Now here include not only the heritage houses and all houses that represent a given period in the architectural development of the town and perhaps the country but especially the houses with real historical bearing to the town—be it for itself or for its owner. The house where Leon Kilat was assassinated is perhaps the most historical house in the town. And the family home of Archbishop Teofilo Camomot is historical for the person. Along with the Camomot house, I would also include the master painter Martino Abellana ‘s house as a heritage site of Carcar. If they’d be opened to the public people would go there with a definite purpose, almost as if on pilgrimage.
The oldest structures we have meanwhile—the 3 Bs watchtowers (Bantayan, Bas, Bacsiji) and the Daanglungsod church ruins. Whatever had been left of the old church ruins have unfortunately been carted away by some unscrupulous—let us say unknowing—townspeople for their own insignificant and unremarkable use. What a waste of history by pseudo-antiquarians. What do the stones of Stonehenge matter were they carted away to London, for example, so more people can view them? The people who built the monumental work chose the place for a definite purpose, and the structure goes with the site.
In 29-June-2010, Fr. Ambeth Ocampo, Chairman of the National Heritage Commission himself unveiled markers for 4 heritages houses of Carcar. The houses are where the Carcar Heritage Conservation Society has been at its most assiduous, and yet the attendance to the affair brought a stark reminder that all stakeholders should as much as possible be brought in to any heritage undertaking.
The Roman Sarmiento House photos show only the Valencia family and their friends. No Sarmiento, Cacafranca, Alegarbes, Urgello who are of the family, too. The Noel House had only two or three grandchildren of Manuel Noel. The Vicente, Mariano, Mateo, and Maximino branches should have been invited, and if they were, they should have come. The Silva House, which many think should have been additionally named the del Corro, showed only the children of Dr. Nemesio Silva. If the other Silvas were not there, so much more for the del Corros. For the Mercado House should also have stood witness the Mercado-Zosa families of Cebu City, and the Gutierrez of Ocaña, grandnephews of Mariano Mercado. And the Camotes family of Carcar, that of Catalina’s brother Jose.
I feel ill at ease with the loose usage of the term ancestral when they say the Ancestral House of So-and-So Family. I kind of expect the term ancestral to mean several generations, or even the very first residence of the entire clan, not just a house owned by a single two-generation branch of it. For instance, I’d call my great-grandfather’s house (now gone) his house but certainly not the ancestral house of the Aleonar family, which term should carry with it the connotation of the entire Aleonar family. It’s the ancestral house for my great-grandfather’s descendants—us–but not of the descendants of his brothers, as it never was his father’s or his uncles’.
The landmarks most identified with our town—the Dispensary and its swimming pool and the rotunda. The pergolas around the rotunda have been waylaid by small stalls selling foodstuff.
This piece has been overtaken by events. The new mayor, Nicepuro Apura, has seen fit to get rid of the stalls and view of the market, with the pergolas, is now unobstructed.
The Leon Kilat and other statues are our heritage, too.
The St. Catherine’s School (now College) main building and the Upland Elementary School, like the Dispensary and rotunda, remind us of a era now gone, but the mere gazing at which whisks us back to that time. Those memories should be relished by us, by those of us who care. The Upland Elementary School has the dual history of being a school building that served as a prison during World War II.
Be that as it may, I don’t know, even if by some manna from heaven we can embark on a full repair cum restoration of our heritage structures, whether our town and its craftsmen still possess the skills in masonry, carpentry, painting, etc., and especially the appropriate familiarity with old construction techniques…so they don’t just cover up everything with new plaster or panel because they don’t quite know how to go about it.
I suppose we can always call on experts in Cebu City or even elsewhere who can help and guide our efforts. They may prove quite pricey, of course, but as I said, with the manna from heaven…show us the manna!