28 October 2015

Side Trip In Morong Rizal

My interest with Morong, Rizal started when I was in college. My teacher in Rizal (a subject that tackles the life of our National Hero, Jose Rizal) mentioned that the people in Morong act differently. He said that they are well – mannered enough not to spit in the streets of their own town. And, that they were able to preserve some of its culture and tradition. I have mentioned my interest in visiting the town to my friends in an eager tone. But they responded by saying that there is nothing to see in the town. They said that it does not count as a tourist destination.

            Upon hearing this I have decided to research about it. I found out that their opinion is wrong. There is something to see in that town – a park and a church. There was no mention about the locals so my curiosity grew even more.  Did my college teacher told us facts? I hope to find out.
            I never thought I’d be preparing for my trip to Morong the same time I am preparing for an exam to be held in the same town. As soon as the exam was finished I started the side trip. Before I exit the gates of Morong National High School I asked the police officers on duty if there are food chains nearby and the directions to the church. I was told to that I can ride a tricycle to my destinations. The fare would cost me ten pesos (Php 10.00).
 I was determined to mingle with the locals. That is why I have decided to walk along the streets even though a light rain was pouring. Typhoon Lando was hitting the country at that time. The trees were swaying so fast that they might fall down. I am glad I have brought my cardigan with me. I used it instead of the umbrella that I have because I was afraid it well turn upside down.  When I was walking I realized that I was not afraid walking on my own in a place I am not familiar. I never doubted the old lady when I asked for directions. I was not pissed off when two street kids asked for money. I never said a word. I just shake my head. Then I continued walking. They never bothered me anymore.
When I saw a church in the other side of the street I thought I was lost. It had occurred to me that it was probably the church that the locals were thinking when I asked, “Saan po ang daan papuntang Morong church.” (Where is the way to Morong church?) I stopped for a second. I never mentioned that I was looking for St. Jerome Parish Church. 
I made a trip in our local library in preparation for the said sightseeing. Here is a fact that I discovered.
“Morong church was built by Chinese artisans in 1615 with stone and mortars. Its design was distinct with Chinese Baroque Architecture. Two Chinese lions sculpture at the entrance serve as evidence of their work. Soon after, it was reconstructed by Don Bartolome Palatino, a resident of Paete, Laguna. He constructed the three – storey façade and the octagonal bell tower of the church.” – Rizal: Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Coffetable Book by Honorable Rebecca A. Ynares, former Governor Province of Rizal
            I continued to walk. When I reached a terminal I asked one of the bystanders if St. Jerome church is near. Before he can answer, I spotted a familiar structure on his left side. It was the tower of the church. He then instructed me to turn right on the next corner. While I was walking towards the church I passed by a gymnasium. I can still hear the ball hitting the floors of the gymnasium and the whistle when I reached the gates. Finally, I made it. After years of wonder I have arrived to feed my curiosity.


            If I would take out in the picture the low conversations of the two guys taking photos, the sound of my footsteps and the wind, the place is mute. The gloomy weather accentuates the mystic vibe that I was feeling. I did not see any other people aside from the two guys and myself.
            There were banners hanging from the tower to the different sides of the church. They must have celebrated a fiesta. I did saw the lion sculpture. And the historical mark validates what I have read from the book.
            The details of the bell tower are well thought. One can easily distinguish that it is inspired from Baroque era. Looking from the outside I can tell that the church is huge. Sadly the doors that are connecting from where I was standing to the altar of the church are closed. I expected it. But I was still hoping that it would be open given that it was a Sunday. I have learned from a local that a mass will be held at 5 pm. I can’t wait for the scheduled mass because I don’t want to stay until dark. I pacify myself by taking photos.


Then, a man arrived. After asking me if the church is open he decided to stand adjacent to its closed doors. Seeing how solemn his expression I can tell that he was praying. Ashamed of myself I did the same as soon as he left his spot.

           Walking back to the food chain (because I need to pee) I saw one of the street children in a bakery shop. I overheard the woman with him asking what bread the child would want to have. The child was hesitant on pointing the bread that he wants to eat while the saleslady was waiting patiently.

            You may ask me if I was satisfied. Yes! Although I was disappointed because the church was closed. Its architecture and my encounter with the people remedy the feeling. Next time I hope to say my prayers inside St. Jerome Parish Church.


  1. Sis nakapunta na ko dyan.. :) Nung nag visita iglesia this year lang..


Maira Gall