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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Things to do in Angeles City

When we travel, it's ironic how we visit museums in other places but it is least likely that we have been to museums within our vicinity.  Like I grew up in Pampanga but I couldn't remember ever been going to a local museum. Last weekend was my first time to go to one when my friends and I visited the Museo ning Angeles and Holy Angel University museum.  I was surprised to learn a lot about the Pampanggo heritage.

Here's the Museo ning Angeles (Museum of Angeles) signage by the talented Pampanggo artist, chef, author, writer, Claude Tayag.  The carving is made from an old karetela wheel.

Inside the Museo ng Angeles, you'll find old photos of the city, prominent people who shaped its heritage, important historical events of the city, as well as artifacts.
Here's a vine of Culiat.  Unknown to some, Culiat was the original name of Angeles as the area was full of Culiat vines when its founder, Don Angelo Panteleon Miranda discovered it.
Here's a photo of the rotunda of Angeles City in 1945.  My friend said this is the area where Puregold stands today. It would be interesting to see the "Then and Now" photos for easy reference. Haha...
There's an old house in Angeles City near the Church called Pamintuan Mansion.  According to stories, Aguinaldo celebrated the first anniversary of Philippine independence in this house - as he happened to be in Angeles at that time.
Here is the Pamintuan Mansion today.
Here's a photo of a Japanese Kempeitai Commandant.  The caption says that the Kempeitai was the most dreaded unit of the Imperial Japanese Army known for its heinous torture methods and executions.
But what surprised me was to see photos of Japanese soldiers in a different light.  There were soldiers who were friendly with Filipinos. Check out this Japanese soldier with his little Filipino tomodachi (friend).

Some Japanese soldiers showed fondness for Filipino kids.  Check these out.
And there were even Japanese-Filipino Friendship parties.
Another photo which caught my eye was a collection of photos showing Angeles in different perspectives.  Some would say it's a city of lost angels because of its red light district.

This photo was taken in 1968.  Check out what the girl was wearing - this was considered as daring and bold then. Wow, times have really changed!

You'll also find antique items at Museo ning Angeles. Check these out.

There are also beautiful dioramas in the museum such as this depicting a procession of the Virgin Mary.

An old Pampanggo kitchen depicting how the girls are trained in the kitchen at a young age.

Look at how detailed the dioramas are. Beautiful.   According to the guide, this specific diorama was by another talented Pampanggo, Patis Tesoro.

Among the dioramas, this is the one which caught my attention as my friend relayed the miraculous story of a convicted man during the Spanish era.
I also checked Wikipedia to validate the story. The story goes that sometime in October 1897, there were Katipuneros who entered the boundary of Angeles.  When the Spaniards got wind of it, they searched for these Katipuneros.  They interrogated people for the Katipuneros' whereabouts but to no avail.  There was this innocent man who was accused of lying and withholding info about the said Katipuneros so he was put on trial and was declared guilty.

The man was Roman Payumu, nicknamed Duman.  He was a religious man and was a devotee of the Apung Mamacalulu (Lord of Mercy). Duman was a volunteer cargador of Apung Mamacalulu (Santo Entierro or Dead Body of Christ) during processions.  Everyday, he would also pass by the Holy Rosary Parish Church to pray to Apung Mamacalulu. 

On the day of Duman's execution, he asked the soldiers if he could pray first to Apu before they kill him.  But since it was siesta time, the church was closed so he went to the door closest to the statue, knelt and prayed to Apu.  In the Wikipedia entry, there was even a record of his prayer because apparently, the parish priest was at the other side of the church door and heard Duman's prayer asking Apu to save him.
He was mocked and ridiculed by the soldiers as he prayed. When the soldiers were about to execute him, Duman just felt the ropes on his hands loosened.  He took it as a sign of help from Apu and ran to the sugarcane fields (where Holy Angel University stands now). 

It was considered miraculous because other than the ropes loosening, the soldiers who fired bullets (the soldiers were using top of the line guns at that time) didn't hit him considering he was just less than 10 ft away! In the Wikipedia entry, it is said that Duman was hit at the heel, fell into a hole and hid there.  The Spanish soldiers tried to search for him and even poked at every hole they saw with their bayonets but they never found him. Duman survived and escaped. Such an inspiring story. Everything looked impossible but his prayer was answered by Apu.

Museo ning Angeles is just across the Holy Rosary Parish Church so after our museum visit, we went to visit the church - it's the same church where Duman prayed to Apu.
Inside the church, you will find the Santo Entierro or Apung Mamacalulu.  There are 2 statues of this Dead Body of Christ. My friend said that once upon a time (in 1928), while the statue was in a procession, it got stolen.  Decades after, the statue surfaced but they were two of them.  One was housed in a small chapel and the other one in the big Church. For a complete story, you can check out this article from a historian. Most believe that the original is the one in the small chapel but there are some who believe that the original one is in the big church.  But I think it doesn't matter which is which because the fact remains that when you pray to Apu, no matter how impossible your petitions may seem, Apu listens and answers them.

Here's a close up shot of Apung Mamacalulu.  Apu, please answer my prayers too. :)
At the side of the church altar, you'll find the tombstones of the founder of Angeles City.
Here's the main entrance of the Church.  Check out the solid wooden door - door within a door - a trademark of old Churches.
Just across the Holy Rosary Parish Church is the Holy Angel University - the biggest university in Luzon.  What's interesting about this University is it offers Kapampangan studies.  At least, the interest is kept alive and there's an active effort to preserve the Pampanggo dialect and heritage.
We visited the Holy Angel University Museum - this museum focuses on the Pampanggo heritage in general versus Museo ning Angeles which focuses on Angeles.  The first thing that you would see is this retablo presenting all the various patron saints of the towns of Pampanga.

I looked for the patroness of my parents' hometown  - St. Rita de Cascia.

And the patron saint of the town where I grew up - San Fernando.  Ok, I've to admit that I couldn't find him at first so I had to check the museum's cheat sheet! Haha... It's been a long while since I had been to the Cathedral.
At the base of the retablo was detailed metalcraft called "pukpuk".

See how detailed the designs are. I never knew about this Pampanggo craftmanship until this museum visit!  According to the info I read, a few Pampanga towns still practice pukpuk today like Apalit and Mexico.

Within the museum, you'll also find death masks by notable death mask artist and National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon V. Abueva.  The tradition of doing death masks dates back to our ancestors "to preserve the last facial features of the dead as a way of honoring them and perpetuating their memory".
Abueva has so far done 3 death masks - masks of Ninoy Aquino, Fernando Poe Jr and Cardinal Sin.  The death masks of Ninoy and FPJ (who both have Kapampangan roots) are displayed in the museum.
Here is Ninoy's death mask.

Here is FPJ's death mask. I didn't actually know FPJ had Pampanggo roots. But based on the article, FPJ's grandmother hails from either Candaba or Lubao who married an American World War I Army Corps.
Within Holy Angel University, you can also visit its beautiful chapel.

Beautiful pukpuk artwork!

There's also this interesting artwork entitled "Kamulatan" in the school grounds.  So many talented Pampanggo artists!

Museo ning Angeles is open daily from 9am to 5pm.  You can also arrange for special Kapampangan lunch, night tour and even a guided tour around the city.  To contact them, please call +63 45 8874703 and +63 926 9876655.  Sorry I don't know the schedule of the Holy Angel University Musuem but the people from Museo ning Angeles should be able to help you too.

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