Saturday, August 27, 2005

Old Places

Finally had the chance to stop at these really ancient looking "towers" that I'd spied only once before while on a bus on my way back home several months ago. These two are right next to the highway and partially covered with trees and vegetation so you had to be practically upon them to be able to see them. They were at a place appropriately named "Daan Lungsod" in Oslob, a few hundred meters north of the elementary school there. It has a modern chapel in the enclosure, but the people there assure us the wall extends far to the back and that there are more towers there, too. Maybe I should've included a photo of how big the enclosure looks from the entrance which has - no surprise there - no gates.

As I stood in front of the chapel looking through the entrance, over the highway, in between some houses, past the beach and out to sea , I imagined I could see vintas there and believe it or not, a shiver literally went down my spine. Those slaving raids must have been truly scary for the people to have put in so much effort into building these walls and towers hundreds of years ago when even now, you can see most of the houses around it are made of light materials.

This is the Bonpua House, a museum in the town of Oslob, and one of those interesting places the bus doesn't go past. We wouldn't even have found it if Jong hadn't made a wrong turn! Very colorful and covered with so many signs warning trespassers they'd be shot, and warning against picture-taking, the most discouraging thing about it is that they don't let in kids younger than high school-age (their definition). I'm glad there was no need for us to toss a coin or something to see who'd go in because it was 8 o'clock, we were all hungry, and the museum didn't open till 9.

Another beautiful old place hidden away from the eyes of bus-riding passengers, the Argao church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel ( you know, I'm making this up. I'm not sure about this but I remember there was a statue of what looked like a man in a short, paneled skirt wielding a sword and with something that vaguely resembled wings behind him, and I'm guessing it's a fierce angel and ... that's on a beer bottle, right?) is on one side of a fenced plaza which, ironically, you can drive thru! Right across it are new buildings made to look old - think bahay na bato - in keeping with the church's look. Sigh, it might have been temporary but the space in between looked cluttered with metal structures today.


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