Monday, November 29, 2010

Trek to Tanauan, Batangas: The City Proper

* a map showing some of the barangays of Tanauan; I took this one to have a general idea of the distance of Mabini’s Shrine from the Poblacion

* behold, the church of Tanauan

* if one doe not know he is looking at the entrance of Tanauan, he would think this is part of a European church; indeed, this is looks so elegant; sorry if I cannot make an architectural description, I am yet to equip myself with a bit of knowledge about that

* view inside the church

* the old Tanauan town hall, no
w the city’s museum

* a monument for Mabini; notice that he is standing here

* Abogado!

* a view of the house of Jose P. Laurel; I have always wondered why it is always close whenever I go there; one bad experience there was when we almost became victims of the premises’ attack dogs!

The names Apolinario Mabini and Jose Laurel are always associated with Tanauan. But literature-wise, I always recall that unforgettable character in El Filibuterismo by Jose Rizal.

He was Placido Penitente. As I write this, I am looking down a Virgilio Almario edition of the El Fili. The chapter about him relays his desire to go back home in Tanauan and stop schooling. A certain Padre Valerio was mentioned and at the back, a note was made about him. He was, in fact, a real person.

Padre Valerio Malabanan was a native of Lipa, Batangas and was a graduate of UST. He became a parish priest of Lipa but chose the vocation of teaching. In 1865, he opened a school in Tanauan named Colegio del Padre Valerio. And, incidentally, Apolinario Mabini enrolled in his school. I wonder if Rizal was somehow making a sketch of Mabini through Penitente. Although Tanauan is already gearing up for modernization, it is still good to see old houses still standing around the city proper.

I am yet to visit a new church built along the main highway which houses a certain Our Lady.

* one big house found along P. Ornate Street

* three-storied tower-like part of a house; the lower ground houses a Pantoja store

* small yet sooo beautiful

* Gov. Modesto Castillo Memorial Cultural Center; this one will open soon

* found along the street leading to the church

* one old house found along one of the busiest thoroughfares of Tanauan

* an entrance to the municipal cemetery; shot on the way back from the Mabini Shrine

The Tanauan Church

The administration of the church of Tanauan was accepted by the Augustinians on May 5, 1584. Its first parish priest was Fr. Antonio Roxas. The first church which was made of wood was first erected along the shores of Lake Bombon (Taal Lake) in the year 1690. The concrete church was later erected in 1732. In 1754, Taal Volcano erupted submerging virtually everything along the lake’s shores including the church. The reconstruction of the church was led by Fr. Jose Diaz in 1881. World War II came and in the year 1944, the church was completely destroyed. Reconstructions were made in 1946 by a certain Monsignor Mariño.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Naujeños, visit this site!

Someone sent me a comment asking if they could post my blog entry about Naujan, Oriental Mindoro in their new site about Naujan and its people, the Naujeños.

I can only say yes.

Things about the Philippines should be shared to the Filipinos, for the Filipinos. And so Naujeños, come and visit this

Hope this site will thrive.

The Personal Belongings of Apolinario Mabini

* this handkerchief was Mabini’s present to a friend named Florentina Cesario of Tanauan; she was at that time a teacher in Lipa; this handkerchief was eventually donated by Florentina’s daughter; isn’t it good to note that they have probably kept this one because Mabini was already an important figure in the cause of freedom during the Philippine Revolution?

* a glass of Mabini, together with some buttons

* a trunk of Mabini

* the usual banga or jar; probably used for keeping water

* a mirror (the side frames are reconstructions already) and a cabinet

* marvel at Mabini’s handwriting!

Let me share with you some of the belongings of Apolinario Mabini displayed at the Mabini Shrine. They are varied. Most were obtained from his home in Nagtahan. The transfer was done during the administration of President Macapagal, if I am not mistaken. One was a donation from a friend (or was it a loved-one?).

The existence of these things was the reason of my remark that Mabini is one of the more ‘human’ heroes we have. One can imagine him sitting in that big chair, contemplating the Philippine Revolution and the entry of the Americans to the Philippines. One can imagine him looking up that elegant clock, realizing the lateness of the day after hours of writing.

