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Vandalism in Mount Batuláo!

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Now THIS is an OUTRAGE!

The vandalized boulder you see in the two photos above is not an ordinary boulder. It is one of those iconic boulders you encounter in Monte Batuláo’s breathtaking peak (Camp 10). Tapos ganitó, binaboy ng mg̃a tarantadong itó, masabi lang na nacaratíng silá sa taás ng Batuláo.

And who did this desecration two days ago? Thankfully, the idiots were stupid enough to leave more evidence of their environmental CRIME.

Click on their names below to get to their Facebook accounts:

1. Janet Páyad

2. Robert Paul Ador

3. Ermel Atendido

4. Eduard Palima

5. Erland Fajardo

6. Mark Anthony Abarracoso

7. Rocy Flores is one lucky scoundrel because I couldn’t find his (or her?) Facebook account.

To you who read this, I encourage you to send these filthy animals some “love”.

I’ve been to Batuláo’s peak only once and that was many years ago. Yet the  spellbinding beauty of its surroundings makes me feel as if I just climbed there yesterday. That’s how unforgettable the place is.

And now this?! I never thought that these bozos from View Park Hotel had the tendency to revert into cavemen-like behavior.

To the management of View Park Hotel: what do you intend to do about this? Because each time we pass by your place, or even just hearing your hotel’s name, we will always be reminded of this vandalized mountain boulder of majestic Monte Batuláo.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

Special thanks to my mountaineer cousin Paolo Raphael Balicao and his group for sharing these photos. May the protection of our mountains against brainless scums such as those from View Park Hotel be every mountaineer’s advocacy and responsibility.

Church ruins of Lumangbayan in Nasugbú, Batangas

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To many Metro Manileños, Nasugbú, Batangas is a place that is synonymous to family and barcada beach outings. The first time I was here was way back in college together with my neighborhood friends. And since then (until now), that is the only thing I know about Nasugbú: its famous beaches.

During our 12th-year anniversary at Muntíng Buhañgin Beach Camp, Inc., Násugbu, Batangas last year, 13 September 2011. Yep, that’s beach-addict Mrs. Alas.

The second time I visited it was last year, during me and my wife’s 12th-year anniversary last year (13 September). After a drizzly afternoon of swimming at picturesque Muntíng Buhañgin Beach Camp, we visited the old población, like what we usually do whenever we go out of town, to take pictures of ancestral houses and the center of activities in each Filipino town during the Spanish times: the town church.

We got a bit confused when we started asking around for the location of the town church, especially when we did see the towering structure of the town’s Saint Francis Xavier Parish Church.

Iglesia de San Francisco de Javier, Nasugbú, Batangas. Its interiors, albeit humble, is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

The tricycle driver whom we asked for directions insisted that it was not the town’s original church. I was starting to believe him, especially since the structure is indeed very modern. He led us to someplace else, outside the town proper. We had no idea what church was this guy talking about, nor where he was taking us. But we felt that we’re off to another adventure.

And I was right.

My wife (wearing orange) examining the ruins in Barrio 6, Lumangbayan.

Upon seeing the ruins, I felt a bit ashamed of myself. Here I am, parading myself as a passionate online history buff, but how come I haven’t even heard of this?! Fail.

Inside the structure.

Spanish-Filipino war? There was no war. Rebellion is the correct word.

I learned that the name of this church was Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Escalera or Our Lady of the Staircase (probably in reference to the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, Nuevo México, but I could be wrong). According to stories from the locals, this church was burned by the Spaniards at the height of the Katipunan rebellion (the so-called Philippine Revolution).

Huh? Something’s quite wrong with the picture.

The Spaniards burned their own structure? A structure they considered holy?

I began to realize that the site has become yet another perfect example of the notorious, malicious, and twisted leyenda negra.

This 19th-century church was said to have been destroyed during the skirmish between the Spanish troops and the Filipinos (Katipuneros). In the Nasugbú Tourism Quarterly (April-June 2000 issue), Francisco Villacrusis wrote that after imprisoning the townsfolk inside this church, the Spaniards burned it down, killing the people inside. But Villacrusis did not cite any reference. And his claim is preposterous. Here are my reasons:

1) The Spaniards, being devote Catholics, would never have done such an atrocity.
2) There were only a few Spaniards in the Philippines, from start (1565) to finish (1898). As a matter of fact, during that time, the only “white face” that one usually encounters in far-flung villages is that of the friar.
3) To the best of my knowledge, there was no other instance of “church-burning” that was instigated by the Spanish troops in other places in the country outside of Násugbu.

The only church-burner that I know of are the Katipuneros themselves. Andrés Bonifacio was a church-burner himself. As a matter of fact, he attempted to burn the church in nearby Indang in Cavite province. And he did considerable damage to the church.

In view of the foregoing, all accusing fingers should point to the Katipuneros, not the meager Spanish troops.

And many of these so-called “Spanish troops” were native Filipinos, by the way…

Click here to view the whole album.

Meanwhile, in my adoptive province of La Laguna, there’s another church left in ruins, and it’s in Calauan…

Iglesia de San Isidro Labrador y San Roque (1860-1925?), Calauan, La Laguna. Photographed by Ronald A. Yu during our visit there last weekend (18 August 2012).

But that’s another story (coming very soon!).

Happy 12th year anniversary, mi amor!

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At Muntíng Buhañgin Beach Camp, Inc., Násugbu, Batangas (9/13/2011).

It’s our twelfth year together! Funtabulous!

Happy 12th year anniversary, my love! I love you so much! :-)

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