Historic Palo, Leyte

Sixty-four years ago today, the Allied Forces’ invasion plans to retake the Philippines from the Japanese Empire was already in motion with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Theatre in World War II, setting foot ashore at Palo, Leyte on October 20, 1944, thus fulfilling his promise to return and liberate the nation.

Let me feature then some photos I’ve taken of Palo, Leyte – a sleepy, conservative and historic town 12 kilometers south of Tacloban City.

img_6482w.jpg

The Bernard Reed Bridge crossing Bangon River upon entering Palo poblacion.

img_6490w.jpg

Bangon River

img_6494w.jpg

Bangon River

My mother, Nieves Dolina-Ruiz, was a native of Palo. I remember her regaling us with stories on how, when they were kids, they’d go out and spend the day swimming and diving from what was then a narrow, creaky wooden bridge into the Bangon River in photo above. The river then, I’m sure, wasn’t murky yet.

70810DOTCaravanW-2774

The ancestral home of the Pedrosa’s with the Palo Public Library at the ground floor, at the junction of the Maharlika National Highway. Turning left leads motorists to Liloan, Southern Leyte and on to Mindanao; turning right leads one to Ormoc City/Biliran Province.

img_6471w.jpg

The Palo Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord founded in 1596 by the Jesuits, served as an evacuation hospital of the Allied Forces and civilian refugees during World War II in 1944.

macarthurmemorialpark-w.jpg

The MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte.

Update on Feb 29, 2008:

img_w-6081.jpg

Palo as viewed from the air (photo taken Oct. 29, 2007)

Update on Feb 24, 2010: View my post on Bangon River at https://gerryruiz.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/cruising-down-bangon-river-of-palo/

~ by gerryruiz on 19 October 2007.

36 Responses to “Historic Palo, Leyte”

  1. Gerry,

    Saw my name at the bottom of your Historic Palo page so, might as well.

    Me and Tess are, as of now, surrounded by huge volumes of water (after having been in the midst of the recent Orange County firestorms recently): Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that feed the Niagara Falls. We are looking down over the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side (specifically, from our 18th floor Sheraton at the Falls hotel room). Hmmm.

    Nag-share pala ako kan Mae (Delgado) hinin akon estorya by e-mail so might as well, padayon nala an parayaw. A few days back, we sang together with her other sisters and selected members of An Taclobanon ha L.A. as a choral group dubbed “Friends in Harmony.” Ambot ano nga hangin, we got an invitation from a friend to join their yearly church songfest named “Singing Up His Praise.” Pag e-mail pala ni Tita Mae wishing us a good time.

    And now, Bangon River in Palo – tubig na liwat. The Niagara Falls’ grand fluffy baritone never fails to keep me thinking of this life’s magical sideshows. And so does the humble hum of the mini falls that the Bangon river water makes under the “Purisima” bridge. I do have the best of both worlds having been born and raised there before doing DWU, and ultimately marrying and living in Tacloban before migrating to the US.

    The not-so-distant noise that the Niagara Falls makes into our hotel room reminds me so much of the raging sound Bangon makes when you go really up close, especially after a heavy rain. As kids, we would go under the Purisima bridge and challenge each other to hop on the uneven slippery rocks. We’d try to scare each other about the deep “kaban-kaban” near the mini falls “where all who go under are sucked in by the current and never make it back – one would just drown and stir a huge small town news.”

    I just want to thank you for taking the time to do this. You can never imagine how many times I have played with my imagination about this river, being surrounded by walkways on both sides and littered with food and souvenir shops then, well-lighted at night.

    This is getting longer now and it’s getting late in here. We will be back in Orange County Thursday so we will make the most of what we have left of our trip here.

    Peace and greetings.
    Nonong and Tess Corpin-Agner

  2. Hi Nongski! You just confirmed it – that old creaky bridge (now rehabilitated with steel iron stuff) is Purisima Bridge. I had nobody to ask info from and get an immediate reply, so I opted not to mention about its name.