* a book owned by Mabini

* a Walker’s Dictionary

* El Sol – The Sun; his clock

* mga muebles

* the Sublime Paralytic’s chair; sorry,
but this is not the
one seen in one of his most prominent photos

* finally, his coffin; during my first visit, it was not still covered in glass, and so the cloth covering it was…well...a good souvenir it seemed to me…so…
(no one should do that again, tsk)

Visiting shrines like this is one step forward in knowing our heroes. This one needs no reiteration anymore, but our heroes are not just names on books and magazines. They are humans and they lived particularly during those important periods in our history. If you think that studying and knowing heroes is baduy or corny, then I don’t think you should wear stuffs with Philippine flags or with lines “I am Filipino.” Kailangang pangatawanan natin ang pagiging Pilipino. And one way to assert this is to at least familiarize ourselves to those historical figures (I am beginning to believe that the term ‘hero’ is quite limiting) who contributed in molding our nationalistic consciousness.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trek to Tanauan, Batangas: Mabini Shrine

* Mabini Shrine’s main building

* a bust of the Sublime Paralytic

* Mabini’s final resting place

* different photos of Mabini; the one in the middle shows Mabini when he was not still paralyzed

I first visited Mabini Shrine six years ago. It was one of my first few attempts to travel outside our city after graduating in high school. My revisit was to fill in my regret for making the first trip for trip’s sake. And since I am now hooked into Philippine history, the proximity of Tanauan City (yes, it is now a city) enabled the revisit.

The Shrine

Barangay Talaga, where the Mabini Shrine is found, still has that rural feel to it. And I wonder if the serene atmosphere and the simplicity of the place where he grew up conditioned the young Mabini’s mind for making things plain and simple as some opined about him and his works.

Upon entering the shrine, you will see a wide area for rest and leisure. It was more like a park. The centerpiece is the building which houses several offices, the museum, Mabini’s mausoleum, and a function hall of some sort at the back. The replica of the nipa hut of the Mabinis somehow breaks the symmetric view.
At the heart of the building is the mausoleum, made of white marble, inscribed plainly with his signature. A bust is erected in front. No other extraneous designs.

The museum contains several of the hero’s belongings from his Nagtahan home. The perceived bias in favor of other heroes (for Rizal most prominently) has its drawbacks of course. Although Mabini can be said to be a ‘victim’ of such bias, I am beginning to doubt whether it really relegated him to the background of ‘historical prominence’.

For one, those belongings which managed to survive are, for me, strong motivations for one willing person to dig in more about Mabini. It gives one a sense of reality about him. ‘Yung tipong talagang nabuhay siya. We are overfed with details about the other heroes to the point of making them abstract things in our minds. Given his works, Mabini is indeed worth studying. Those surviving relics may be small compared with the constellation of what we have at hand related to Rizal, for example. But then, the invitation to know more about the other heroes will never be outmoded. I, for one, am a recipient of this encouragement for I have only managed to read his Decalogue, some notes on his biography and briefs mentions by historian Ambeth Ocampo, and saw the Decalogue paintings from Center for Art Ventures and Sustainable Development or CANVAS. Much more can still be learned about him.

Looking through his portraits in the shrine, he had what I can call good bearing even when he became paralyzed. I wonder what more could he have done (for the Philippine Revolution for instance) if he was not paralyzed. Joined the fighters maybe? Who knows? But then, we now see that his strength lay in his thoughts transmitted to writings. And we, Filipinos, should really take the time to read his works.

* Mabini’s house in Nagtahan

* shot during the transfer of Mabini’s remains to Talaga

* Mabini’s coffin, the one on the right wearing a suit was Emilio Aguinaldo

* Mabini’s hair

* Trailer Pransis with Lola Pelagia Mabini

The Man

I have just rummaged through my books and found a compilation of short biographies of Filipinos who figured in our history. And here’s what I found about Mabini.

One: his nickname was Pule. As a child, he was schooled under Simplicio Avelino, later transferring to the school of Fr. Valeriano Malabanan where he studied Latin. He studied in Colegio de San Juan de Letran and University of Sto. Tomas. It was there that he received his law degree. His career figured the most under the budding government of Emilio Aguinaldo. But I am leaving out the details, for although I know some information about it, one willing learner would find enjoyment in digging into books and notes about him. (Rummaging through the internet should be a second resort.)

Also, in thinking back, I cannot recall being with anyone who has relations with some of the heroes from the American period and earlier. (President Noynoy, who I met last summer, could count, being the son of a hero, but Ninoy was a more recent historical figure.) And what more can I ask? I have just met a descendant of Mabini, Lola Pelagia Mabini! A willing conversationalist, I think that her enthusiasm comes from the thought that she is sharing things about an important person in our history. And it made the visit more interesting, hearing details from a direct descendant.

She was born in 1948, so she was not able to see Lolo Pule alive, but she was there when the remains of Mabini was finally transferred to his Talaga home. I tried to say about the rumor that Mabini died of syphilis but she dismissed it with a laugh, saying that he died of cholera. She also said that Mabini was ‘studious’ and this assertion, of course, can be readily gleaned from his works that are well thought-out.

Concluding Thoughts

As I go and proceed with these amateurish trips and historical diggings, several things come to me now as insights. For one, maintaining that you are a visitor allows you to discover more things, however little they might be. The purpose of travel and visits anyway (as in my case) is to learn, so why deny that you are a visitor? Corollary to this is the need to speak up. Ask. Converse. Things can be done by observations. But we can get surprisingly more if we engage people to share things about the places and people that we visit.

