A Heritage Stroll in San Juan Batangas


When heading out of Metro Manila in the direction of the seashore resorts on the japanese aspect of Batangas, many guests overlook the cultural gems of San Juan Batangas Poblacion. As a substitute of taking the standard route alongside the San Juan-Laiya Highway, why not flip left from Common Luna St onto Corridor St and uncover the younger but culturally wealthy heritage of San Juan city?

The Transition from Spanish to American Affect

Even throughout our drive into the municipality, we couldn’t assist however discover the spectacular previous homes alongside the principle freeway. As soon as within the city correct, you’ll discover over a dozen homes and constructions that maintain cultural significance. The American interval homes, Neoclassical-style, and Artwork Deco types resemble the heritage constructions present in close by cities like Candelaria and Sariaya in Quezon province. I used to be curious to know the story behind this connection, and fortuitously, our birding information, Professor De Villa, an environmental advocate, had some insights to share.

The San Juan Batangas Poblacion is located near the San Juan Nepomuceno Parish.The San Juan Batangas Poblacion is situated close to the San Juan Nepomuceno Parish.

Thriving Coconut Plantation Business

In the course of the early 1900s and all through the American interval, San Juan Batangas and its neighboring provinces thrived in agriculture. The land benefited from wonderful irrigation because of the presence of two rivers, Malaking Tubig River and Lawaye River, in addition to an unlimited watershed spanning over 900 sq. kilometers.

Coconut farming served as the first livelihood for these cities. At one level, San Juan and its close by areas boasted the best variety of coconut timber planted per sq. meter on the earth. These timber had been cultivated for quite a lot of merchandise, starting from culinary substances to coconut oil, copra, and different coconut-based items.

With prosperity got here wealth for the coconut plantation homeowners, who started developing opulent mansions within the cities. They departed from the standard Spanish-style “bahay na bato” homes and embraced the “Artwork Deco-inspired” structure, a pattern that was sweeping throughout America and Europe within the mid-1900s.

St. John Nepomucene Parish

St. John Nepomucene ParishSt. John Nepomucene Parish facade

St. John Nepomucene ParishOne of many three unique church bells

St. John Nepomucene Parish

The best place to begin for the heritage tour in San Juan Batangas Poblacion is the San Juan Nepomuceno Parish. Identical to the city itself, the church is comparatively younger, having been established within the Eighteen Nineties. Initially located in Barangay Pinagbayanan, the church, and the city had been relocated to greater elevated grounds to keep away from flooding and volcanic exercise. The primary church construction in Barangay Pinagbayanan, previously generally known as San Juan de Bocboc, was manufactured from bamboo and coconut timber, using ample native assets. Finally, a extra sturdy stone construction changed it, though it too was not spared from floods.

St. John Nepomucene ParishParish inside

St. John Nepomucene Parish

The present San Juan Nepomuceno Parish gained some fame when common actors Judy Anne Santos and Ryan Agoncillo had a “quiet” wedding ceremony right here in April 2009. The spectacular baroque church underwent renovations over time, notably on its interiors to reinforce sturdiness. Whereas efforts had been made to protect the facade, you’ll discover a definite distinction within the design of the bell tower. It was a later addition to the church, constructed between the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties in the course of the Artwork Deco-inspired motion on the town, thus showcasing a extra fashionable model. Throughout the church, a relic believed to be from St. John Nepomucene himself is rigorously preserved.

St. John Nepomucene ParishObjects from the convent museum

St. John Nepomucene Parish

Simply in entrance of the church stands an arch, the place one of many three unique bells from the church’s early days hangs. Regardless of its worn look, it’s a vital image of how rich households just like the Mercado and Marisigan clans actively supported the church.

Batangas Eastern CollegesThe acacia timber on the Batangas Jap Schools campus

Batangas Jap Schools Grounds

Behind the church, inside the campus grounds of Batangas Jap Schools, you’ll discover centuries-old acacia timber which have witnessed vital occasions within the city’s historical past. It was right here that Batangueño revolutionary Common Miguel Malvar handed his sword to Kapitan Leon Mercado. Each figures performed outstanding roles within the revolution towards the Spaniards and later towards the Individuals in the course of the warfare.

Benito Marasigan Ruins and MuseumThe Benito Marasigan Ruins and Museum

Benito Marasigan Ruins and Museum

Benito Marasigan Ruins and Museum

Benito Marasigan Ruins and Museum

Simply three blocks away from the church lie the remnants of what was as soon as a grand neoclassical-style mansion, constructed between 1929 and 1930. At present, it is called the Benito Marasigan Ruins and Museum. Initially a three-story mansion, the higher flooring had been tragically destroyed in 2009 resulting from a hearth brought on by daylight passing by means of the glass home windows and igniting the wood frames. The bottom flooring, nevertheless, stays intact. In 2015, a rehabilitated exhibit area was opened, showcasing the mansion’s elegant chandelier, ornate chairs, and a large 20-seater desk produced from a single big tree trunk. The everlasting show tells the story of how the Marasigan household contributed to preserving the pure atmosphere by stopping the institution of a Copper Smelter in San Juan Batangas.

