Municipality of Camiling, Tarlac, Philippines
Note: This is a part of my June 5 – 6, 2016 Alaminos City-Bolinao-Camiling Tour which includes: Hundred Islands, Saint Joseph Cathedral Parish Church, Alaminos City Hall and Colegio San Jose de Alaminos, Cape Bolinao Lighthouse, Patar Beach, Giant Taklobo Resto Grill and Resort Cottages.
Camiling is a first-class urban municipality of the province of Tarlac in the Philippines. Camiling is one of the fastest-growing towns of Tarlac when it comes to income and economy. It is also considered as the richest when it comes to cultural heritage in the entire province. The town is also dubbed to be the Old Lady in the Northwestern province of Tarlac because it is one of the oldest municipality created by the Spanish government under the province of Pangasinan where it previously included the former barrio of Mayantoc, San Clemente and Sta. Ignacia. The municipality also features cultural antiquity as seen in its churches and ancestral houses. The town also features magnificent ruins. (Wikipedia)
It has been my habit not to sleep during a trip because I knew that anytime something amazing scenery will unfold to my eyes in a rush. I always keep on holding my camera to capture these moments. Indeed, nothings escapes Benedict Mary.
The reason why we had a stopover in Camiling was because were not able to buy pasabulong like dried fish, fresh bangus (milkfish) and a few delicacies. In cases like this, I am so alert in scouting for the best spot to visit since I have limited time. It was my first time to be in Camiling and I had no idea which spot to visit then.
Fortunately, there was one sight that struck my attention and it was the ruins of the old Saint Michael The Archangel Parish Church which is just opposite to Camiling Public Market. I was so intrigue as to why this church has been abandoned with the other new church built just at the back of it.
I was in a rush to know why this church was already in ruins. So, I had to ask a colleague of mine who is from Camiling in the name of Mrs. Eleanor Baldonado Tejada and this what she said, "The old 18-century built Roman Catholic Church of Saint Michael Archangel was razed by fire in 1997 but prior to that it was already declared by the National Historic Commission as a historic site and was considered then as the oldest religious structure built in the province of Tarlac. St.Michael, is the patron saint of Camiling and is considered to be miraculous wayback during the Philippine-Japanese war."
Equipped with an adrenaline rush, I ran towards the rear end of the public market and turned left to a gasoline station just to be in the new Saint Michael The Archangel Parish Church. I was extremely astonished to see its exceptionally designed facade. The architectural design was modern yet it showcases an icon of what a Roman church has to look like.
I looked then for a door opening for me to enter the church but that day was Monday and the church was closed. So, I contented myself of just checking what is in store for me and maximized it. At the right side of the main door was low stair cases with an open gate leading inside the church open grounds. With nobody to ask with, I obliged myself to get inside and had an ocular inspection.
While inside the church's grounds, I noticed that the other side of the burned ruins of the old church can be viewed much better with no obstruction. I was suppose to walk towards it but a dog ran towards me. I was scared of rabies and so I almost run with fear just to get rid from the dog. But hey!!! I remember that dogs chase people who run away. And so, what I did was to talk to the dog as if I was talking to a man calmly and in such a low voice with these utterances: "Baby, I am here for this holy ground. Well, can you accompany me to the ruins, please." Surprisingly, the dog with big round eyes looked at me and even came close to lick my legs. I was in short pants then. And so, the male dog just took advantage of my exposed skin. But anyway, we walked together heading to the old church.
It was a long walk for me with the leg-skin-leaking dog where we passed through a brick-made Adoration chapel and before turning left we have to pass through the ruins of a Spanish style school which is created for sanctification like the St. Michael Parish Church Garden and the St. Michael Meditation Sanctuary.
Being inside the ruins of the old church is a moment I can't describe. I was creating scenarios of how the church was then before it was razed by fire. It must have been a very solemn place being a venue of high masses during big church celebrations like Pontifical masses.
Roaming around the backyard of the church is a revelation that indeed the place was once a busy school annexed to the church that of the old church ruins.
There was so much space at the backyard of the church as the ruins of the Spanish style school extends to the left wing of the new parish church. Part of this rehabilitated space was the meditation garden which then a part of the school ruins.
To avoid the company of the dog, I decided to have my exit at the other side which is on the left wing of the church which is an open parking space.
Thinking I had spent much time, I ran again and looked for the service bus we were boarding. I walked across a municipal park and saw that our bus was parked almost opposite to the ancestral house of Maria Clara, one of the women linked to the famous national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Again, it was closed and I have to climb halfway to the high fence just to capture of what was inside. On the gate was posted with these notice: For reservation, contact Mr. Marvin Catapang at: 0943-700-1081; 0915-758-3471; and 0915-801-2991.
When I went back to our bus, I found out that still few others of my companions were still not around since they were busy buying some pasalubong stuff. So, I decided to stay in the municipal park and happened to talk to local tourism staff and he showed me a brochure which he did not give me a copy. I noted three of them and one was mountaineers' favorite, the 685-meter Mount Damas in San Clemente which is already a part of Zambales Mountain Range. I got interested of this because I am also a mountaineer.
Secondly, was the Ubod Water Falls which according to my cyber search was a 160-foot waterfalls in Mt. Damas in Papaac. Considered as the highest falls in the entire province of Tarlac. It is located deep in the wilderness of Barangay Papaac.
Thirdly, the Si-El Falls which I noticed that these three can be enjoyed if one opts to scale Mount Damas. In my search, I discovered that when one is at the summit of Mount Damas, the San Jose Circuit – Mt. Bungkol Baka, Mt. Tangisan and Mt. Kawayan can be viewed from it. Fortunately, I already scaled Mount Bungkol Baka.
HOW TO GO THERE
Take a Five Star bus liner bound to Bolinao/Alaminos/Anda/Agno/San Carlos via Camiling and drop at the market in Camiling and use this updated Fare Matrix for your guide through its Hotline number at 09277124349.
|Regular Airconditioned Fare from Cubao to Camiling||Regular Airconditioned Fare from Pasay to Camiling||Airconditioned 20% Discounted Fare for Senior Citizens, PWD and Students from Cubao to Camiling||Airconditioned 20% Discounted Fare for Senior Citizens, PWD and Students from Pasay to Camiling|