Posted by: vip | June 17, 2011

The natural and historical sites of Carcar

The natural. What we call the natural sites of Carcar were given us by nature for our benefit but also our stewardship. Thus, we owe it to nature to preserve their pristine setting to set off their natural appeal and beauty.  Confiteor vobis fratres, this blogger has not been nature-loving enough, mea culpa, to know just which and how many natural sites we have in Carcar that can pass for their functional, scenic, and tourism value. We can only enhance, but God forbid not too much and mess them up, what creation laid out as natural treasures for us to behold and enjoy.

Certainly the most-well known to the people of Carcar are the Mainit and the Mabugnao springs. Hot and cold (of course) springs located very near each other are, naturally, subject of wonder. The area is covered by, I read somewhere, the Guadalupe Mainit-Mabugnao National Park, and is thus a protected landscape-ecotourism site. As such, I hope the financial requirements for the annual maintenance and operations of the park have been clearly set up in its creation by whichever legislature which did. Perhaps included in the park are the cave systems of the area, too.

The Camari in Calidngan is said to be an extinct volcano. If that report is true, perhaps clearing up its crater for people to view can have a tourism value, too.

I hope the people in their respective sitios would share with the rest of us fellow Carcaranons the natural treasures that they’ve been blessed with all these aeons. Please come out.

The historical (man-made). The earliest sites have to be the Hill sites in Ocaña and Napo which had in fact already been visited by archaeological studies in 1978 (Tenazas, USC) and revisited in 2005 (Peterson, USC and National Museum). But except for the people around the areas, not much fanfare was ever felt by the rest of the townsfolk of Carcar. But results of those diggings cannot be gainsaid for our understanding of the pre-historical people who settled in or who made the area a transit point. A plus for the sites are their being natural sites, too, and atop the hills we can see fossilized shells strewn everywhere, indicating that these hills were once upon a time still under the sea.  Imagine, tall hills two kilometers from what is now the shoreline of Bacsiji were once just part of the sea!

I had always been wondering whether the University of San Carlos Museum can share the artifacts they got from us with us. Perhaps the Carcar Museum can put up a USC Museum section to showcase these artifacts that the USCM can loan to it.

But hands down the most historical site that can be retrievable, restorable, or whatever, has got to be the location where the old town of Carcar was – the Sialo settlement where the Valladolid town and church was established. This is our daanglungsod, and the whole site is our Stonehenge, now without the stones, testament to us as a people. For not only the old church, but all traces of former human habitation and settlement have now been covered through the centuries by earth, but archaeological studies (2001-2: Peterson, USC) have also been made of the area and, for tourism value, perhaps a semblance of that digging, appropriate (in size) of course to the site’s prime historical value.

For houses and other structures, I have limited them to what are historical – for houses, either for the house itself (what history happened there) or for the person or persons who owned or lived in the house being important cogs in Carcar history. Thus, for houses, I have included only the Sarmiento, Noel (the first Noel) and Galicano ancestral houses, the Padre Tatyong, the Mercado, the Noel (Maximino) family house, the Archbishop Camomot family house, the Roman (II) Sarmiento family house and the two Abellana family houses for the impact their owners had on local history. Of course nobody has ever forgotten the house where Leon Kilat was killed in 1898 (at the time owned by Timoteo Barcenilla) – probably the most historical of the lot.

Except for the day Monsignor Camomot might be declared a saint (or even a Blessed) and his family home would by far become the most historical in our town, a veritable shrine even without its being officially declared as such.

The two houses then, the “Leon Kilat” and the Camomot family house, could then vie with the ancient Sialo-Valladolid site as the most historical of the sites of Carcar. Although photographers understandably will still insist on the dispensary and the rotunda, for they are certainly our winning-est heritage sites.

The two structures–- the Dispensary building/swimming pool and the rotunda – although not really historical (except if they were the subjects of really intense debate in our history, and the issue then becomes historical) — and not even that old — but they have become, through tourist appeal, the iconic structures by which Carcar is now more famous for, throughout the province and the rest of the country and maybe the world.  They are heritage structures to be sure, in so far as they represent (and outstandingly) the architectural or esthetic period during which they were built. In contemporary terms, we can say with absolute certainty that either of the two is the facebook profile picture of Carcar – and none other.

The swimming pool during its functioning heyday was a focus in the lives of the people of the town. Thus, it served a historical point, probably more than the Dispensary itself, although admittedly the latter was said to have also served as the so-called clubhouse for the more elite of the pool users.

These are our blessings. Both natural and historical sites need our constant attention, especially the former because they are everybody’s property. But all of them are our blessings.

[22-June-2011:] And heritage? As history (mostly man-made, that) proceeded on its inexorable march, as the territorial stakes of primitive men got reinforced through the protection of private ownership, no natural beauty could escape the concept‘s grasp. Thus, many of our natural sites may now actually be private properties. And we can’t just confiscate them, can we?

On the same breath, many, if not all, of the historical sites are private properties as well. Local and national legislation, and world causes notwithstanding, but nothing should dampen personal initiative. Our so-called heritage sites were themselves the products of private talent and initiative.

