Monday, May 21, 2007


Paete Church, circa 1950 (The Richard E. Alhborn Collection, Tulane University Latin-American Library)

I am visiting Laguna because of a project I am currently working on for the 83rd NCAA. The need for carved props brought me to this quaint town which lies at the foot of the grand mountain of Makiling.

Paete is home to the lanzones fruit, the ukit (woodcarving, paet means chisel), the bakya (Philippine woodenshoes), the gayly painted papier-mache called taka, the yo-yo and other toys.

Unfortunately, the log ban has started to put a strain to the woodcarving industry. I had a chat with a carver, Amang Conrado Angeles, and he said that a lot of wood that's available is actually illegal and some of them put their careers on the line just to get rare wood.

Of course, for firstimers to a place in any location in the Philippines, one must pay homage to the usual repository of the town's history and art - the local church.

The Paete Church, circa 2007. Paete achieved township in 1580 when a group of Franciscan Friars (OFM) built a friary there. With the friary came the Church of Santiago Mayor, Apostol y Martir (St. James the Great, apostle and martyr), built in 1864 and filled with century-old paintings and wooden statuaries that the people themselves made. This baroque mission church itself is worth the trip, both for its aesthetic value and spiritual significance. A piece of Campostela in the Far East, it is steeped in legends, stories of martyrdom, and memories of a people that bind them together through generations. ("Where is Paete?" by Marie Castillo-Pruden)

A glimpse of the Sierra Madre - her beauty endures forever.

I am a bit disappointed with the chandeliers. These must be replacements of old ones which may have been destroyed already.

The all-wooden cupola.

Like the chandeliers, I am stumped as to why for a town known for its craftsmanship in wood, the pulpit only looks like this. Again, there must be an explanation. The concrete (yes, concrete!) that's holding it up looks like a fairly new addition.

Buttresses hold up the entire structure. Paete has had its fair share of earthquakes in the past.

What's sad about the church is that it has been completely hidden from sight by a concrete stage facing the Municipio. Only by tearing that down can the church be appreciated again from the Plaza Mayor.


Sidney said...

It is really a wonderful church and I like this town too!
I agree with you that they should tear down the concrete stage and build it somewhere else. Why not near the parking area?

djklump said...

pogi, thanks for sharing your paete pictures. ganda. kaya lang bakit daming bahay sa likod ng church? di ko malaman tuloy kung ang church ang naligaw, o yung mga bahay ang naligaw sa picture na yun. pero i've enjoyed your pictures pa rin. sana makapunta ako dyan at samahan mo ako sa paglibot. hehe.

Ferdz said...

Hanep! Ang ganda ng church. Good thing little has changed on the facade since the old photo. NCAA ka pala. Know a friend who designs your coffee table books.

Citizen of the World said...

Ferdz, i think you meant the NCCA.

I am doing a project for NCAA, the national collegiate athletics association, he he he!

But it's okay.

Citizen of the World said...

Sidney, I'm glad you noticed that horrible stage blocking the view. The thing this, there's hardly any space in the area as Paete's streets are soooo small!!!

And the building next to the plaza is the Philippine Independent Church's.

Citizen of the World said...

djklump, pogi ja dyan! Di ka na nag-update ng blog mo!!!

Tama ka. Ang mga bahay ang nalilgaw. Mahilig dumikit sa simbahan.

tutubi said...

familiar sa akin yan a...di ba boring mabuhay sa paete? hmmm

tell that to a paetenian like me ;)

some comments/clarifications:

the mountain shadowing the town on the east is part of the Sierra Madre mountain range

the salibanda celeberated on the last sunday of january (catholic) and the sunday before that (IFI/Aglipayan)

the salubong during Holy Week, try to catch the Wednesday night procession (the moving saints, Catholic) thursday's the Aglipayan one

the cenaculo falls on holy thursday

there's a ice carving/culinary arts competition on the day before the town fiesta

sidney was there last holy week where he even trekked up the hill where the 3 crosses and the waterfalls are :)

aravis said...

i love paete! i went here way back in college. we visited a couple of old churches for a humanities class and i fell in love with this town. im not catholic but i am fascinated with old churches. reading this blog reminded me how much i miss the place :)

Anonymous said...

yep! astig mabuhay sa paete..kumbaga small but terrible tong bayan na to..panu ko nasabi?syempre laking paete ako..