Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Boac Fire of July 2, 2018: Heritage house, ancestral homes, two historic sacred images went on fire!

Two venerated antique images of the the Blessed Mother in her manifestation as Mater Dolorosa and Santo Rosario were unfortunately reduced to ashes. These sacred images are taken out only for joining religious processions during Holy Week and on their Feast Days.

Then I wonder, is this the same image of the Santo Rosario that figured in the year 1897, in a very tragic local history episode? 

The ancestral Roque house burning. Fire reportedly started in one of the ground floor shops.

Not a single life was claimed by the fire that razed Boac’s commercial district but residents are mourning the loss of ancestral houses that have withstood typhoons, floods and war.

Yesterday at about 5:30 in the morning a resident called the Boac Fire Station to report a fire breaking out on Mercader Street in Brgy. Mercado across the ‘Blue Building’ . Prompt responses were undertaken by the fire marshalls, including appropriate calls to fire brigades from the other 5 municipalities of Marinduque.

But after nearly three hours of firefighting that also involved countless volunteers and passers-by lending a hand, it became clear that it was to be the biggest fire the town ever saw in a hundred years.

Parts of the small barangays of Mercado, Malusak, San Miguel and Murallon were affected. Around 17 shops that rented out the ground floor of most of these houses in Boac’s commercial center were gutted together with the ancestral houses they occupied.

Kapitan Piroco Mansion, Heritage House

Maharlikang Tahanan ni Kapitan Piroco

The ancestral houses razed to the ground were:  the Don Piroco Mansion also known as ‘Maharlikang Tahanan ni Kapitan Piroco’ as tagged by an NHI marker installed in 1973. This is the only heritage house from among the houses reduced to ashes that had been declared by the National Historical Institute (now NHCP), as such a Heritage House in 1973.
Don Piroco Mansion, declared as a Heritage House in 1973

In 1992 this mansion was converted into a school (ESTI) that offered technical education for college students until another school (Lighthouse Maritime School), for maritime education leased the premises, later moving to a new location. The Kapitan Piroco Mansion of old hardwood flooring and walls appears to have been abandoned since then, left to the elements.

In a brief website description, NHI states that this was ‘where locals requested that Marinduque be made a separate province’.  Ricardo Paras, Sr. thereafter became first governor of Marinduque after the island’s separation from the province of Tayabas (now Quezon), 98 years ago on February 21, 1920.*

*Pls read 'Pagtutuwid' in Ang Kahalagan sa Kasaysayan ng Maharlikang Tahanan ni Don Piroco for clarification.


Update: This is a photograph of a marker prior to the installation of an official one by the NHI in 1973. It states: “ Kapitan Piroco Mansion. Owned by Kapitan Municipal Pedro Lardizabal (better known as Kapitan Piroco). In this mansion Commissioner William H. Taft conferred with Marinduque prominent leaders on March 13, 1901. William H. Taft established the civil government of the province in this place and appointed Ricardo Paras Sr. first civil governor.”  

(Image courtesy of Agnes Apenes whose sister-in-law had the marker prior to the one installed by the National Historical Institute, now National Historical Commission of the Philippines).


The Roque-Enriquez Ancestral House.

The Roque Ancestral House
(How it was before and the power of Marinduque’s socio-economic elite)

This was the house of Tomas Roque (1841-1907), Boac Gobernadorcillo from 1877-1879 and 1897-1898. He figured in the local distribution of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” together with Marcelo Mirafuente of Boac; was authorized by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 to recruit and train soldiers who eventually became active in the Paye and Pulang Lupa battles. “Tomas Roque Street” in Boac was named after him.

On the other hand, it was Capt. Fausto Roque, during the Philippine-American War who commanded the 1st Guerilla. 

Capt. Teofilo Roque of the Battle of Paye fame who commanded the 2nd Guerilla was a cousin, and Col. Maximo Abad, hero of the Battle of Pulang Lupa was Fausto Roque’s brother-in-law.
Happiness in the Roque House

In Andrew Birtle’s The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine Islands, April 1900-April 1901 we find the following account:

The civil and military leadership of the resistance movement on Marinduque was firmly rooted in the island's middle and upper classes. The insurrection was also in many ways a family affair. Abad's brother-in-law, Captain Fausto Roque, commanded the 1st Guerrilla. Both Fausto's father and uncle were important insurgent leaders in the civilian community, while his cousin, Teofilo Roque, commanded the 2d Guerrilla. Martin Lardizabal also had family ties with the insurrection… 

Thus American military authorities faced not only a difficult physical environment, but an opponent that was intertwined with the island's socio-economic elite and capable of using the power and prestige of that class to mobilize support for the insurrection.