Post-Script: For a nice read about Mabini, visit this particular blog.

[How to go to Mabini Shrine: From Manila, one has to board a bus bound for Batangas Pier via Lipa and Tanauan. Drop off at the main junction of the city. A Jollibee store and a 7-11 store are prominent landmarks of the place. Turn right and walk until you reach another Jollibee store. Just beside it is a small side-street where jeepneys are parked. I think it is just a makeshift terminal. Board the jeepney bound for Talisay (Batangas) and say to the driver that you are going to the Mabini Shrine (they call the place simply “Shrine”). The fare was 13 pesos when we did this revisit.]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sa Gunita (para sa pag-alaala sa mga naging biktima ng Maguindanao Masaker)

Hindi kayang tuyuin ng isang taon
Ang mga dugong sa lupa’y tumapon,
Nang sa isang iglap, noong ika-23 ng Nobyembre
Inihatid ng mga bala sa kabilang buhay
Ang hininga at mga pangarap
ng mga biktima ng Maguindanao

Hindi kayang ikubli ng labindalawang buwan
ang alingawngaw ng pighati at pangungulila
nitong mga kaanak, mga mahal sa buhay
ng mga naging bikitma ng Maguindanao

Pagkat sa gunita ng baya'y
umukit ang mapagmalaking
paglalantad ng mga naghahari-harian
sa Maguindanao -
sa gatilyo at pulbura
ginawang laruan
ang mga buhay na
'di nila nilikha at
'di nila pag-aari.
Sila'y mga diyos-diyosang may
kapit (noon) sa tanyag na Palacio.

Mulat pa rin ngayon
ang diwang tinulungan nilang mag-apoy,
nang tinangka nilang ikubli ang mga katawang nilisan ng buhay
ng backhoe at lupa.

Markado na rin ang pagbalik ng mga salarin sa lupa, ang kanilang
huling hantungan
Samo lamang sa piringang Hustisya -
gawing kasingtindi (kung 'di man higit pa) ang hatol sa
mga nag-astang berdugo ng Maguindanao.

At gawing buháy ang parusa sa kanila
at maging monumento ng pag-alaala
na sa likod ng maskara ng pamamahala
ay may mga patuloy pa ring nagkukubli,
gumagawa ng kanilang munting mga kaharian.

Marami pa nga ang dapat hugasan
sa ating putikang pulitika
Ngunit sa pagtiwala at pagpursige sa Hustiya,
may mga paunang hakbang tayong matatahak;

Sa gunita
mananatili ang alaala ng trahedya;
Sa puso
mananatili ang pag-asa para sa hustisya.

* isang munting tula para sa pag-alaala sa mga naging biktima ng Maguindanao Masaker

© Francis Murillo Emralino
Nobyembre 23, 2010 | Laguna

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Falls Town: The Houses on Calle Rizal (Calle Real) 2

* an archway of the past

* in faded pink

* side streets in town maintain the look of an old Spanish town

* only the front pillars remain; feel free, dear reader, to imagine what the house looked like when it was still whole

* gives one an ancient feel; this one is literally covered in greeneries

This is just a continuation of the last entry. We can see here the other houses along Rizal Street in Pagsanjan. What’s good about the place is that they keep the remnants of houses that once stood whole along the street. You can find ancient-looking archways, pillars of what looked like elegant houses before, among other. Perhaps besides the passage of time (which brought along with it natural phenomena that probably contributed to the wear and tear of houses, such as typhoons), I speculate that it was World War II that brought destruction to most of the houses there. The church was not spared during the war. How much more the houses that could have been easy targets for the enemies?

* surviving stone works

* a beauty!

* I took a fancy with that thing on the lower right - a waiting shed with a pointed hat on top

* old yet still pleasing to the eyes

* the concretes are what usually remains with the passage of time

* again, a beauty

Again, I feel bitin in sharing things here about Pagsanjan. I am left with names and events that are ready for research (adding to the piles of data I’ve gathered in my tours). The visit to places is always a start. But then, learning about places is a huge task. Let these short blog entries suffice for now. I believe I can elevate the nature and process of sharing details here in Back Trails. Finally, let me share here some random shots.

* Pagsanjan Public Market at dusk
* Pagsanjeños making last-minute purchases before night falls

I was still not able to make a search about the bodies of water in Pagsanjan which could be the possible place or places of inspiration for the name. Well, I hope I could finally share it here after my visit to Pagsanjan Falls. Kelan kaya ‘yun?

Pensees: One thing I am probably missing in my tours is the food products of the places I visit. Better make a series of entries about Philippine food and cuisine. Perhaps next year.