Benito Marasigan Ruins and MuseumElegant chandelier

Benito Marasigan Ruins and MuseumAn advert on the Netflix animation “Trese”

As a enjoyable reality, Zig Marasigan, one of many writers for the hit Netflix animation “Trese,” is a part of the Marasigan household.

Louella house

Louella houseHigher flooring residing area

Louella houseCasa Louella Grasp’s bed room

Louella home

Nearer to the church stands one other charming American-era mansion known as Casa Louella, named after the daughter of its present homeowners, Custodio Marasigan Ona and Guadalupe Ona. The mansion was initially constructed by the Treviño-Magtibay household within the early 1900s. The second proprietor was Vicente Lecaroz, a former mayor of San Juan, and a nephew of Benito Marasigan, proprietor of the Benito Marasigan Mansion. His household occupied the home throughout his time period as mayor. When his kids grew up, the home was typically empty, and determined to promote it in 1994.

Louella houseRest room with entry to a balcony

Louella houseView of the courtyard

Though lots of the furnishings inside the home are new, the lavish areas have been superbly maintained. The second flooring boasts excessive ceilings, spacious bedrooms, and a toilet with a bathtub that opens onto a balcony resulting in a courtyard. The mansion is open to the general public, and a few of the rooms are provided as lodging.

loneliness houseSoledad home facade

loneliness houseAuthentic wood pillars nonetheless supporting the home

loneliness houseVintage objects and framed options

loneliness home

Discovered on the nook of Mojica St and De Villa St, Casa Soledad is without doubt one of the grand heritage homes that has retained its conventional “bahay na bato” Spanish structure. The home is called after Soledad, one of many 4 kids of the unique homeowners, Santos Lopez and Maria Mercado (a relative of the nationwide hero, Jose Rizal). Soledad Lopez’s siblings had been Don Miguel Lopez (a former mayor of San Juan), Arsenio Lopez, and Leonor Lopez. The home initially belonged to Leonor, the youngest of the siblings, however Soledad finally acquired it after getting married.

loneliness houseThe higher flooring comprises the life-size foto-oleo of Leonor

loneliness houseOne of many precolonial Calubcob pottery on show

Casa Soledad nonetheless proudly shows its huge wood pillars and ceiling beams. Noteworthy amongst its treasures is a life-size foto-oleo (oil-paint enhanced {photograph} by Solar Studios) of Leonor carrying a Filipiñiana costume adorned with precise sequins. Moreover, hold a watch out for precolonial jars excavated from an archaeological web site in Calubcub Segundo.

The fourth-generation Lopez-Tioseco siblings now handle the mansion.

The White House San Juan

The White House San JuanFootwear is left outdoors the door.

The White House San JuanFloor flooring of the home

White Home San Juan

Located on the nook of Marasigan St and Kalayaan St, The White Home San Juan is one other well-preserved Neoclassical Artwork Deco home generally known as the Aguedo Mercado Mansion. Inbuilt 1934, the home miraculously survived the destruction of warfare. At present, this two-story mansion has been rebranded as The White Home San Juan since its acquisition by Neil and Pleasure Marundan in 2021.

The White House San JuanThe bed room with balcony entry

The White House San JuanFantastically refurbished furnitures

The White Home San Juan now serves as an occasions venue. Whereas it has been well-maintained and partially modernized with additions like a contemporary kitchen, and air con. Some previous items of furnishings had been refurbished to retain their unique attraction. The unique macuha tiles, intricate decorative particulars, and spectacular octagonal corners on one aspect of the home are nonetheless intact.

Old San Juan RestaurantOne of many previous homes changed into industrial institution in San Juan poblacion

The Previous World Allure of San Juan Batangas

What units San Juan Batangas Poblacion aside is that a lot of its heritage within the core areas stay untouched by intensive commercialization. Merely strolling alongside the streets permits guests to find extra ancestral homes and constructions, though those talked about above are open to the general public.

Whereas most growth is concentrated close to the municipal space and extends past the city to leisure dwelling developments like Solmera Coast by DMCI Housesthe place you could find leisure residences in growth, if you wish to expertise San Juan’s old-world attraction, you want solely journey 12 km from Barangay Subukin and Calubcub. Moreover, in case you are staying on the seashore resorts in Laiya, that are about 20 km away (roughly a half-hour trip), you may simply discover the wealthy cultural and heritage aspect of San Juan, Batangas.


Ferdz Decena is an award-winning journey photographer, author and blogger. His works has discovered print in publications comparable to Singapore Airways’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airways’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has additionally lent his experience to numerous organizations just like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Basis, Save the Youngsters and World Imaginative and prescient, contributing high quality photographs for his or her advertising and marketing supplies.


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