Preview

I can, I believe, make an admittedly weak argument connecting the houses and the church of a certain place. This has been my observation, anyway, from the Back Trails I have treaded so far.

Imagine a place in the Philippines, a pueblo perhaps, during the 19th century. And imagine in addition that it is a relatively wealthy and vibrant place, with enough industries (which meant enough sources of living for the people) and relatively vast plantations or lands (take for example Batangas, Negros, or Tarlac and neighboring provinces). Of course, the picture would not be complete without the usual media clase, the middle class that put on the spice, the color, the intrigue, of this time. And with their stature comes the usual regard for them, even in death.

So off to church go their body, where during those times the church itself is a power, an influence to behold. So the wealthy of the time find some nice little place inside (or outside) the church in which to lay to rest. To cut this monologue short, we would usually find crypts where there was (or is) a significant presence of the aristocrats, or wealthy, or whatever they may be called. On a final note, it goes to show that during the Spanish times, or even shortly after their period, wealth, social status, and the church (with all its complexities and influences) are interconnected.

* a haggard Trailer Pransis lounging outside the church grounds of the church of Lucena

This one last photo serves to pacify my annoyance over being doubted (it seemed to me) about my travels to the places I post here. I believe, this pattern of posting a picture of me at the end of each entry (although I do not wan to do so when I started this thing) would be a regular appearance here in Back Trails.

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