Pond of the grotto

The Park and the Church

From the Rizal Park, my mother and I went to our next stop.

Kapitolyo is the complex that houses the buildings of the Camarines Norte Provincial Capitol, Camarines Norte Development Cooperative, Camarines Norte Agro Sports Center, and the Camarines Norte Seed Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative. But what arrested my attention was the Freedom Park, a public green space that is 125.61 m (412.10 ft) long and 67.40 m (221.11 ft) wide. But it is irregularly shaped so there are areas that are not as big.

Serving as the demarcation between the parking lot and the park is a row of flags, which are the colors of the province and its many municipalities.

There are two statues in the park. The first is of the national hero Jose Rizal. The other is that of the local hero, Wenceslao “Bintao” Quinto Vinzons. Born on September 28, 1910 at Indan, Camarines Norte, Vinzons finished high school as a valedictorian then went to Manila to study at the University of the Philippines (UP), where he became a student leader, president of the student council, and the editor in chief of the Philippine Collegian, the official student paper of UP. He gained his law degree in 1932 and placed third in the bar exams. He was one of the people who voted for Tagalog as the official language of the Philippines and he was also one of the signatories of the 1935 Constitution. During the Japanese Occupation of WWII, he organized the resistance of the region and was successful in freeing Daet from the invading forces. His untimely demise was the result of a betrayal of a former guerilla, leading to his death by bayonets on July 15, 1942. He and his father, sister, wife, and two children met their fate at the hands of the Japanese.

Across the F. Pimentel Ave. from the Freedom Park is the St. John the Baptist Church, a Baroque-style church built in 1611. Also known as St. John the Baptist Parish Church and Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, it was created under the orders of Fray Alonzo de Valdemoro.

Upon entering the gate, we were greeted by a grotto that faced the church. Its enclosure included a small pond.

Inside the church, I discovered a statue of the dead Christ. There were two other statues, both painted gold but neither could I identify. Morning light flooded the hall from the portals along the walls and the diamond windows from the roof. Hanging from the ceiling was an intricate metal chandelier.

The altar stands on a marble dais and features a lone, golden retablo that is both simple and sophisticated. A silver solar disk and a white dove crown the retablo.

The lone retablo of the church
The lone retablo of the church

Exiting, I discovered that the church hid its original block columns behind the reconstructed and painted walls. I went out via the baptistery, a small, octagonal room. And just as we were leaving the compound, I found the Adoration Chapel but I did not have time to enter.

Where else were we going? That is for the next post.

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