Wednesday, July 26, 2006

THE ROAD TO ALMAGUER: FLEEING PIDDIG, HAVEN IN BAYOMBONG

The Spanish-era church of Dingras was destroyed by earthquake and fire in 1913 and has not been restored until today (I personally believe that it should have been left alone or another church should have been built instead if the present one across the ruins is not enough; I consider the restoration a cultural desecration). The author of what could have been the third church to be built by the Spanish in Dingras in 1879 is either Fr. Damaso Vieytez (OSA) or Fr. Ricardo Deza (OSA). It was once one of the biggest churches in the Philippines. Dingras is the birthplace of our great maternal grandfather Lakay Burik (aka Sixto Lazaro).



Enticed by his cousin Miguel, Lakay Burik decided to migrate to Nueva Vizcaya at around the first decade of the 1900s and settled in a place called Piddigan (later renamed La Torre in honor of the Spanish Governor Ramos de la Torre). Piddigan or La Torre is part of Bayombong that was established as a pueblo in 1739 by the Augustinians. It was, however, a Dominican --- Fr. Juan Crespo --- who started building the present church in 1773 that now serves as the diocesian cathedral and dedicated to Santo Domingo. Only the fa├žade and the bell tower were left of the original structure.



Piddigan was so called because its first settlers were from Piddig, Ilocos Norte. According to family historians from my mother’s side, Miguel Castrovierde Tomas and his brothers killed the cruel Spanish priest of Piddig by stabbing him with a puyod. They then fled to Nueva Vizcaya, founded the barrio of Piddigan, and changed their names into Castros, Vierdes/Verdes, and Tomases. Miguel and his brothers became the Tomas branch. When the Americans invaded, they went back to Piddig to fetch their relatives to join them in Piddigan. That is how their first cousin Lakay Burik joined them.

I visited the church of Piddig (dedicated to Sta. Ana) on the same day I visited Dingras in 17 June 2005. In Dingras, I tried to commune with the spirits of my ancestors. In Piddig, I lighted a candle to hail the bravery of Miguel and his brothers and ask forgiveness for their deed. There are no records on when and who built the church but it is believed to be one of the earliest churches in the province of Ilocos Norte. It served as the headquarters of Filipino revolutionaries during the Filipino-American War, and by American forces during World War II. Piddig is also rich in local history: it was its conscripted skilled Tingguian archers who captured Gabriela Silang in 1762 and was the center of the 1806-1807 Basi Revolt led by Pedro Mateo and Salarogo Ambaristo. Its first Filipino parish priest, Fr. Jose Castro, became the country’s first Aglipayan priest when the Augustinians fled in the aftermath of the Filipino-Spanish War. Piddig is also the birthplace of Claro Caluya --- the “prince of Ilocano poets”, and Sgt. Teofilo Ildefonso --- the country’s only double Olympic bronze medalist.


Miguel did not stay long in Piddigan. At around 1906, he and some settlers relocated in a place near Bantay Sabon --- a forested area they passed along the dacquel nga carayan on their way to Piddigan where pure water bubbles from a spring that feeds into a creek with eels as big as a man’s leg. Lakay Burik again joined his cousin in this place where he cleared his dappat and raised his family. It is called Almaguer.

7 comments:

bestusedcarrs said...

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yo4rker said...

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newloghere said...

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dheeee said...

i really appreciate your work.. good thing i opened your flickr accnt, i found many interesting places about my report.. thanks anyway.

Mario said...

I am from Piddig, Ilocos Norte and a member of the Tomas family. Your site is very informative. Your story about the Tomases who killed their parish priest and fled to Vizcaya is new to me.

efadrayan21 said...

My maternal side is from Dingras, Ilocos Norte. The last name is Flordeliza.I was born there. My family had a house at barangay Guerrero. My family(50 years ago) moved to Mondragon, NOrthern Samar, hometown of my late father. Whereas, I now live with my own family here in Anchorage, Alaska since 1986. My search for a means to establish contact from amongst my relatives led me to your site. It is a thrill to see a picture of the church and to know the details that you gave. My friends and I, as kids, played and climbed the passage way within the walls of the church that goes up to the altar.Did not appreciate then the historical value of this site. Thank you for your posting. Sure brings back memories.

yoyen said...

gusto q n uling bumalik jan s piddig and visit tita anna...thank you for accomodating us.....love the place