Sunday, February 20, 2011

Anticipating a Visit to Lobo, Batangas

* view of the Lobo River delta

* view of the Peat-Marsh Forest

This post is long overdue and it would be equivalent to killing the anticipation if I were not to talk of Lobo, Batangas.

My fascination of Lobo came about when we attended the Regional Symposium on Research, Development and Extension Agenda for Biodiversity and Ecotourism in Lobo, Batangas and R&D Planning Workshop.” The activity was essentially an attempt to strengthen the different sectors in Lobo concerned with its biodiversity and ecotourism. I felt privileged to be part of that planning stage. The matrices of plans and projections were good especially because they are to be used in the near future. DOST spearheaded this work and so I am quite contented to think that the plans will be carried out.

Almost all the presentations were about or from Lobo, acquainting me in the end about the great potential of Lobo as a tourism hub in southern Batangas. But more than that, I have come to realize how much can be seen in Lobo, both in the literal and historical senses. Most of the places in the town have been visited and studied by researchers and perhaps its historical heritage is undergoing a similar rigorous research too. It would be good to ‘discover’ the town personally and in this endeavor, nothing can be more good than having connections.

It was thus fortunate that I was able to meet Prof. Anacleto “Sir Clet” Caringal, who was game enough to discuss to me some info about Lobo. I have expressed to him my desire to visit Lobo this summer but then budget must be considered first. The photos that you see here were provided by Sir Clet, and I hope that I have been discrete enough not to put everything from the documents he sent to me.

* the Sea and Mountain Society in Tibig-Talahib, Batangas City

* the life stage of ook, a rare species of what we commonly call salagubang, found in the forests of Lobo

So what am I anticipating for? Perhaps visiting Lobo’s mountains, the Malabrigo Lighthouse, the famed peat forest, and its beaches. Or eating the town’s fruit products and getting to know its people culturally.

I may have to mark this posting date and after a year, I shall have to make an update here about the progress of the plans that have been laid out for Lobo’s future.

[Acknowledgement: Trailer Pransis sends his message of gratitude to Sir Anacleto Caringal for providing him with reading materials about their studies in Lobo as well as informative photographs of the town’s flora and fauna and its beautiful sceneries.]

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Love: A Back Trails Interlude

All love measures the universe in its own way, attending only for its own expectations, its own discoveries. All love is modified after itself: nothing precedes it; we learn nothing from it. When it dies, there is no point remembering it. It can’t be shared with anyone, or with the rest of our lives, or with future loves. It belongs neither to the past nor the future.

from “Distant Cousin” by Federico Vegas, translated by Lisa Dillman
Bomb’s Literary Supplement, p.16, 2010

[This post appears too in Viole(n)t Mugs |]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Back Trails at Ibaan, Batangas 2: Ibaan Church

* a view of the Ibaan church facade from the outside

* a closer look at the church’s entrance and towers

* a side entrance to the church premises

* the huge buttresses of the church and a cross design on one of the side doors

* one of the tall windows that deck the walls of the church

* a statue of St. John the Evangelist: patron of authors, burns, poisoning, theologians, publishers, booksellers, editors, friendships, and painters; found just outside the main entrance

Just like in other towns in the Philippines, the Church of Ibaan is found at the heart of the town, easily accessible to visitors and townsfolk alike. However, the present church that can be seen in the town was once a simple chapel built in the present-day Barangay of Matala in 1784. Sometime between 1784 and 1800, a convent was made, although the information I obtained was not clear; it was not specified if the convent was annexed to the chapel or was erected as a separate structure. In any case, a fire that raged in 1801 destroyed the convent.

* a close-up of one of the carving designs of the main door

* agua bendita holder and candle stand

* St. James wielding his sword while riding his comical horse

* one of the saint’s apparent enemies sprawled on the ground

Three years later (1804) Ibaan was organized into a town and later had its first church in 1817. Administration of the church was handled by Rev. Grijalbo, O.S.A. followed by the Bishop of Nueva Caceres [of Naga?]. The church that one can see in Ibaan (exempting perhaps some minor reconstructions within and without) was first constructed under the supervision of Manuel Diez Gonzales O.S.A. in 1854. Rev. Bruno Laredo O.S.A. oversaw its completion in 1869, a construction that spanned more than ten years. One cannot help but wonder – again – if forced labor was used for the creation of this place of worship. Later additions were done such as the [church] towers and the façade in 1876 supervised by Rev. Vicente Maril O.S.A.

* a smaller version of St. James found inside the baptistery

* the baptistery

* some of the items inside the baptistery

* this shot gives you an idea of the size of the church

* a closer look at the church’s retablo

* a ‘golden’ pulpit

I understand if the design, or technically the architecture, of the churches built during the Spanish period were derived from architecture influences of those who supervised their construction. Or perhaps simply because of personal preference. But the ‘overworked’ symmetry of the façade seems to me quite an eyesore. I don’t know but I just don’t like staring at it for a long time. But one of course, especially a chance reader, should not take that opinion as their own. For it would severely create a bias, and perhaps discouragement, to see what lies inside the church.