    Thanks for dropping by. Gee, Niagara Falls I haven’t been to – it remains in my travel wish list. 🙂 best regards!

  3. Mano Gerry and Man’ Nonong,

    This is Carlito Agner, han mga Agner dida ha ubos han Bernard Reed Br. tabok ha Luntad. Aadi na ako yana naukoy ha Raleigh, North Carolina after moving from Michigan. From that picture of the bridge I can still see Kadoy doing the “American dive” all the way to the river in a perfect “10”. My brother also died on that spot where the bridge begins. Damo nga salamat hini nga imo mga pictures. Palo is still beautiful.
    Regards ha iyo ngatanan ngan maupay nga Pasko!

    Carlito Agner and family.

  4. Hello everybody, especially to Mano Gerry and Mano Nonong:

    “You can never imagine how many times I have played with my imagination about this river, being surrounded by walkways on both sides and littered with food and souvenir shops then, well-lighted at night”.

    I was awed struck by this statement by Mano Nonong which I would like to connect with the description given to us by Mano Gerry about Bangon:

    “My mother, Nieves Dolina-Ruiz, was a native of Palo. I remember her regaling us with stories on how, when they were kids, they’d go out and spend the day swimming and diving from what was then a narrow, creaky wooden bridge into the Bangon River in photo above. The river then, I’m sure, wasn’t murky yet”.

    These statements are very meaningful to me as team leader for the conduct of the Pre-Master Planning for the Rehabilitation and Development of Bangon, River.

    1. The rehabilitation plan intends to make the river suitable for swimming and diving and where households could culture fish/aquatic resources and conduct economic activities as means to improve quality of life.

    2. The development plan on the other hand would like to transform the area, as what Mano Nonong dreamed, into a place one can visit and spend quality time. Construction of walkways at the river banks (funds already alloted), transfer of buildings constructed at the river banks, construction of park near the Purisima Bridge, promotion of floating restaurants, boating activities, fresh fish culture, establishments of gift shops, among others.

    These are in line with Palo’s strategic thrust to be the center of eco-cultural tourism destination of Region 8 with the Bangon River as the icon. Tourists will have the option to enter Palo by boat through the Bangon River from the MacArthur Park, disembark at the Purisima Bridge, visit the Cathedral, view old houses, museum, etc. and and go mountain climbing at Hill 522, either by foot thru a mountain trail passing the Miraculous Purisima Shrine or through the 90 degrees cliff. The nature trekking proceeding to the cross and the Japanese foxholes, to the eco-tourism park at the Danao Lake, waterfalls at Barangay Barayong, and down to Campetik and back to MacArthur’s Park.

    In our research, we found out that Bangon was once the cradle of trade and commerce in this part of Leyte and Samar endowed with historic importance and natural resourcest that could be one of the eco-tourism destinations in this part of the globe.

    Mano Nonong and Mano Gerry, your dream about the river is about to come true… it would take sometime but it’s always nice to start with a single step. And that step started from all of us…our dream.

  5. Asisbel, this is truly wonderful news! If you don’t mind, would appreciate it if you could tell us more about your organization and, of course, your name. 🙂 Thank you!

  6. Gerry,
    Thank you for your outstanding job in featuring the historic spots in our beloved Palo. Mauli-uli na naman. Hina-ot unta nga matuman ito nga mga inop pag pa-upay ngan pag pahusay hiton kapaligiran hit Bangon. It’s no wonder if in the near future Palo will be crowded with tourists from all over the world… malipayon gud kami nga duro. Continue the super job, Gerry! Sayonara, Fel & BB

  7. Damo nga salamat, Fel & BB. The pleasure’s mine 🙂

  8. Update: Asisclo Belena (asisbel in an earlier comment above) is with the Department of Trade and Industry Regional Office No. 8 and also helps Palo’s Local Government Unit thru the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator, Engr. Federico Lago. He is also actively involved with the Palo Parish.

