Having one of the oldest monuments in the Philippines in the form of the impressive San Juan Bautista Church, I wasn’t surprised that there were more to discover in this predominantly Catholic municipality of Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. We met with our local guide from the DOT office to give us a tour of the town. Visiting the church, it was a good idea the tourism installed a few boards showcasing the other attractions in town. Particularly noticeable were the heritage houses, a cemetery and a mysterious tree by the river.
Just a few meters walk from the church we already saw from a street corner the pinkish to cream hues of the Casa de Ozamiz. The wood design under the roof at the second story of the house caught my attention. The details were eye catching. And just a quick turn to another street corner, we found another stately heritage in the Old Bacarro Printing Press building. Originally the residence of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion family which was built in 1914, it was used as a printing press during the Japanese occupation where emergency money was printed. Some of this money can still be viewed at the second floor of the house. As of the moment there were no clear cut plans what they intend to do with this building. There was a shop at the ground floor but I thought this would be great as a museum or a bed and breakfast. There were other houses in Jimenez like the ancestral house of former congressman Chiongban, Domingo, Cajita and the Yu-Larotin couple.
The Old Cemetery
Cemeteries seems odd to be an attraction but the Old Cemetery at Barangay Dicoloc is worth mentioning since the walls were built right along the time when the San Juan Bautista Church was built. Father Roque Azcona, the one initiated the construction of the Jimenez Church, was also at the helm of building this cemetery. The old walls were still there but what made this cemetery of interest to me was the eerie atmosphere is has because of the humongous balete tree at the center of the cemetery. I was told this tree could be 155 years old. Its branches spread widely to the sky like a roof eternally blanketing the cemetery in shadows. Did I feel any presence in this big tree? I may have or not but as we left, our guide made us cross over a small flame just to make sure any unseen being wouldn’t follow us. Yes they still believe that and there was no harm in following the practice.
The enchanted Kamil Tree on the next page…
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.