When we arrived in Casa Dela Playa in Sandugan, Larena, we didn’t waste much time to be back on the road again. After checking our beach front house, leaving some of our things and being friendly with the resort dogs. Yes I said dogs (there’s a really friendly and cute one there)! We hopped on our AUV and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the municipality of Lazi down south.
Cambugahay multi-step falls
From Larena, we headed to the direction of the port since we’re gonna use the inner mountain road of Siquijor. It was a pleasant 20-30 minutes ride going up the mountains. The weather changing from sunny to rainy but still offers some panoramic view of the island. Soon we were descending the road after the municipality of Po-o and sooner came to a halt when we reached the jump-off for Cambugahay Falls.
Cambugahay plunge pool
There is a short flight of stairs going down the falls. This one and only falls in the island as I’ve seen doesn’t really surprise you with it’s towering heights as the other falls we’ve seen lately. It’s actually a low series of multi-step falls. A humble scenery I may add. Unfortunately at that time, it rained early morning making the usual aqua-green waters of this falls turn into mocha brown.
Fallin’ over Cambugahay Falls
It must be nice to just dip in here when the water is calmer and greener. In fact some foreign tourist that came down here were already on their swim wear only to be disappointed that the water wasn’t that conducive for swimming at that time. Nevertheless, the falls is still picturesque at certain angle and still can be a relaxing sight like these two lovers we saw who were pretty enjoying their time with nature.
Gigantic Acacia Trees
Just a few more minutes drive from Cambugahay Falls is the town of Lazi where the Lazi Church also known as the St. Isidro Labrador Church and Convent is located. Upon alighting from our AUV, what I immediately noticed first were these gigantic acacia trees that seems to serve as a natural shade. I wonder how old these trees are, must be there already when the church was made. And it was nice to retain them even if a road was constructed between the two structures.
St. Isidro Labrador Church
I made my way to the Lazi Church and found its facade and structure all in all quite unique for its kind in the Philippines. The lower part is the usual cement and stones but the upper part is made of wood that seems like a barn with colored windows. I like the look of its church from its old stained and faded paint walls and its pinkish color.
Switches on the wall
Going inside, you could already sense the fusty smell of the environment. It’s not that bad, but rather appealing complement to its old age. I read from the marker outside that his church, started its construction in 1857 by Augustinian Recollects, and finished by Filipino Artisans twenty seven years after. No wonder the church have such artistic quality on its final design.
Old wooden doors with penetrating light
The church interiors itself is impressive in a vintage way. I just have to say I really like the old texture of the walls here. Very spacious and I could see the ceiling has been a home to a lot of birds. The blue ceiling is also decaying.
Lazi Church altar interiors
I imagine this church to be really grand when it was new. Just look at the details of the design on the ceilings,the patterns and the pulpits. The altar looks big as well than the usual. The lighting at that time in the afternoon is also perfect. I like the drama of light penetrating through those old doors. This is church has quite a character. I’m not surprised when it became a National Treasure in the 70’s.
The oldest and largest convent in the Asian Region
Just across the church is the Lazi Convent, considered as the oldest in the Philippines and largest in the Asian Region. Constructed in 1887, it is a two story stone house structure and has a U-shape when seen from the top. During the early times after it was built, it was considered a rest and recreation place for the friars.
Old convent interiors
The second floor of the convent holds a museum of religious materials and artifacts since the church was built. Really interesting and you should see it if you are there. Photography is not allowed in the area. Other than that, you could check out the inner structure of the convent, which at that time seemed to be undergoing some constructions, judging from the presence of wood planks and cements in the area.
Colored windows at Lazi Convent
On the right U-side of the convent where there’s this interesting colored windows, we met with the current caretaker of the convent, a perky old lady going by the name of Aling Soseng. I heard she was telling stories to Oggie who was trying hard to compose a shot of the windows and when I arrived at the scene she started telling me stories as well about being a caretaker and some about her life. A really lively and friendly old woman. As if the minatamis na saging incident at Lake Sebu wasn’t enough. After touring the museum which was about to close that time, Aling Soseng came by and gave us some suman. And when we were about to leave, she gave us the whole bag of those native suman. We were really diffident on taking that bag but it was hard to refuse a kind offer. Gahd, do we really look hungry all the time?
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.