    Again, thanks a lot Asisclo for your comments here. 🙂

  9. Gerry, thanks for this blog of yours I got to send a Priest friend pics of Palo Cathedral for a sacred Arts class at UST. Just would like to comment on the Palo Cathedral’s History: Palo Cathedral was founded by the Jesuits in 1596 and not by Augustinians as what you have written. The Jesuits founded the town of Palo on the same year and built the church just the same first out of nipa and later on in coral stone once the town became a permanent mission station. It’s so sad from conservationists and historians alike that the Cathedral was renovated without considering its historical and heritage value by changing the original design of the church. I would say whoever was responsible had committed a crime. Hope you could do some corrections for history’s sake. God Bless. Continue this blog; it’s really awesome. You must be a pro in photography! kudos to all!

  10. Hi Ferderiz Cantiller! I humbly apologize for the erroneous entry about the founding of the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. I have seen the cathedral’s historical marker which clearly states it was “…constructed by the Jesuits in 1596, taken over by the Augustinians 1768, by the Franciscans 1843…”

    I have made the proper correction in the photo caption above.

    I must have gotten the erroneous data from any of the following:

    http://www.globalpinoy.com/travel/province/leyte.php
    http://www.philtourism.com/spots/mpbr_spot3.html

    Thanks for pointing this error out to me. Mabuhay ka!

  11. Hi Ferderiz and Gerry,
    Big thanks for all these info’s about Palo Cathedral. Now I have an additional interesting story to brag about to my friends hehehe..

  12. Palo is still the best! Better than Manila! Sa Palo, hindi polluted… pero sa Manila ang itim ng langit…

  13. Hello again.

    I just would like to make an update. Palo has already initiated the Tourism Master Planning with the German Technical Assistance and DTI Leyte Provincial Office headed by Desiderio P. Belas, Jr. A tourism expert was hired for the master planning and this coming month there will be an operational planning.

    There were a lot of tourism circuits identified for promotion and development and one of these was the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. The planning was also timely as the good Parish Priest Msgr. Ramon Stephen Aguilos thought of setting up a Heritage, Research and Information Unit in the Parish Pastoral Council. The plan was fully supported by the Leyte Heritage Center of the University of Philippines, Eastern Visayas Campus thru Director Joyce Alegre Adorado. As a result of these initiatives, a heritage showcase was set up at the New Parish Center, Cathedral Rectory, Palo, Leyte. The showcase highlights the religious sculptors, original compositions, etc. by Palo’s noted artists, painters, sculptors among others. It was opened last 15 June and will end on the 29th of this month. In tandem with this showcase is a heritage seminar featuring known authorities in the field from Manila. The seminar will be conducted on 18 June at the Archbishop Cipriano V. Urgel Hall near the Palo Cathedral Rectory. This is only the beginning of what I posted last January this year.

  14. Yes, congrats on the opening of the 2-week long Religious Heritage showcase! Msgr Ramon Aguilos informed me about it.

  15. Gerry,

    I spotted my name being mentioned in this exchange so I thought of sharing a few thoughts regarding the Religious Heritage Showcase which we organized last June 15-29. But instead of crafting another essay on religion, heritage and culture, I am pasting here the prefatory remarks I made when we opened the exhibits last June 15. These introductory statements were posted at the exhibit hall during the entire duration.

    Pagsubay: A Showcase of Palo’s Religious Heritage

    The Paloanos’ faith in God has through these centuries been a vital part of their culture. Its influence has been pervasive and has had a profound impact in their lives.

    Throughout Palo’s socio-cultural history, the Catholic Church has been a major influence towards strengthening this faith. Her presence has continued to move and mold Paloanos in a constructive manner.

    Secured in the Paloanos’ mental and physical landscapes are the visual and literary artworks, musical compositions and arrangements crafter and/or authored by their fellow Paloanos. These outputs reflect not only their artistic, literary and musical genius; they are likewise visible expressions of their religiosity, piety and lived faith.

