Friday, July 4, 2014

Angono Petroglyphs in Binangonan - Part 1

The wife and I decided to spend some weekends exploring Rizal province where we have resided for the past 10 years. In my case, I have lived in Rizal since 1976 when our family transferred from a humble apartment in Mandaluyong to what was mostly undeveloped lands in Cainta. Many of what are now major roads like Marcos Highway, the Manila East Road and Imelda Avenue were not yet built or were just dirt roads to the east of metropolitan Manila. 

There are many things to see and do in Rizal given its rich history and the many attractions the towns have to offer. Foremost and most prominent among Rizal towns is its present capital Antipolo, which has been the destination of so many people for pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Antipolo is now a highly urbanised city with a population exceeding 670,000 people. 

Last weekend, we decided to take advantage of the good weather to go see the Angono petroglyphs that we had heard and read about many times before. Previously, we hesitated to go as there was little information on how to get to the site. A couple of years ago, I chanced upon a sign pointing to the petroglyphs site when I attended a workshop at a popular resort-casino complex in Binangonan. Nowadays, too, there are many maps to refer to for trips like this and so we used both the Google Maps and Waze applications in our phones to guide us in our trip. Following are some photos of the petroglyphs site from last weekend:

Sign along the private road leading to the main entrance to the museum.
This tunnel was constructed to lay down a water line for a prominent resort, casino and golf course development in Binangonan , Rizal. The tunnel though had another benefit - a direct and convenient access to the petroglyphs. There's a guard posted at the mouth of the tunnel and he guides visitors to park near the entrance to the tunnel as well as provide information for the short trek to the museum.
Emerging from the tunnel, the walk to the museum was an easy one and it helped that we had fair weather that morning. I can imagine the path can get muddy on rainy days.
We didn't ask if the location of the tunnel was planned together with those in-charge of caring for the petroglyphs. However, I would assume that the developer of the resort did a decent effort of not disturbing or damaging the petroglyphs. Kudos to these kinds of developers for helping preserve and promote national treasures.
The grounds are well kept and along the left towards the museum, you can get a good view of the golf course.
The petroglyphs were discovered by renowned National Artist Botong Francisco while hiking and exploring with boy scouts along what were supposed to be cliffs or rock formations on the mountain. Access was limited to the trail and steps constructed for people to get to the petroglyphs. At present, the National Museum maintains a small museum relating the story of the petroglyphs as well as displaying some archeological and paleontological finds in Rizal.
This print out on tarpaulin tells the story of the petroglyphs complete with photos showing them after discovery and during studies conducted at the site.
Rizal Province's history goes way, way back to a time when the Sierra Madre mountain range of Luzon was home to  an ancient people and prehistoric flora and fauna.
Photos show studies being undertaken on the petroglyphs and the geology of the area.
Some snippets of the write-up on the tarp.

We should preserve these National Cultural Treasures and to do so means the government should cooperate with private sector including companies and maybe private schools who would have the resources to help preserve these treasures.
There are a few more curiosities in the small museum at the site of the petroglyphs including replicas of  plates and stones bearing old writings.
Replica of the Laguna copper plate with inscriptions
There is also a replica of the stone tablets found in Masbate Island.
Replica of one of the stone tablets found in Masbate. One tablet was even used as a doormat  prior to being reported and studied! Such finds could have been properly identified if people were educated about our culture and the possibility that there are treasures like these that we tend to dismiss as ordinary objects.

The Philippines has been trading with China for centuries and proofs of this relationship are the Ming Dynasty ware that has been found in Rizal towns along the Laguna de Bay.
On display also are petrified remains (fossils) of a giant land turtle and pygmy stegodon that used to inhabit the Sierra Madres

More photos and kwento in Part 2!

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