Thursday, March 26, 2015

Maragondon Travel On Foot

The travel from Manila to Maragondon wasn't bad at all, the traffic flow was light and we arrived at the town proper just in time. Maragondon (muh-ruh-gon-don) is a municipality in Cavite, its name was derived from the tagalog word "madagundong" (prolonged loud noise) which sound comes from the rowdy river "Kay Albaran" and presently called Maragondon river. The town proper is accessible from the highway so walking is preferable to get around the place. We started our tour in the parish church, Nuestra SeƱora de la Asuncion (Roman Catholic), popularly known as Maragondon Church.

The only church in the province of Cavite declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure. After undergoing several renovations from 1630 it was finally completed in 1714. The narrow bell towers stands as buttress which supports the main building which was basically made from river rocks.

The church's faded door was carved elaborately with flowers, ships and castle which gave more emphasis on its design due to the building's simple architecture.

The interior of the church ceiling is supported by long, thick hard wood with biblical captions carved on each beams. The well-polished retablos are adorned with angels, leaves and columns. The stairs of the bell tower are partly dilapidated and the smell of bat manure emits an unpleasant odor, but all the discomforts went away as we saw the aerial viewpoint of the Maragondon River and the town proper.

There are also heritage houses in Marogondon as we walked around the town, there were those which are already in bad condition and needs total rehabilitation, and I wish the local government would pay attention on the situation.

The house of Emiliano Riego de Dios stands in one of the main streets of Maragondon, it is still in good condition, and at present the house is privately owned. Emiliano Riego de Dios was born in Maragondon, he is a member leader of "Katipunan", a revolutionary society during the Spanish regime in 1896. It is said to be one of the old structures in Maragondon, Cavite.

Another beautiful ancestral house in town is the Punzalan Ancestral house. I don't have much information about the house but it seems that it looks very impressive during the times when it was still on its finest. At present the house is privately owned, but you can still come and take pictures of it. Walking around the town is just like tracing past events which has a significance to our history.

The Bonifacio Trial House was on our list of houses to visit and we were so lucky enough to be allowed to come in because it was being painted and decorated at that time in preparation for Andres Bonifacio's birthday. This house was erected in 1889 by its owner Teodorico Reyes. The house where Andres Bonifacio the founder of Katipunan and his brother Procopio were court martialed. Despite the fact that there was not enough evidence they were found guilty of treason and sedition and were sentenced to death.

On the second level of the house is the life size diorama of the trial scene. Seated were
Gregoria de Jesus wife of Andres Bonifacio, Andres Bonifacio, and the Council of War who was assigned for the trial of the Bonifacio brothers. The house is a National Historial Landmark which should be preserved in aid of its historical value.

Paintings and artworks dedicated to Andres Bonifacio are displayed on the second level of the trial house. The museum is open from Tuesday until Sunday from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM, donations are accepted for the maintenance of the museum. We followed the trail going to the shrine and even though there is already a paved road going to the site we chose to go there passing through a forested area.

We walked through an alley just at the rear side of the church and crossed a hanging bridge over Maragondon river  that connects the town proper to a rural village of Pinagsanhan where people seems to enjoy simple living. The village is surrounded by huge and old bamboos, its pathways are not totally concreted.

We passed by a rice farm similar to rice terraces, although it is not that broad it still reminded me of the rice terraces in the Cordilleras.

And walked along a thickly bamboo populated area.

And crossed streams. I enjoyed walking and even challenged myself to walk on the line of rocks which serves as a bridge to the other side of the forest.

There is also a wide variety of wild flowers and plants around the area which made us stop and stay for a while. You know you will learn a lot of things just by walking and to think we were hiking in midday, the heat of the sun wasn't felt at all. We didn't even notice the number of minutes or hours we spent on hiking. And when we arrived at park which was at Mt. Nagpatong it was closed and nobody was there to assist us. But we didn't lose hope and waited for a while until we've done something which was not right just to get in because it began to rain so we look for a shelter, okay we barged in, and don't do that. By the way there is a 20 pesos entrance fee in the shrine.

The Andres Bonifacio Shrine and Eco Park is a historical landmark and situated in the forest of Mt. Nagpatong, the site where the Bonifacio brothers were executed. According to history the wife of Andres Bonifacio, Gregoria wasn't informed about the execution and as to the location, and so she wandered around this forested area for a long time seeking for her husband. Can you imagine how it was like a long time ago when there wasn't any trail or landmarks, you'll probably get lost then which exactly what happened to Gregoria de Jesus.

A 12-foot bronze statue of Andres Bonifacio and his brother was erected in a three-hectare land, which can be a hiking and camping destination, but the place has been neglected and needed a lot of maintenance. There are so much things to do in this place because of its location. Some tourists do hiking in the mountains nearby, you can do bird watching, photo shooting, nature tripping, you won't get bored.

On the other side of the semi-circular monument is a marble wall with the sculpture of the Filipino revolution against the Spaniards. Unfortunately some bronze were stolen and was replaced with another material, there are still people who are so insensitive and lacks knowledge on how significant this monument is.

And at the center of the monument is the original marker where the Bonifacio brothers were executed on May 10,1897.  It was only the trapezoid shaped marker that was erected before the shrine was constructed on this site so nobody will ever notice, so I commend the local government for the effort of putting up a monument like this to commemorate our national heroes but my recommendation is to put some more effort in maintaining the park to attract more tourists.

The park has a landscaped garden and a function hall where people can hold events, rest or eat, but the problem is that the building is starting to deteriorate, it even has a swimming pool but it isn't functional due to lack of water supply.

Maragondon is an upland town in Cavite and is the biggest among the other towns in the province. And because of its location, they are favored with almost all blessings of the physical world. Beaches, forests, rivers, furthermore the town is prominent with historic heritage. And I hope the local government of Maragondon would do all the necessary actions in maintaining this remarkable natural and historical sites to make this places more appealing.

What to do in Maragondon, Cavite?
1. Heritage walk in the town proper.
2. Nature tripping and trekking at Mt. Pico de Loro, Mt. Marami, Mt. Nagpatong and Mt. Buntis.
3. You can swim in the beaches of Sta. Mercedes.
4. Island hopping in Carabao Island and Limbones Island.
5. If you planning to hold events in Bonifacio Shrine you can contact the municipal tourism office in this link

How to get there?
1. If you are commuting from Manila, take a bus from Coast Mall bus terminal bound for Ternate or Maragondon. The bus will stop at the town proper and you can start walking.
2. When you get to Maragondon, just ask the locals as to where find the historical sites or better go to the municipal hall and ask the tourism officer for assistance.
3. If you're driving a private vehicle, take Cavitex and follow the road signs going to the Ternate.
4. There are eateries in Barangay Pagsanhan, in case you want to eat or better bring your own food and have a picnic at the shrine..
5. Wear comfortable footwear, umbrella or hat.

Thank you for reading.
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