    Since Palo as a community is the nerve-center of the religious and faith life of the archdiocese, there is a need to preserve these religious expressions and symbols of the Paloanos’ faith.

    There has to be a yearning for Paloanos to rediscover their roots. The present generation of Paloanos ought to get acquainted with their forebears’ contribution to the preservation of their culture, the deepening of their religious devotion and the strengthening of their faith.

    This showcase is a product of the common longing of like-minded Paloanos to preserve the integrity of the cultural religious heritage of their beloved hometown. They believe that these literary, artistic and musical expressions are a valuable cultural heritage which identify them as a distinct people, and that these are legacies that future generations can learn from and build on.

    By caring for the past, they can make a difference for the future.

  16. TY for posting pictures of the Bangon River where I learned my first swimming lessons from my barkadas… the Gatela and Mari families. Dida la kami na-reside harani hit nga river… an usa la nga Raagas family dida an akon mother Peneda.

    Yana diri na pwede ka magkarigo dida kay mahugaw na. Anyway, we will be there this Dec to spend our X’mas with my family. Again, salamat hin madamo ha imo. More power!

  17. We hope someday there will be a sidewalk alley on both sides of the river. It will be a great dream-come-true para ha amon nga mga taga-Palo. Sana, matuman ini. Adanced nga “Maupay nga Pasko” ha iyo nga mga taga-Palo. Yana nga year, ada kami magpapasko!

  18. hi! i like your blog!

  19. Good day Nanong Jerry,

    Bangon river is not only in Purisima, tikang pa ini ha libertad, palo, mayda pa ini mas mauruupay nga view didto mayda ko picture ha akon friendster, Ha pagpaupay han bangon river nagtukod kami hin usa nga grupo an SAVE BANGON RIVER MOVEMENT ngan yana nga OCTOBER 19, mayda usa nga GAKIT RACE COMPITATION matikang ha Purisima Bridge tikadto ha Libertad “upstream” ini in usa la nga pitad pagpakita hin gugma ngada hini nga salug. 15 nga gakit it mabulig hini. pagkita kamo….

  20. Wow! Nice photo blog. I’m from Palo. So amu ngean ini it itsura hit Palo ha igbaw. ehehe…

  21. WarayBatasan:
    There is another view, if you dare. Padayon pagsaka ha Guinhangdan Hill via ha Purisima, hasta umabot ka ngadto hit nga Krus. The view is great from up there. Take care though not to slip and fall down. I’ve been there when I was a teener and it was great up there.
    Is it still allowed to climb up there nowadays, though?

  22. hello,
    ty for this. i’m so happy to see your pics of palo, leyte. i’m victoria macdonald and i resided in palo before. i have kids there and i was always at bagon river to wash clothes. l now ive in orland, usa, married to an american.

  23. Good afternoon Gerry,

    I truly enjoyed all the pictures with such gracious view of my hometown Palo. Leaving Philippines back in 1969 still remains that Palo will always be my whole as home sweet home in Cavite West. We have three daughters that live in Idaho and Washington State and the last time that we all took our vacation when my mother passed away (Inocencia Fumar Dotado) the cathedral was full of family members, relatives, friends and it was so meaningful that five priest held the funeral mass and it was a lasting message from the priests of what Mama has contributed to the church.

  24. Hi! Nice pix of Palo especially the Bangon River. Actually we had our ancestral house there pero wala na ngayon, luyo han matadero he..he! Generoso Alvarado Sr. was my Lolo. I really love Palo!

