Saturday, April 5, 2008

Historic Butuan and Magallanes

I think it was in my fifth grade, in our HEOKASI subject (Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika) that we took up the balangay lessons. The balangays (balanghai as called by Pigafetta) were wooden plank-build and edge-pegged boats that were used by early Mindanao settlers long before the Spanish conquerors set foot on Philippine soils. There were 9 of it discovered in Butuan City and the oldest is believed to date back to 320 AD. The balangay if you still don’t know is where the barangay, Philippines’ basic political unit, came about. These balangays were also called Butuan boats.

I really don’t see the actual graveyard of the balangay (in Libertad) and Butuan museum because it was already Sunday that we arrived here and these sites were closed, but the above long introduction was for a friend who argued why the title ‘historic’ when all places has histories. I understand his point but Butuan and other neighboring towns have tangible evidences of early inhabitants through discovered artifacts. Now I realize that it is not just historic, ‘the-320-AD discovery” is prehistoric and it would aptly be retitled as “Prehistoric Butuan and Magallanes”


Butuan is the last leg of my 5 day trip. It was originally Surigao but due to time constraints, we cancelled the schedule. But another Surigao trip is in the works, my colleagues in Panabo are planning to go to Surigao this month and I will be blogging my lobster and kuratsa meal by then.

A passenger crossing the makeshift bridge of a ferry docked along Agusan river. Agusan river, according to wikipedia, is The river rises east of Tagum and runs due north for 400 kilometers through Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte provinces. It enters the Bohol Sea at Butuan. It is the longest river in Mindanao.”
    Copy_of_butuan_sea_port  Copy_of_butuans_magsaysay_bridge 
Me waiting at Butuan ferry terminal  for a ferry that would lead us to Magallanes. The bridge at my back is the Magsaysay bridge ( also right).
Copy_of_ang_tore Copy_of_ship_like_monument

At the magallanes marker. A monument resembling a part of a ship, commemorating the arrival of spanish explorers in
Mindanao. It was in Magallanes where the first Catholic Church in  Mindanao was erected and blessed. To my dismay, like any other markers and public parks and monuments, we seemed to forget its historic retrospective importance. See the picture below, rubbish are scattered all over the monument and the yellow stuff on the ledge is a cap of popular intoxicating liquor.


We paid visit to Magallanes church, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which I find peculiar because I expected a baroque architecture but was presented with the common modern church design. I cannot asked anybody to confirm if this is the original church of the town because the mass was long over and no one was left to answer my query.


Nuestra Señora del Rosario church and a tablet statement in spanish (see for your self if you can translate this).


Entrance gate of Jaka’s Emi match factory located at the center of Magallanes town. My companion friend, on his usual radical stand, commented that Magallanes is a typical town in the Philippines where even the presence of big factories was slow on development. I wonder how this industry fared with the popularity of lighters in ordinary Filipino living.


The Centennial tree, still located in Magallanes, is estimated to be approximately 500 years old with a total of 290 centimeters in diameter. The tree is locally called bitaog. That’s me hugging the tree at the right picture, to show how huge this tree is. The bitaog is recently featured in Jessica Soho’s show, in which its fruit is used as the casing of the Northern tagalong’s sundot kulangot. To what that is, find it out for yourself.


A day before we visited the site, a forward truck almost crashed the centennial tree. It only hit the marker, damaging the DENR declaration and the information of the golden tree. We learned from the locals that no one died from the accident even if the front seat of the vehicle was totally wrecked.


The centennial tree from afar (taken aboard a trike). After I took this photo, believe me, my digital camera malfunctioned. It hanged up (the term used in computers). I cannot scroll on photos no matter how hard I push the buttons. It can't even turn-off. I grow ghost bumps. I just fell silent and decided to pull the battery out to switch off the unit, hoping that all the pictures will not be deleted. When I turned the cam on, the photos were intact, thanks God. FYI, this is the first time that it happened and I don’t know what went wrong.

Well, an unusual stuff to end my 5-day trip and this post entry.

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