Saturday, December 5, 2009

Valencia Town Center

My Negros Oriental Tour: Municipality of Valencia
The skies brightened up a bit and I was thankful, as I was high up in the hills at the town of Valencia. Am sure it would have been chilly up there with rain and wind hehe! Hmm, the air in this town would remind you of Baguio – the more hinter parts, that is, like Tam-awan or even La Trinidad. Nah, its not very much like Tagaytay as that city is just cool but generally dry. In Valencia, aside from I was there on a rainy day hehe, you get the feel that it is really still foresty. I like this town. And its just near to bustling Dumaguete! How near? SM Fairview to UP Diliman is even longer by 2kms! See?!

The plaza/park was first in my roaming list as it is just a bit above the public market where the jeep stops. This grassy park and playing field (probably equivalent to two football fields) is nicely surrounded by huge trees. The municipal hall, a catholic school and the church are all perched on a street above the greens but they are not clear to view from across the field (side of the public market) because of the tall trees. Well, I will not complain. Those trees just make this center of town real cool. Yep, at one point there, I thought I was in Abanao Square hehe. O hey, the field is probably as big as Burnham Park, sans the water rides, flower gardens etc.

Passing by a foreign couple enjoying the views too, I went up to the church façade and looked at it up close. Hmm, I could read the BIG “Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish” atop the main entrance. Is it really necessary to install such a big big signage on a church?! What for and why for, aber? Anyway, its nicely done worthy of anyone’s attention as it is definitely bigger than signages of many malls and department stores in this country hehe! There is a “1961” at the apex of the roof but nothing in this façade would indicate to anyone about that year. Look at the picture and ask what part looks 1961 to you. That only means this church is rich with donations so it has the funds to renovate!

Why do I tend to look for antique or ancient views when I see churches? Why do I seem to be not very impressed when I see new churches? Has something I have been reading or encountering influenced my points of view? Why couldn’t I exclaim my ohs and ahs when I am in front of new or newly refurbished churches? Hmm, I will examine myself more on that later. But for now, let’s talk about this one.

The big wooden main entrance was closed, so I headed right to check if a side entrance may be open. Ack! Side doors were closed too. But I was in a beautiful new garden, so I lingered a while. This is the portion that connects the church to their convent. Nicely done and very well maintained I must say. There is San Lorenzo Ruiz and there is St. Ezekiel Moreno (who is that? hehe). There is the usual “tauran” where people light their candles and even further onwards are other saints. Hmm, I could see that on the other side of this church, all doors were open. Then again, you will need to enter the premises of that private catholic school to be able to enter the church. So I did not make any more fuss lest I encounter so many questions and unwanted attention. Just stuck my camerra on one window grill for a shot of the church interiors. Yes, everything inside also looks new or newly refurbished. Then I walked towards the municipal hall.

Ah, Valencia’s town hall does not look anything great. It’s a fairly new small building from up front but I could see that there is more towards the back where other buildings are situated. It naturally has a wide concrete frontage that serves the same 3 things as in other municipal halls in this country – 1) parking lot, 2) sports area, and 3) “bayang magiliw” hehe! Though I must admit, their municipal hall is dwarfed in terms of a visitor’s attention by both the church and the catholic school (San Pedro Academy). Well hey, for the first time visitor, that San Pedro Academy would look like it was their municipal hall viewed from down below at the park or the public market. It has a more prominent and more commanding presence than the real municipal hall!

But the park is one joy to see from up at the municipal hall area. On a corner, there is a ‘working’ fountain. I asked a passerby if it was the ‘ancient’ fountain made by a friar fed by naturally cascading water from the highlands. She said no and did not say much but pointed to the old fountain (with her lips) indicating the direction of the bandstand in the middle of the park. Well, I understood that hehe! That’s down there near the children’s play area.

While the sound of trickling water at the ‘new’ fountain soothes the mind, it is also a wonderful place to watch. Why? It is a watering hole… yes ‘tambayan’ of a troop of pigeons! They live nearby at some bird houses perched on the big trees, built probably by the town officials. Though they’re not as at ease with people as would their cousins be at Plaza De La Virgen in Valencia, Spain from which this town takes its name, some of the birds remained at the top tier of the fountain when I went near. They eventually flew out to their birdhouse but some would come back to either drink or bathe in the fountain. Wonderful!

Going back down to the level of the public market, I realized that across it is another school. Its an elementary school called Valencia Central School. The street that separates it from the market has a glass-and-cement encased marker telling that it was named “Recoletos Street” in recognition of the Augustinian Recollects who had been in this town for 152 years (1854 to 2006). Wow, but I do wonder why they stopped in 2006 hehe! Have they had enough of this town? Did the Jesuits win over them? What?! So they don't like Valencia anymore and better concentrate their vocation elsewhere? I wonder. Hey, that reminds me... I once got to talk with a religious expert who told me that "Augustinians" are different from "OAR" or the "recollects". What gives? Sorry, this is a religious country, yes, but I was public schooled all my life, so I don't know about those groupings. I just know that Augustinians wear brown and Jesuits white (or is it gray) hehe! Whatever!

So that is center of town… public market and central school divided by recoletos street face up to the park… and park face up to the convent, church, San Pedro Academy and municipal hall! Elsewhere are old houses and new houses. Hah, many of the new abodes starting to crop up are owned by inter-racial married couples. Hmm watch-out, in a few years this town will probably have a lot of “tisoys” and "tisays” walking around! A, they're not unique, for in fact that is very common to all towns of Negros Oriental. So far, all towns I have visited have foreign residents – already!

Alright, let’s move up the mountains!

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

1 comment :

  1. I enjoyed reading your musings about Valencia. My wife and I visited there in Oct. of 2015. We are actually looking to retire in the area, although the prices are getting out of hand a bit. Would love to know more of your comments about new churches (I don't like most of them either). We visited about eight churches in Macau, wonderful old Portuguese architecture, still retaining the beauty and splendor, quiet air that a church should possess. My wife grew up on Palawan and Luzon, while I am from the U.S. We fell in love with Negros Oriental.