Friday, July 30, 2010

Amongst the Heights: Nagcarlan, Laguna

* view of the church of Nagcarlan, on the left is what could have been a part of the old convento

* view of the church / bell tower with a grotto on the lower right side

* close-up of a detail of some designs on one of the church’s entrance

Literally elevated, the town of Nagcarlang (its old name) can be reached by trekking up several slopes, which are probably part of the great Mount San Cristobal. If one would be keen enough to observe during the travel, one can see the peaks of the mountains that deck the city of San Pablo.

Personally, Nagcarlang has stuck to me because this is where the people of San Pablo comes to buy meat, which are probably fresh and cheap. If one opts to save in fiestas, Nagcarlang is the place to buy such meat.

* a monument of Rizal found just a few steps away from the church, flanked on all its sides by a number of creatures of what look like a half-lion, half-fish (a merlion?), and several women holding a harp, chains, a bread(?), and a cog wheel

Its famous underground cemetery should not overshadow the town itself, which is also a treasure. There is their church, recently the talk of the town, as the TV show ‘Kampanerang Kuba’ was shot in its premises. This has probably stuck also to the town folks, as I managed to overhear a group of passing students mention Kampanerang Kuba, probably making allusions to some scenes from the show that they still remember.

Fairly similar to some of the churches I have visited, the early church built in the town was made of light materials. A Reverend Tomas de Miranda built it who, it was said, came down with the first wheat seedlings in the town. In 1752, the church was finally built from bricks and stones. But a fire, 29 years later, partially destroyed that most likely already-imposing church. Reverend Vicente Velloc, the same man who built the underground cemetery, added a choir loft in 1845.

I was unfortunate not be able to enter the church, as it seemed that it was close. (Or, was I, yet again, not too keen to find the ‘side entrance’?) The church is constructed on high grounds, much similar to the church in Liliw, which has a commanding view of the town proper. That seems to me a psychological conditioning, for in placing the church in the center of the town, or on high grounds as in this case, people would eventually look up to the Church (yeah, with the capital C) as a stronghold, a power so to speak. I hope I made some sense there.

* the imposing Nagcarlan Residencia

* a fountain found on the grounds of Nagcarlan Residencia constructed in 1920, I wish they use it more often; as to the poses of the figures which are somewhat suggestive, I leave that to the minds of the possible readers of this entry, he-he

A short walk from the church would bring you to the town hall, one that they call Nagcarlan Presidencia. The former seat of power was in Casa Real, found on the corner of Calle San Diego and Calle San Rafael but was closed down at the coming of the Americans. This present town hall was built in 1941 which has a ‘neo-classical’ look on it.

The profusion of houses in their different stages of decay and grandeur makes a short walk among its streets a treat. Later I shall be sharing yet again, those casas that I found charming and attractive, together with the other destinations that can still be pursued by a willing visitor.

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