Angono Petroglyphs, the oldest work of art in the Philippines, are cave carvings found in the province of Rizal dated 3000 B.C. It was in 1965 when these cave carvings were discovered by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco when he lead a troop of boy scouts in the mountainside of Angono and Binangonan. The site is actually on the political jurisdiction of Binangonan. But it was named after Angono, a municipality 3.5 kilometers away, since it was Francisco’s hometown. To date, to recognize the two municipalities, the landmark is now officially known as the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs Site.
Not everyone knows that Luneta was not Dr. Jose Rizal’s original resting place. After he was executed on December 31, 1896, his body was brought to San Juan de Dios Hospital, then to his burial place, an unmarked grave at the farthest area of Paco Cemetery or what is now popularly known as Paco Park. His family found it difficult to trace Rizal’s grave, but was later located with the help of the caretaker. Rizal’s initials in reverse, RPJ, were then marked.
I’ve been to a lot of places that has significance to our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. There’s Rizal Park in Luneta, Rizal Shrine in Calamba, and Fort Santiago in Intramuros to name a few. But this destination gave me the most intimate experience of knowing him more – Dapitan.
On the 17th of July 1892, at seven in the evening, Rizal first set his foot on the shores of Sta. Cruz beach where he was exiled, accompanied by Captain Delgras and three artillery men. Guided by a farol de combate or a lantern, the group walked to the Casa Real which is almost a kilometer away from the landing site, where Pepe will stay.
Dapitan was designed as any other typical Spanish town plaza, the park at the center surrounded by the Casa Real or the Royal House that served as the seat of government and the St. James Church, where a relief map of Mindanao was built in front by Rizal himself. The cathedral is the most prominent structure in the city boasting its huge and centuries-old pillars and walls. On the left side near the main entrance facing the altar, a marker was installed declaring the spot as where Rizal stood every Sunday to hear the mass.
Standing tall and proud since 1615, St. Jerome Church or Iglesia de San Geronimo or simply Morong Church is one of the Spanish churches that the province of Rizal is very proud of. With its very unique façade, every visitor of this famed church will fall in love to it instantly.
While it being of neo-baroque architecture, influence of Chinese craftsmen who were part of the construction of this magnificent landmark is very evident. To name a few are the two lion sculptures in the church’s entrance and the octagonal shape of its bell tower.
Although I have not done my research yet if this is the only church in the country of this design, its bell tower also serves as its façade or main entrance to the church, directing to the aisle up to the altar. On top of the three-storey bell tower is a cross with its light glowing at night which also serves as a lighthouse for local fishermen in the nearby areas.