Locating the Sto. Niño de la O gave me the opportunity to discover the small town of Pangil. From the church, I was directed to look for Ka Marie, daughter of the keeper of the Sto. Niño. Upon reaching Ka Marie’s home, I was told that she won’t be back until later in the afternoon. So what was left for me to do then to kill time but to discover the small town of Pangil.
Pangil is one of the oldest settlements in Laguna. This claim is borne out from the archeological diggings in the Barangay Sulib, where Chinese pottery dating back in to the Ming and Sung Dynasty were unearthed from the site. This indicates the town to be a major trading center in Southeast Asia at that time.
Founded in 1579, the town’s name was probably derived from a Malay ruler named Gat Panguil. It is also possible that name was derived from the shape of the town proper, which is shaped like a fang (or pangil in Tagalog).
Barangay Piit was once called Polvurista from the rootword pulvora or gunpowder. During the Spanish time, a gunpowder factory owned by the Zobels was situated in the barangay. The gunpowder was bought by the Spanish militia. The Zobels apparently changed sides and gave the precious black powder to the Filipino revolutionaries. The elder Zobel was arrested for treason and eventually perished in jail.
We passed by several resorts like Carlos and Gabriel resorts on our way to Barangay Piit to locate the old gunpowder factory. Upon reaching a vacant lot crowded with plant life, I walk towards the riverbank. I observed loose pieces of adobe blocks and some betel palms. Nuts from betel palms are used in manufacturing gunpowder. The old gunpowder factory is no longer there. I’ve learned from a local that the adobe walls of the gun powder factory were taken down and used to line the gutters of the road which I’ve noticed after I was told about it.
On our way down hill we saw the water bottling plant called Kata vil. This Filipino-Japanese company has sold the best water in Japan under the trade name Heaven Drops. The company claimed that the sweetest water can be found in the natural springs of Pangil.
We stopped by Bambang Hari Bridge to look at the river where Prince Carlos was said to have swam and fell in love with the small town.
Upon meeting Ka Marie later that afternoon, she told me that the image of the Sto. Niño is in Barangay Sulib with his father, Ka Goyong.
Third of four parts.To be concluded.
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