I got out one day, went straight to the jeep terminal near the market and just rode a jeep straight to Valencia. There I planned to hitch a ride to Casaroro Falls but I plan not to if I won’t get a good deal with the habalhabal (motorcycle operator). I just don’t have the money. I thought that if I won’t get a fair deal I’ll just walk around Valencia, a town situated at the base of the mountain.
Valencia was named by a pioneering Recollect Friar’s hometown in Spain. These Spaniards would improve the town by constructing community structures. Only the plaza and its fountain, which was created after the Friars successfully channeled the waters from the mountain to the present town remains. The people of this town has never forgotten the Augustinian Recollects contributions, they recently named a street that leads to the plaza after the Order. The same street has a commemorative inscription, “Recolletos Street, a fitting gesture in recognition of the Order of Augustinian Recollects’ integral achievements in this municipality for 152 years”, giving credit to the Padres who came to evangelized and care for the people of what was once feared settlement because of the Moro brigands who hid in its mountains. Now, I know why these missionaries, the Recoletos, are called “jungle specialist”. Another monument located at the church’s garden is that of Padre Ezekiel Moreno, A Spanish friar who was assigned in Las Pinas and Sto Tomas Batanggas. The Spaniard is considered as one of the founders of Puerto Princesa. He died a Bishop somewhere in Latin America. He was later made a saint because of his missionary work and his exemplary leadership.
The town has a charming sunken garden where people would go play games like volleyball ( believe it or not they play without rubber shoes!). The vast field becomes a tiange where people would huddle to buy ukay-ukay (also big biz in Dumaguete esp during Sundays) and some other stuff. The plaza also becomes the town’s open air coliseum for concerts and all other activities. These grounds for sure would be busy for next years elections. The Sunday bustle had a very festive mood, it was very organized, stalls were made of nipa and bamboo, and they were very good to look at. At the center of the plaza is the fountain of the Augustinian Recollects. The church and the Town hall sit side by side. The town center is surrounded by gigantic old acacia trees. Across is the town’s small mercado where you can find internet shops and some other cooperative office, the food in the mercado is ridiculously cheap. I ate a Bisayan soup called Vas-oy here, it’s made of cut meat and pork blood, it smells great and goes well with bread.
Walking around the town is good exercise. I decided to go to Casaroro the following week when conditions would be favorable. The streets are clean and the air is fresh. Because of its elevation, some of the rich families from the low lands have residences here. Some streets are lined with rambotan trees, so plenty that children don’t even bother to pick and play with it. The environment of Valencia is suitable for farming. Water is abundant which is channeled from the mountain. The town is also blessed with geothermal energy, since it was discovered the people of Valencia enjoys a reimbursement in their electricity bill (a resident said P800), now, that I think is cool!