I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

18 April, 2011

Cuartel de Sto. Domingo

    I didn't post the wrong photo. This is right past Crown Asia's Valenza Italian inspired village, and the area is Bgy. Sto. Domingo.  The Special Action Forces Training camp of the Philippine National Police, is here.  Fort Sto. Domingo sounds so familiar, but it took time before I realized the Cuartel de Sto. Domingo was most likely in that barangay, and not in the old bayan ng Sta. Rosa. I don't know why I had assumed it was in the other side--the Balibago, Tagapo sides where the city hall is located.   

     Even before this barangay, is Bgy. Don Jose, which covers the area of the Laguna Technopark, Paseo de Sta. Rosa and many small villages.  Both barangays have their metal arches marking the entrance to the barangays, on the right side of the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay national highway.  Again, I dislike saying negative things sana, but I have to note that both barangay's roads are dirt roads.  It is sadder to see this in the Bgy. Don Jose, because this road is between Technopark tenants such as Panasonic.  I mean, it's supposed to be a World-class city now, this Sta. Rosa, but I guess that just means that it is host to such corporations. 

    Anyway, I digress.  I had seen just one old b/w pic of the cuartel online.  Google it now, and let me know if you find new information and pics, as there is really just now. Now everywhere I've lived, I have been interested in what has gone before.  I creep myself out trying to imagine exactly what went on in the land I am standing on.  In Makati's Bgy. Guadalupe Viejo and Poblacion, I would imagine natives by the Pasig river...but it was frustrating as I could not find any stories nor sketches of such scenes.  I wondered what could be found by digging along those banks.  The scant info I got mentioned that the entrance steps of the Nuestra Senora de Gracia used to reach all the way down to the river!

   Ayayay, here I go again going off on another topic...

   Back to that boring pic of a billboard. There is a road right in front of it, and that leads to the training camp's gate.  The men guarding it were very polite, explaining that no visitors are allowed to enter unless perhaps sponsored/led by the barangay captain, or a PNP official, or some such authority.  Neither have there been field trips to the place.  Here are photos of the cuartel circa 1800 and 2000, that I took at the Museum of Sta. Rosa:

   They're just ruins, I know, but very important and interesting.  This land people have been moving to, buying new houses and lots, once saw battle! I still can't believe these artifacts dug up from the cuartel, were just sitting by the museum door with no case nor cordon.  I mean, some nut could just take a fancy to them.
     You will not miss the Crown Asia Valenza Italian village...it right across Nuvali,too.  After these, you'll get to "Japanese corn" vendors lined up on the sidewalks on weekends.  This is Bgy. Sto. Domingo, which I imagine, is getting "world-class" too anyway with all the new developments.  It is still more special this way, I think:

   Hard to imagine just over a decade ago--well around 1995, 1996...when we began taking this route toward Tagaytay, we were actually afraid of passing here in the evening.  We would take the old way, the one that comes out to Cavite.
This Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay highway was dimly lit back then, and it was common knowledge that "salvaged" victims were dumped here.  I know this to be true---I have a cousin whose car was carjacked on their way out of NAIA (it happened on the way from the Pasig area to Libis, the same old modus operandi) and they were then dropped off in Sta. Rosa. They were unhurt, but their driver sustained a gunshot wound on the foot.  They hailed a tricycle home.  Even before then, we had been warned to avoid this route once it got dark. 

   What is it with me today, this is going everywhere but the cuartel. Well, that's just it. We can't even visit the cuartel until some sort of agreement is reached between the PNP and the local government.   Bet most of the people living here don't even realize the historical aspect of this land.  It would give it so much more significance and interest to know. I mean, the newness of places like Nuvali, the kitsch of Georgia model showrooms and the commercial Paseo can just be so...blah sometimes.  There are people out there who would appreciate the ruins.  And I think our children ought to.


  1. I was able to visit the place! =)

  2. Oooh, envy! Como, Pepe? What is it like? Why isn't it on your blog? Photos? Not allowed?

  3. We tried to visit the place but failed. We were not allowed unless we have a permit. Tumambay na lang kami sa Nuvali at Paseo. Now, bakit kaya mas madaling ma-appreciate ang mga lugar gaya ng mga malls? You'll just have to endure the frisking at the entrance.

    1. Sorry to hear it, wish you had read this before trying so as not to waste time. Thanks for your comment, nice to know we're not alone being curious about it. Pero I have to say, siyempre po malls are commercial places. The ruins are inside the Special Action Forces training camp of the Philippine National Police so it's a little understandable. I grew up in a military camp and there are limits to allowing civilians to enter spontaneously.
      I wish for us to be able to see it someday. :-)