Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sidetrip: Jimenez, Misamis Occidental

Three blog entries earlier, I said I wrote and bolded the town of Jimenez on my list, right? So here I was, visiting a town I only heard of earlier in the day. I think this should be on the tourists’ map – even if only for their church. This town is at the center of the province’s history anyway. Ah, as you probably deduce, I took the aircon bus from Oroquieta to Ozamiz and got off at the town of Jimenez.

Upon arrival of the bus at the Jimenez integrated bus and jeep terminal I immediately asked if the church and the municipal hall were within walking distance. Everyone said no! So I looked around for a ride going there. Grabe! A sea of habal-habals, pedicabs and tricycles were within whistling distance. It was like the whole market across the terminal was adorned with those vehicles. Add to that some private motorbikes, cars and police vehicles. Aliw! So I hopped on a tricycle towards the “plaza” where the church and the munisipyo are located.

The Church compound
‘Catholic Parish of Saint John the Baptist’ so says the markings at the gate before I enter that big big big frontage of a nice green grassy lawn that one must cross to get to the church. From this gate by the street, the church looks small due to some kind of optical illusion – what with the distance and the wide frontage of the church! This is one such big church compound that after the grassy garden, there is a wide concrete area for vehicles to park and people go up some 8 steps to a lanai-like area before walking to the main door of the church! Whew! But it was closed. Ack! So Oroquieta, you are not alone hehe, this one in Jimenez is also closed on a Sunday afternoon!

Anyway, I was not to be easily turned off. Looking at this church from the outside tells me that it must be very old. And the walls invited my curiosity. I kept asking in my head, “why is this church here, why is it not in Ozamiz or Oroquieta?”. And I liked it that it seems this church fa├žade (at least) had been fortunate to having priests who are not atrevida by supposedly sprucing up its original beauty. They left most of the limestone blocks be. The sides though seem to have been topped with concrete probably to stop further deterioration.

The separate bell tower is enormous and towering, and yes, just looking at it, I am sure it still is serving its real purpose and I see bells still hanging up there. Oh how I itched to see the inside of this church! Saw a man passing by (part of the church grounds is made like a short-cut path of the locals instead of circling around the big compound) and I asked if there was a mass service soon for the church to be opened. He said he was not sure but I could go to the parish office and ask people in charge to let me in. No I did not want to do that.

I went to back of the church where the parish office and convent is located. No I did not mean to ask them to open the church up for me hehe. I just wanted to take a closer look of that “bigasan ng parokya” signange. So I went straight to that window hoping to be able to peep at some rice supplies being sold. But alas, I saw inside that the employees (don’t worry am sure they were not nuns and priests) were busy practicing a modern dance to the tune of a very modern pop tune! But so what if we saw them sisters and fathers dancing nobody-nobody hehe, am sure many of them can! A woman came to ask if I needed anything and I said no, just looking around. This convent (where the bigasan is just one corner of ground floor) is actually a big big old house. Nice of them to have retained the original look even if the lower portion has been cemented, probably to replace decaying wood. This must have been a big and beautiful house in its time.

Now there’s something that caught my wide-eyed attention. Near the window of the “bigasan ng parokya” amidst real trash, some leaves and branches recently pruned from trees (also trash) was a lowly grand old big church bell sitting in oblivion. Whoa! Was that supposed to be for the garbage men to pick and throw away? I doubt for that would require probably a crane to lift! I doubt if even 5 burly men can easily lift it! Its big! It’s a broken/cracked ancient bell, definitely a museum piece, but now just sitting idly under the elements and near where rubbish are. It stands to almost the height of my pelvis so it probably is 3-feet tall or more. Its more than a hundred years old!

Then I saw something I did not like and I wanted to scream if screaming could at least stop it. There is a big board that displays a lay-out of their perimeter fence project with the names of donors and the panels on that fence that they have sponsored. Fine and great. But what I did not like was/is that proposed parking lot. OMG, they’re going to convert the big grassy areas into car parking lots. AND this is what I wanted to scream about. My writing this will probably be too late to stop that, but I hope San Juan Bautista will make miracles happen.

This calls for my usual discourse (a.k.a. rants) hoping somebody from that town may perchance come across this blog. Is a car park really needed? How many times ever in a week do people need to park cars in that front yard of the church? How many cars ever do come altogether for a church service? The green grass is not only beautiful, I saw kids playing in there and oh dear earth will become warmer some more care of a parish converting a grassy green to probably a concrete or gravel parking lot. Imagine, from a Monday to a Saturday, that parking lot is idly doing nothing but reflect heat and spread it all over town, just because some bigshots need to park their cars for a Sunday service.

In fact, does one really need to ride a car from his home wherever in Jimenez to get to church and attend mass? Sus naman, its not as if one lives in Neopolitan and attends church in Sto. Domingo! The town is not that wide and definitely not polluted for any resident to say they must ride in their cars to church. A trike ride would be enough. Rich people of Jimenez, c’mon, tagaig pahuway inyong mga sakyanan oi! Don’t use them going to church! And actually, as if this place is in a busy highway that must ensure smooth flow of traffic! Sus, this church is situated on a quiet side of town faaar from the highway and their public market. But I smell something… probably someone seated at an office across the basketball court and the proposed parking area is influencing the priest to convert said field into a parking area so that they can use it from Monday to Friday. Hmmm, church and state… hellooo?!

Jimenez Municipal Hall
Well, this is a building sitting across the basketball court and the proposed parking area. Jimenez town’s municipal hall feels like a little shack by the side of the church yard. The munisipyo is actually big and two levels, but it is at a bit lower elevation than the big big church that dwarfs it. So it looks small. It has a nice garden on the side and just about a dozen parking slots on the street front of it. Hmm, dili kaha sila ang nanginahanglan anang parking lot? Asuu! I still maintain the church should stop that proposed parking area in front of the church. It is part of the character of that old church, it is a play area of their children and their children’s children. And it makes the place cool. Sana man lang kasing-urabnized ng Ozamiz ang Jimenez for me to believe that a parking lot is needed by their church. Hmp, ipagdasal nalang!

Oh well, I learned a lot here, and as I said earlier, I even only heard of the town earlier in the day! Moving out and away from the church, I saw that this town still retains many of the old houses from the era of our grandfathers or even earlier. Many of them still look good! And I wanted to see more. But had to go back to the terminal and catch another ride to MOAP. That trike ride however afforded me more views of those old houses, some well maintained, others screaming for attention, and all must be very good subjects for the shutterbugs!

1 comment :

  1. My beautiful hometown; am going back there someday...