Monday, January 08, 2007

...and again in Santa
after visiting Vigan.
02 December, 2006

Written in: Poblacion, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, PHILIPPINES
Composition: Impromptu
Previous Post: Vigan in the Afternoon

I returned my Grandparents' house to see that my Tito Boy's wife, Tita Tess, and their youngest son, Jared, had arrived by Bus.

Later in the afternoon, Uncle Heling took me to Santa's Parish Church to settle some things for the upcoming funeral service.

Having just come from Vigan, you'd think that I wouldn't be as impressed with downtown Santa, Ilocos Sur. While Calle Crisologo in Vigan is restored and preserved to Heritage preservation standards, downtown Santa is a mish mash of old and new.

Of this blending of old and new, there is no better example than Santa's Parish Church.

This church probably dates from as far back as Santa's settlement. From its basic architechture of utilizing massive arched columns, it is very apparent that the foundations are at least hundreds of years old.

Yet the exterior and the interior were finished in modern masonary concrete and coloured with perhaps the latest and greatest of latex enamels. As well, the overpowering Ten Commandments adorning the entrance (written in the Ilocano dialect), and the external bell tower were obviously finished and cast in concrete.

Although at least the bells were preserved.

Ivan Henares would be aghast at this travesty.

And I agree - if I could have seen Santa's Parish Church in full Colonial era glory, I probably would have more appreciation for it. If I were to see it in its natural-pre modernized beauty, I might like it more.
But at the same time I felt this: That things in downtown Santa look the way they do without any concessions to preservation. If somehow some things, to this day, look like they did from centuries ago, it is because they have endured even the demands for progress. And in a way, I appreciated the things I saw more. Moreso than Vigan? Perhaps. Dont' get me wrong, I really liked my first visit to Vigan in a decade, but seeing Santa made me realize certain things I didn't notice when I was walking down Calle Crisologo.

In Vigan, the Calesas (horse drawn carriages) invite you on a tour to the year 1521 for a fee. But almost all the establishments you pass are souvenir shops tended by very eager sales people inviting you to come in and have a look. And outside the preserved streets, Vigan hustled and bustled towards modernization like any other city.

Contrivances and Simulations that approximate the past in order to attract tourism somehow left a bland aftertaste to my Vigan visit - and a much deeper appreciation once again for my Mom's hometown.

Related Flickr Photos
Related Flickr Photos 2
Related Flickr Photos 3

Next Post: An Impromptu Reunion at a Funeral


Blogger ivanhenares said...

Hmmmmm, another priest thinks he owns the thing. How bad are the interiors?

3:48 AM  
Blogger StrayDog said...

Interiors? Smooth featureless masonary concrete painted in the same exterior colour.

And the flooring, from what I could discern, is probably post second world war tiling

Anywho, in this post, it sounded as if I were not appreciating the kind of work you do - helping preserve heritage churches and structures. In fact, I now have more appreciation for authentic (or restoration in the spirit of the authentic) period-correct churches. Since the time of this original post, I have been to Lucban church in Quezon, Malate Church, Intramuros, Baclayon in Bohol... all those wonderful places.. and I must say, those were breathtaking buildings.

...I just haven't gotten around to doing a full writeup about them.

Anyway, it is the 6th of April as I write this. I am leaving for Canada on the 14th. It's a little unfortunate that I would be unable to meet you personally.

In any case, perhaps some other time. I have decided in my mind that I HAVE to come back to this country for more visits. I have seen but a tiny sampling of what it has to offer. I want to see more.

Sige pare ko. Salamat!

Randy aka adogcalledstray

5:13 PM  

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