I arrived from a four day sojourn in Dumaguete and Siquijor. But there were no cruising holidays for me, I was in the area for a magazine assignment that I’ve pitched to the editor just two weeks ago and there I was in Lazi’s church kumbento, climbing ceilings, going down basements, waiting for long exposures to finish and taking different images of the structure.
Part by part.
But I wasn’t complaining. I’ve gotten used to this hectic schedule. One day I’m in Manila doing my photography lecture at one of the country’s top universities. A few minutes after class dismissal, I have to rush to the airport to go somewhere. When I do reach the destination, rest for the night then travel again the next day. Buses, boats, jeeps and tricycles.
But being in Siquijor was different. While I was working, I was also enjoying it at the same time. I’m a sucker for old architecture and Spanish colonial era churches and related structures always give me a high. And being face to face, finally, with Lazi’s church and kumbento, was enough to make me awestruck.
I was wide eyed at the immensity of the latter. The uniqueness of the former (its only one of three in the country that still has wooden floors) and how these two, located in one of the towns in a
poor province has survived despite modernity and the ‘do-away-with-the-old’ mentality.
despite its being a poor town, is charming. Century old acacia trees, with its outspread branches, gives shade and cool on a rather humid afternoon. Old houses in the traditional bahay kubo style, and variations of that still abound. The people are pious and friendly. Always smiling, a rather unexpected warmth that seems contrary to what this island province is notorious for.
They ask me what I’m doing there. Probing with questions but maintaining the politeness of people from the provinces and, upon hearing my answers, beam with a smile, proud at what they have that brings visitors from afar to their sleepy town. Or, with pride, narrate how this movie/TV celebrity asked one of them during an interview or showed their century old kumbento.
Life in Lazi is slow. But it is a place where you would want to hide away and just spend days doing nothing.