0 [Dagupan] Cathedral of St John the Evangelist: Overgrown Time Trail

"Now I've found the gap. That tube leading me to sanity on travel is now patent."

I see Dagupan as a modern commercial space. Although every city or town in the Philippines shares a piece of history, Dagupan City's past seems to hide behind jeep-frenzied streets, numerous commercial banks, shopping centers, business establishments and modern malls.
 
[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist

[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist


Honestly I am running out of words to tell right now. I don't know how to describe this cathedral that is so silent, closed and aloof ▬ maybe because I am just preoccupied with the mindset that Dagupan is a contemporary landmass where mall culture is a fore and commercialism is a forerunner for economic development. If not for that leisurely walk around the city plaza, I would have not seen this great piece of the past.

An Overgrown Trail Back to the Past

For a citizen of Ilocos, a region teaming with old churches, I am used of seeing Spanish-era cathedrals to be situated in a spot where they are easily noticed. But in Dagupan, the Star Plaza Hotel and the Starbucks store along the main street are even more noticeable being located in a prime spot, hence, iconic landmarks; but not the Old Dagupan Cathedral.
[DAGUPAN] Star Plaza Hotel]

[DAGUPAN] Star Plaza Hotel in a prime location


When I was exploring Dagupan, even couple of years ago, I have always felt this emptiness inside whenever I step on this city. I usually go to Zamora street and eat street food then somehow the hollow part of my soul is partially filled. I also meet my relatives living here expecting to totally fill the emptiness but it was not always satisfying. There really is a missing link.

I don't know why Dagupan is so inexpressive. I always don't get the climax of travel euphoria. The feeling that links me to the past has been blocked along a time trail overgrown by lucid modernity.

[DAGUPAN] Zamora Street

[DAGUPAN] A silent, cool and pedestrian-friendly Zamora Street


Until I noticed this beautiful old cathedral; like I entered an another dimension in the city. The noisy busy streets, numerous business establishments tempting people to spend money and the hot weather seemed to be nonexistent.

The Missing Link

It is my first time to see this old cathedral. You know, I've always been a fan of old churches, ancestral houses and town squares. In Dagupan, the foregoing are so un-hyped. It's one major old city where CSI malls, boneless bangus and pigar-pigar are even more popular than the old cathedral, really. Yes, Dagupan is an old settlement where Douglas McArthur and his army once marched in World War II. But the glittering modernity is veiling the glamor of the past.

[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist

[DAGUPAN] a gloomy afternoon sky and the cathedral


The first time I noticed this old cathedral in Dagupan I said to myself, "Where are you?" I mean, why for the past couple of years of traveling to Dagupan for the love of bangus, I've never seen this? Now I've finally found the missing link. It was the grand structures of the past that's missing.

In every place I go, I always look forward into seeing grand structures of the past (and usually, these are Spanish-era churches and cathedrals). Now I've found the gap. That tube leading me to sanity on travel is now patent.

[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist

[DAGUPAN] Zamora Street relatively secludes the cathedral

[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist

[DAGUPAN] The cathedral door is sealed by this steel marked with 1898

[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist

[DAGUPAN] Sculpture at the façade


Dagupan has teased me many times. I was happy to finally see the source of the teasing. This cathedral made me love Dagupan as deep as my love for boneless bangus. I think I'm now contended this time. But of course I will dig history lessons more when I go back here. I'm at least happier now to have found the missing link; and that is the link to the past.

Stillness vs Busyness

The Old Dagupan Cathedral is a picture of stillness, silence and relative seclusion. The steel fence separates it from the busy daily activities of the Dagupeños. It's charm exudes words like "keep calm and meditate." However, in front of this seemingly silent cathedral is a daily picture of human routine that can not be calmed.

[DAGUPAN] St John Cathedral Façade

[DAGUPAN] Façade of the Old Dagupan Cathedral

[DAGUPAN] St John the Evangelist Cathedral

[DAGUPAN] In front of the Cathedral is a different world


In front of the cathedral is a busy market where people of all walks in life can not be tamed. Street vendors share a space with the narrow cathedral lobby separated by the intricate fences.

People come and go (they don't keep calm and go). It is a different world outside. Although I have been describing Zamora Street as a peaceful (yes it is), pedestrian-friendly and a not-so-noisy area, still, there is a human activity that can not be calmed down.

The busy market is filled with merchants and buyers. The economy revolves this way. I tried to approach some street vendors in front of the cathedral. What I discovered is a swing from spirituality to the reality (revealed in the next post). I still love the peaceful architecture of the cathedral though and I'm more than happy to have found the last piece to complete a life puzzle. And yes, Dagupan is one old beautiful city.

From there, what I discovered in front of the old cathedral is interesting. to be continued...
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