  25. Nice pics. Though I don’t know you personally, thanks hit nga guapo nga mga pics labi an Bangon River. Diri ko mai-ihap kon pira nga urang (shrimp), tilapia, karpa, kasili (eel) an ak naka-on until pag-abot ko ngadi ha US. I still remember myself and the Purisima boys diving tikang dida hit igbaw hit tulay (St. Bernard Ridge Bridge) ngada ha Bangon River especially during San Juan Day (feast Of St. John). Marisyo huna-huna-on pero mamingaw pag pinanumdumon… mauli-uli na.
    Again, damo nga salamat and keep up the good work! Pls continue uploading beautiful sceneries of Palo and its neighboring towns as well, GOD BLESS!

  26. Fantastic views…. 🙂 Keep on uploading beautiful spots in Palo, hope to visit & see them personally hehehe..,Thanks!

  27. Hello kamo nga tanan, buligan naton an Palo bisan man la
    pag-ampo nga magmarisyo kita ngan ayaw na paglinabugi hin
    mga basura ha Bangun, alayon pagsiring ha ira… God Bless
    You All – Tommy

  28. Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures. I am the proud daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Romeo Pallares….

  29. baga namariyahaw ak barahibo pagkita ko han picture han tulay ha purisima. waray gud ako umilob pagtabuk hito nga tulay. that was way back sometime in 1967. he he he katalaw nala. a-adi gad la ako ha mindanao, waray na maka-uli tikang nag sundalo. ma-uli-uli man masurosul’ot ak biste nga ta-is/dupol. . . Salamat, Gerry. – bodoy

  30. maupay nga aga tanan nga taga palo. maupay kay may pix han bangon river na nanumdum ak pag mag agi ha tulay tikadto ha purisima kun semana santa. regards han ak mga kabatch ha st mary’s academy, batch 87. a-adi la ak ha mindanao yana na asign. – ricky

  31. Palo gives me a feeling of loneliness. When I was a kid we used to pass by Palo in going to Tanauan, Leyte on board a gov’t dump truck, usually night time. The driver was my uncle named, Igme Naraja. Pls, allow me to inquire if the family of Saboren is still residing in such place. I know of some who are now residing in the USA. Regards to my kumare Angie.

  32. Gerry,
    I want to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful images of Palo. I currently live in Michigan, USA and am planning on moving to Palo to be with my fiance in a few short weeks. It is going to be a whole new world for me, and your beautiful pictures give me an insight of what is in store for me.

    My fiance is a born-and-raised native of San Jose-Tacloban and currently works in Palo. We have reviewed several areas, and decided on Palo due to the close proximity of her employment, closeness to her family in San Jose, and the beautiful area. I’m truly looking forward to the move. If only I was able to learn Waray Waray faster (hahaha).

    Again, thank you for the pictures, maybe we will meet once I am there.

    Nelson

    • My pleasure, Nelson. Please don’t hesitate to drop by at calle Z Cafe and call my attention. Lots of cold San Miguel beer – one of the best beers in world – await you! Cheers! 🙂

  33. Just stumbled upon this website as one of my colleagues here in Sydney is so curious about my surname. We googled PALO and we came up with several sites. I’ve never been to this place although I’ve known it from my father who said that his great-grandfather came from this place. Would be a long story. Looking at the place, it seems very beautiful.

    Never knew that this place is so rich in history and religion and reading from Wikipedia today the origin was so profound. Love to come one day.

    Ed Palo
    Sydney, Australia

  34. These statements are very meaningful to me as team leader for the conduct of the Pre-Master Planning for the Rehabilitation and Development of Bangon, River.

    1. The rehabilitation plan intends to make the river suitable for swimming and diving and where households could culture fish/aquatic resources and conduct economic activities as means to improve quality of life.

    2. The development plan on the other hand would like to transform the area, as what Mano Nonong dreamed, into a place one can visit and spend quality time. Construction of walkways at the river banks (funds already alloted), transfer of buildings constructed at the river banks, construction of park near the Purisima Bridge, promotion of floating restaurants, boating activities, fresh fish culture, establishments of gift shops, among others. * its sept 29, 2011…what happened?! ..and where are the funds?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: