Heritage town of Jimenez

An afternoon around the heritage town of Jimenez

The St. John the Baptist Church of Jimenez is the best preserved Spanish colonial era church in Mindanao and is a declared National Cultural Treasure

The St. John the Baptist Church of Jimenez is the best preserved Spanish colonial era church in Mindanao and is a declared National Cultural Treasure

People can be forgiven if they tend to pass off the town of Jimenez as another nondescript Misamis Occidental municipality on their way either to the cities of Oroquieta, the provincial capital or Ozamiz, the financial hub. Come to think of it, vans and buses just pass this town and sometimes, make a brief stopover at the terminal. And there’s really nothing much to see.

But for those in the know, Jimenez is a gem, unpolished, waiting for its time to shine. And for heritage advocates, this town is one of the beautiful places in Mindanao. Just consider this, it’s church, the San Juan Bautista, built in the 1880s, is the best preserved Spanish colonial era church in Mindanao and is a declared National Cultural Treasure (2001). The first time I visited this place was to photograph the church for a coffee table book, Philippine Church Facades.

Around the church are interesting heritage houses and structures, an art deco high school, unfortunately in ruins and have been abandoned. The cemetery, is the only one I have found in Mindanao that still has its colonial stone fence and pillars of the entrance arch. Inside, probably the biggest balete (banyan) tree in the south.

READ MORE: The creepiest tree I’ve ever seen in my life!

A walk around the old town center is pleasant as one is greeted by elegant heritage houses at both sides of the road. There’s the Bacarro printing house, three storeys and one of the biggest in the town, will make any ancestral house enthusiast salivate. The Sen. Jose Ozamiz residence, a beautiful heritage house stands regal, adorned with beautiful wrought iron ventanilla grills. And there are more pleasant surprises in terms of heritage architecture.

Farther off, there’s a mystical tree near the river that many locals attest is enchanted. But I’m not superstitious. After going around town, a hot bowl of lomi or pieces of shanghai lumpia for snacks at Shanghai Noodle House is the best way to cap a tour.

The Bacarro Printing Press is a three storey structure that printed emergency money during the Japanese Occupation

The Bacarro Printing Press is a three storey structure that printed emergency money during the Japanese Occupation

Originally the kumbento of Jimenez Church located a few meters beside the church and now a school

Originally the kumbento of Jimenez Church located a few meters beside the church and now a school

The Ozamiz House as seen from the sideroad

The Casa de Ozamiz as seen from the sideroad

Heritage structures in Jimenez, clockwise from top left: The abandoned art deco PURVIL High School, a heritage house along the highway, another heritage house found behind the church compound and one of the very few, if not the only Spanish colonial era cemetery fence in Mindanao and built by Fray Roque Azcuna

Heritage structures in Jimenez, clockwise from top left: The abandoned art deco PURVIL High School, a heritage house along the highway, another heritage house found behind the church compound and one of the very few, if not the only Spanish colonial era cemetery fence in Mindanao and built by Fray Roque Azcuna

Heritage town of Jimenez

Clockwise from top right: House of former Congressman and Governor William Chiongbian, the Shanghai Noodle House restaurant, residence of Att. Bartolome Domingo and the Cayetano Yu ancestral house

The typical tricycles found in Jimenez that is the recommended transport going around town

The typical tricycles found in Jimenez that is the recommended transport going around town

The enchanted tree of Jimenez located just beside the river, said to be the abode of fair skinned and beautiful people.

The enchanted kamil tree of Jimenez located just beside the river, said to be the abode of fair skinned and beautiful people.

GETTING THERE: Vans and buses from Ozamiz, Dipolog and Oroquieta pass by the town. To reach the church, hire a tricycle from the bus terminal.

This trip made possible by Philippine Airlines.Check their website Philippine Airlines for tickets and promos. Like their Facebook page and follow them in Twitter.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

One Comment

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    February 22, 2015 @ 23:42

    An afternoon around the heritage town of Jimenez: The St. John the Baptist Church of Jimenez is the best prese… http://t.co/8Qn6spDiZu

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