Heritage Walk

One of the highlights of our second day in the island of Siquijor (Isla del Fuego as called by the Spaniards during the Spanish era) is the heritage walk as we explores Lazi Convent in front of the St. Isidore Church in the municipality of Lazi.

We didn’t plan to go here, we were bound to the Cambugahay Falls. Luckily this beautiful structure caught our eyes as soon as we passed through Lazi – it’s red roof and lush green surroundings.

The Lazi Convent, also known as the San Isidro Labrador Parish Convent, was built from 1887-1891 under the supervision of then parish priest Fr. Toribio Sanchez. The convent is considered to be one of the biggest convents in the Philippines, and it is built with the style of balay na bato (house of stone) which was introduced by the Spaniards. If you have been to Manila’s walled city, Intramuros, or other heritage towns like Taal, or Vigan, this architecture would be similar to the old heritage houses. The first floor is built of stone slabs, and the second floor is built of wood.

The Lazi Convent had a peaceful atmosphere, the second floor spacious and airy. The windows were made of wood with color stained glass, and the view from these windows spectacular: on one side the convent overlooks the garden, and the front gave a vantage point of the church. The sound of my steps on the wooden floor echoed along its halls. D and I had the place to ourselves – it was like a walk back in time. I imagined how it must have felt like back in the late 1800s, it was surreal.

Because it served as Siquijor Heritage Museum there were ancient artifacts and religious relics on display. Among these, this little organ was quite impressive. The photo of Fr. Sanchez also made me stop and think – this man who resembled my late Uncle Nazareth, made his grand vision come to life. Lazi Convent served as a place of rest and recovery for sick priests back in the day, due to ita clean air and relaxing surroundings.

I am blessed to have been given the chance to find and explore this place. There is indeed many pockets of precious finds quietly tucked in all corners of the Philippines. I hope these can be preserved and enjoyed by many generations yet to come.

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