Again, as I have said many times in our tours, it is a treasure place.

* St. James Academy; a school adjacent to the Ibaan Church

* Trailer Pransis striking a pose

In the interior, one can see a profusion of images that depict St. James the Greater defeating what looked like his enemies. (As of this writing, I still have not read any text or information about this particular saint.) The baptistery, on the other hand, contains an interesting set of religious items and images that evoke an atmosphere of solemnity inside the room.

As for the church’s altar, it was noted that it was originally made of wood. This was renovated and refurnished using chestnut marble and blessed on March 5, 1972. The renovation was made possible by the pledges by Ibaanenses, as they call themselves, living there or working abroad.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Back Trails at Ibaan, Batangas 1

* a nice way to start a blog series about Ibaan: flowers; shot inside Paaralang Sentral ng Ibaan

* one huge colonial house; this one once housed a clinic

* the house’s side roof, gate, and door

* another look at the house; this place (it seems to me) is characterized by a rural feel

* a simple wooden house; found just beside the town plaza

One must pass through a number of rivers and streams and hilly terrains to reach the town of Ibaan in Batangas. This observation is true if you are coming from the town of Rosario or from Batangas City. This semi-seclusion gives the town a predominantly rural atmosphere despite having a number of establishments in the town proper.

* the United Church of Christ in Ibaan

* the church’s door and handle

* Señor Santiago Street where the Ibaan Municipal Library (Miguel Mercado Memorial Library) and some old houses are found

The streets in town are still narrow, a feature that can be traced back to the Spanish administration of such towns. Finding a bahay-na-bato is a prize already, seeing that most of it are non-existent in the town proper. As for Ibaan’s industry, online reading would tell us that the townsfolk are (or were?) adept in making kulambo or mosquito nets. However, I did not notice any stores which sell such products. The town also has its own political problems which I do not want to discuss here.

* Building 3 of the Paaralang Sentral ng Ibaan

* an engraving of the face of Don Lorenzo Ilustre

* I got curious of this tank found behind the Ibaan Central School and so I decided to take a photo of it

More than the mosquito nets, Ibaan would most likely be remembered by one of its illustrious sons: Don Lorenzo S. Ilustre. Don Lorenzo (born on August 8, 1866 in Ibaan) was a noted musical composer and conductor, having set danzas, kundimans, and instrumental melodies. He was later drafted as a military man both during the Philippine Revolution and Filipino-American War. After his war years, he opened a store in Batnagas which he named Ang Kaibigan. (It would be interesting, I think, to dig in about his reasons for using that name.) An online biography of his can be read here.

Aside from the remaining colonial houses, the town church is also another interesting find in Ibaan which will be the topic of my coming entry.

[How to go to Ibaan, Batangas: 1) From Manila, one can just board a bus bound for Lucena (buses can found along EDSA Cubao or at Gil Puyat LRT Station) and drop off at Sambat ng Candelaria (in Quezon). From there, wait until a Supreme Bus arrives bound for Batangas City. Board the bus and tell the conductor to drop you off at Ibaan. 2) Alternatively, you can start from Lipa City. Ride a jeepney bound for San Juan, Batangas and drop off at Rosario town proper. From there, wait for another jeepney, this time bound for either Batangas City or Ibaan, and board it. As of this writing, jeepney fare from Rosario town proper to Ibaan is 15 pesos.]

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Iglesia Filipina Indepediente (Aglipay) in Rosario, Batangas

* Iglesia Filipina Indepediente: Sa Diyos at sa Bayan – Bibliya, Agham, Kawanggawa, Kalayaan; notice the flag in this seal, it is as if they are at war

* the Aglipay church’s exterior

Tours and revisits definitely expand one’s knowledge of places and their past. This was true of a revisit to the town of Rosario, Batangas. Tucked just behind the municipal building, the church of the Iglesia Filipina Indepediente (IFI) turns out to be the oldest church in the town of Rosario. The church was founded on January 19, 1909 and was visited by none other than the Iglesia’s father himself: Gregorio L. Aglipay. (As a side note, I think it would be good to discuss Aglipay’s story here in Back Trails).

The church’s interior do not lack the features found also in Catholic churches – images, religious items, among other. One eye catcher inside, however, was the choice of colors for their altar, which seemed to me a bit brighter than the eye can handle. Also, I found it surprising to find a grave inside the church.* some of the images found inside

* views of the church on the inside

The church’s Adoration Chapel was donated by the Luansing Family to IFI. It was inaugurated and blessed by Rev. Fr. Christian Sage Rey and Rt. Rev. Rowel Arevalo on December 16, 2008.

It is good to realize that traces of our past, whether they have strong bearing to our history or do not, inspires a starting history enthusiast to go and explore many different places. I see that I still have a lot of things to learn as I go and visit places here in the country.