Now old photos and memorabilia of some of those names are gone.
(Right) Chi Wing'S Panciteria (Roque House in the background)

The Chi Ancestral House (Pansitan)

Most of our Boakeno oldtimers must have gone to Chi Wing’s panciteria to eat. According to a July 3 post from Chi Wing’s granddaughter, Karlene Chi, that store was opened way back in the 30s or 40s. Her dad and his siblings grew up in that kitchen, she said. ‘It is devastating to think that the history and that kitchen is gone’, she added. She also regrets that (Internet) pictures and memories are all that’s left for the family to cherish.

Chi Wing's famous pansit in banana leaf


Mirafuente House (right) before fire engulfed the house.

The Mirafuente Ancestral House
Popularly known as the house of “Sisi” (Moises Mirafuente), many students studying in town are quite familiar with this family-owned shop that occupies the ground floor of the two storey-building. That’s where they could buy all sorts of school supplies, colored papers to make Christmas lanterns with and jobos dyes they never seem to run out of stock with.


The Lim House

Lim House at corner Magsaysay and Rosario Sts.

This old house was originally owned by Col. Rufino Deogracias, Sr. and later leased to the father of the late Msgr. Rafael M. Lim who would, in 1978 be appointed by Pope Paul VI as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Boac. His assumption as the new Bishop transpired on the same day of the Canonical Erection of the Diocese.

The Lim family used to run a grocery store and bakery at the silong before it became a popular photography studio, also selling photo supplies. The Lims acquired ownership of the property in the mid 70’s. 


The Lim house burning


VenMar burning on the right (across PNB)

The VenMar (also Chi) House

The VenMar shop (for Aven and Marina), sells all school supplies in one store and various items such as plastic containers, linoleums, brooms, etc in the adjoining store. Cramped but that’s the way it is in most of these small shops.

But the religious of historic Boac, often finding solace in their time of need and sadness by praying and comfort through solemn devotions to Mother Mary would be very shocked to hear this one.

Two venerated Marian images now gone up in flames!

Images of Mater Dolorosa and Santo Rosario. Gone up in flames

From an FB post by Jerwin Ola and personal reports from others who've heard of the news comes this one. Two antique images of the Mother Mary in her manifestation as Mater Dolorosa and Santo Rosario were reduced to ashes. The two sacred images have been kept at the Chi’s especially-built bodega located in the middle of their property. These venerated images are taken out only for joining processions during Holy Week and on their Feast Days.

Many devotees talk about the fabulous crown and other adornments of the santas purportedly made of gold. Now also gone are the intricately designed iron and silver carrozas always bedecked with fresh flowers during processions.

Ownership of these Marian images has been traced to the Lardizabals.


Our Lady of the Rosary (Santo Rosario)

Then I wonder if this is the same image of the Santo Rosario that figured in a very tragic episode in our local history?  On Nov. 10, 2010, I wrote for this blog, ‘Boac, 1 de Noviembre 1897’.

Excerpts:

“1 de Noviembre 1897” was the name of a street at the back of the original “Casa Real” building in Boac running in the north-south direction. It was so named to mark a local episode during the Filipino-Spanish war that followed the “10 de Octubre 1897” gruesome raid on the Casa staged by the local revolutionists from Mogpog led by Fabian Medenilla that resulted in the death of Medenilla and his comrades that they had attempted to set free from the Casa – Remigio Medina and the top leader of the revolutionary forces in Marinduque at that time, the poet Hermenegildo Flores. The tragedy in Boac occurred after a long procession in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. (Santo Rosario).

Now, was this the same Our Lady of the Rosary (Santo Rosario), that was burned by this fire of July 2, 2018? 
Considering that this religious icon has been called 'isa sa pinakamatandang santo sa Boac', most probably it's the same.

The ChuWing Panciteria and Chi house gone.

It is time for extended prayers and deep meditation by the great, God-fearing and loving people of Marinduque. 


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