I always say, the Sarmiento House (for example) is the heritage not of the town, but of the Sarmiento family, it just happens to be located in Carcar. What would keep local legislature, for instance — and thus, or local leaders – from dictating how the house should be managed, or even how it should look?

Thus, we need a working and workable arrangement with regards to property and heritage-conservation where both stakeholders still come out as winners.

Rule: Don’t tell my owners what to do; they’re my masters right now. You buy me and then you can do with me what you will.

Thus, government and conservation groups should gather their resources and they should buy private property that they feel is being left to ruin by insensitive or even the merely financially incapacitated owners. Set up a Carcar Heritage Trust, financially endowing it, that it will then take care of all our do-gooding instincts.

Rule: protect and conserve what is old, but let’s go on living.

Even the sites owned by the state should be covered by this rule. I totally scoff at a legislation that “dictated” (my most undesirable word) that all future constructions in a certain area should “conform” (dictated) to the architectural character of a heritage structure. But, and I emphasize this, without the legislation precisely defining what that architectural character or flavor is.

Our historical structures are historical in that they serve as outstanding specimens of –they epitomized — the architectural periods in which each was built. Imagine if Mariano Mercado had been some uninspired executive who dictated that the proposed dispensary of 1930s should look like the convento of 1870s?  We just do not halt history. We should let Carcar’s creative fantasies soar and take us into the future, and not tuck us into an unspecifically nostalgic corner in the past.

Let’s keep the old as is, and, hey, let’s move to another area to develop a spanking modern new town center. Rather than allowing fake “antique” buildings to mushroom on a heritage area. Who are we trying to fool?

The present administration should be made to feel sadness; its latest efforts, however well-intentioned, contradict their own sense of values: disregard and tear down an old heritage and yet renovate and dress up another to look like an old heritage?

[please, please just add as among the things I missed a real historical site, too: the 1923 St. Catherine’s School building at the plaza.]

Our natural and historical sites:

1 Mabugnao and Mainit, Guadalupe Mainit and Mabugnao springs
2 Camari, Calidngan extinct volcano crater (found?)
3 Guadalupe cave systems
4 Bactos Bactos river path
location historical site
5 ? where first ampao was concocted
6 ? where first commercial inasal was roasted
7 ? where tannery was located
8 ? where first shoe was done as an industry
9 ? other Ocaña archaeological sites
10 ?
11 Arch Camomot, Cogon, Pob 1 Archbishop Teofilo Camomot family house
12 Bacsiji, Ocaña Bacsiji watchtower
13 Bantayan, Tuyom Bantayan watchtower
14 Bas, Perrelos Bas watchtower
15 Cambuntan, Bolinawan Roman (II) Sarmiento family house
16 Inayagan, Tuyom Sialo and original site of Valladolid town and church
17 Inayagan, Tuyom site of old pottery-making ceter
18 J. Rizal, Pob 1 Barcenilla House (Leon Kilat)
19 J. Rizal, Pob 1 P. Anastasio del Corro house
20 J. Rizal, Pob 2 Mariano Mercado house
21 Luanluan, Pob 1 Luanluan camarin (taboan)
22 Luanluan, Pob 1 old train station
23 Ocaña Calvary Hills archaeological site
24 P. Nellas, Pob 3 Martino and Ramon Abellana family houses
25 Perrelos old train station
26 Plaza, Pob 1 St Catherine’s Church
27 Plaza, Pob 1 St Catherine’s Convent
28 Plaza, Pob 1 Dispensary Building and swimming pool
29 Plaza, Pob 1 Upland Building
30 Rotunda Rotunda
31 San Jose st, Pob 1 Galicano ancestral house
32 Sta Catalina, Pob 2 Noel ancestral house
33 Sta Catalina, Pob 2 Sarmiento ancestral house
34 Sta Catalina, Pob 2 Maximino Noel house
35 Tagotong, Napo Aleonar Hill archaeological site


  1. a} How about the “infamous” Tan-awan road and experience sa Guadalupe
    b}St Catherine’s School and the Carcar Academy
    c}the Gabaldon schools
    d} the ricefields, i love looking at them
    e} the natural and man-made wonders of the bayots, ha ha ha. After all Carcar is known for the ABC ampao bayot chicharon
    Vip, have you wondered nganong daghan kaayong manambal plus mamarang sad sa Carcar? When I was in Bohol, some people know about Carcar para patambal

    • thanks so much, john.
      a) yes, breath-taking ang tan-aoan (looking or, I’m sure, falling).
      b) yes, historical ang both schools esp. as secondary schools but, maybe in name and history for, in the case of the Academy, which building is heritage? I am after the sites.
      c) unsa nang gabaldon schools, john?
      d) ricefields can only be classed with historical (as in products of culture)
      e) how natural and historical are the bayots? who is the first known bayot of carcar? we might not go very far. it was not advisable and fashionable to bukhad one’s capa then.
      maybe it’s the age of the town (as in cultural history) has got to do with the number of mananambal. but no remedy has as yet been put forward for hypertension and heart disease prevalent in the town caused by the inasal-chicharron.

  2. Stop consuming the inasal-chicharron and u will see an improvement in the prevalence of hypertension and heart disease in the Carcarbanos

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