Going back in time is such a reminisce of the sweet “olden days.” The past in which we can only gaze upon at but cannot feel or mingled with. My adventures started back in high school in our quiet town of San Miguel, Bulacan in the Philippines . Our town is a living history itself. Famous in our history as the hideout of the Katipuneros (Revolutionaries) during the Philippine Revolution; the village of “Biak na Bato” the place meaning Rock cut in half. Because it is situated at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains where a river flows in between. It was the perfect place for anyone who wanted to hide, its far from the main town which is about 12 kilometers. On this particular site the revolutionaries under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo and the kingdom of Spain made a truce to end the Philippine Revolution. I will be discussing more of it on my future posts. Anyway, back to my narrative.
The house on the left is my grandparents home in San Miguel. Built in 1910 during the American period it had gone through several architectural changes through time. But even though no important significance occurred in this house that affect the course of our history, I can say the event which happened within its grounds affect our family. Its consider to be an intimate yet tragic part of our family heritage. Long before the house was built stood a kamalig or rice granary which used to be where the Looban or Pulong Diablo is.
The land is owned by the Veneracion clan, a distant relative of ours. During the Filipino-American War around 1900 my great-great grandfather Cirilo Valisno y Villacorte and his wife Angelita Santos y Veneracion with their children which include my great grandmother Anastacia hid in the rice granary for shelter against the ongoing shelling. The war was raging on during that time as Filipino soldiers using guerrilla tactics retreated northwards to the mountains of Cordillera. Cirilo and Angelita had a bahay na bato that once stood beside the Philippine National Highway. But they’re house just like any other houses during the Spanish Era where made of wood and pawid so it was useless for cover. They evacuate to the kamalig with their children and few belonging. Anastacia was only 4 years old during that time. Unfortunately, as they hid and wait for the firing and chaos to stop a stray bullet hit Angelita, while she was breastfeeding her youngest child. The young Anastacia thought her mother was only sleeping until later on, when they realized she was dead. The infant child will soon follow Angelita a month or two later due to the lack of nutritious milk.
Back to the present time in 2004, on that same window on the left is where I can remember my passion for taking pictures of old buildings started or take flight. I was in high school then and in the early morning of October 2004, I asked my grandfather if I could bike around town to take some pictures. It was only 6:30 and my school doesn’t start till 8am and fewer tricycles where on the road. He was sitting there on that spot as he read his Philippine Daily Inquirer while myy grandma is busy watching the morning news Unang Hirit. Our katulong Aling Thalia was in the kitchen busy cooking breakfast. Digital cameras where still unheard of during that time and fortunately my father bought me one. Reluctantly, my grandpa agreed due to the fact the danger of using the camera on the streets but somehow I managed to convince him and so my collection of pictures of old houses begun.