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Misamis Occidental: Still keeping history’s greatest gifts

Efforts by the local government and the people themselves, prove to be very successful, as some of the Subanen cultural symbols have been preserved.

Among the province’s most visited tourist spots are historical sites that reflect the province’s rich history and cultural heritage.

The San Juan Bautista Church in Jimenez

You can tell that the people and government of Misamis Occidental are strongly committed to preserving its gifts from the past. This is by looking at the amount of care they have been giving their culture and historical landmarks.

Home to a group of Subanen people who have been inhabiting the Western part of Mindanao, even before the arrival of the Spaniards in the late 1500s.

Looking around at many historic sites in the province, one can say that the Subanen pride remains alive today, even though the province continues to embrace the gifts of modernity. Efforts by the local government and the people themselves, prove to be very successful, as some of the Subanen cultural symbols have been preserved. That said, the legacy of the Spaniards is likewise protected, which is why the province is also home to some of Mindanao’s most beautiful Christian churches.

In the town of Jimenez, the most striking treasure that the Catholic faith bestowed to its people remain the San Juan Bautista Church (also called Jimenez Church), whose 19th Century Baroque features, is among the most preserved in the country.

The Baroque interior of the San Juan Bautista Church in Jimenez

Marvel at the incredible legacy of the Spanish colonization, and feel the surreal feeling of getting transported into the past, just by visiting Jimenez’s ancestral houses.

Colonial houses in Jimenez, a heritage town

More efforts are undoubtedly required to ensure the integrity of the houses, but one cannot deny the amount of work already done to keep them in their original form. The original Bacarro Printing Press site (also known as Aldren Nacion’s residence) is a sight to behold among the colonial houses in the area.

The walls in Cotta, Ozamis City

The walled city of Cotta in Ozamis is a world unto itself, offering a glimpse into the province’s Spanish past. The fort houses some of the province’s most striking historical landmarks, as well as symbols of the Misamisnon people’s strong Catholic faith, such as the renowned Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The church was dedicated to the Miraculous Virgin Mary of Cotta.

Meanwhile, the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga is home to the massive Christ, the Redeemer statue, which is a replica of the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kublai Millan, a Davao-based artist, created the imposing landmark. The modern Church of St. Matthews in Aloran is a shining symbol of the town’s dominant Christian faith.

Christ, the Redeemer statue in The Caluya Shrine, Sapang Dalaga

If you want to visit the province by air, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines both have cheap flights to Ozamis from Cebu and Manila.

2Go also offers direct ferry service from Manila and Cebu to the port of Ozamis. Travelers can also reach the Plaridel port. Lite Ferries provides direct service from Cebu and Tagbilaran to the Port of Plaridel. Bus routes also connect Ozamis and Oroquieta to a number of major cities in Mindanao.

Contact the Misamis Occidental Provincial Tourism Office at [email protected] or (088) 521 – 5187 for more information.

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