Friday, May 7, 2010

A Treasure Place: San Juan, Batangas

* view of the river in San Juan (is it the San Juan River mentioned in books that empty into Laguna de Bay?) from the bridge as one enter the town of San Juan

It was I think more than a year ago when I first took a liking to San Juan principally because of a discussion with an intimate regarding the many old houses that still remain in the town. I was really itching to get there, and I was only able to satisfy myself until recently.

Briefly said, the town was really a treasure of old houses. Situate yourself randomly on a certain point and you would certainly find an old house, be it front of you, or behind, or on the sides. On thinking about it, the place was probably not affected much by the onslaught of the World War II, but I am yet to confirm this hunch.
San Juan is really part of the division that happened many years ago of the once big place called Rosario. The town’s roots trace its origins to the shores of Batangas not far from the place.

* the municipal hall, outside it read: erected – Bolbok – 1928

It was once found in a place called Pinagbayanan. (One might want to go a few entries back and look up on the entry on Rosario, Batangas to have a grasp of their history and beginnings.) Two rivers called Bancoro and Bangbang frequently flooded the town which compelled the townsfolk to relocate. The town did in fact suffer water submersion in 1883. The relocation was granted by the Governor-General at the time (on December 12, 1890) while the town was still under the administration of Gobernadorcillo Benedicto de Villa. The town’s name was changed to San Juan de Bolboc on February 28, 1914. The place was later to be known as San Juan Nepomuceno (around early 1920s). Today it retains a more contracted form of the name, San Juan.

* the church of San Juan

* a part of a school adjacent of the church, might have been a cumvento before, but no access to the place was possible at the time of the visit as it was apparent close

* the interior of the church; I am beginning to be amused with this for I always encounter marriage ceremonies in the churches I get to visit

* San Juan himself

The town’s first church was erected in Pinagbayanan in 1843, mostly made only of bamboos and materials from coconut trees. The stone church was later built in 1845 through the efforts of Father Damaso Mojica, its first parish priest. After the flooding and submersion in 1883, it was transferred to its present location in 1890. It was finally inaugurated in 1894 with Father Celestino Yoldi, a Recollect, as its parish priest. There are still a number of entries about its history as recent as 1996.

Later I shall share what I have most like about the town – its treasure of houses.

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