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The Hidden Splendor

Discovering San Miguel, Bulacan's Beauty

By George Ryan TabadaPublished about a month ago 4 min read

It is a place that pacifies someone's madness laid by rolling mountains, stunning rivers, and wide green fields which I found the moment I traveled with my friends for the first time in a far away barangay in San Miguel, Bulacan called Sibul.

I first noticed the beautifully crafted features of the scenery. The trees danced to the rhythm made by the running winds as the sunlight crept between the fluffy clouds. It's as if trying to reveal the hidden beauty of Madlum River and Mt. Manalmon that caught my attention as I stepped with curiosity and excitement.

I began searching for something that could fill the emptiness in me as we started to trek the steepness of Mt. Manalmon. We glided up the zigzag way and touched the skies by hiking high. At that very moment, I found myself wondering like a child on a merry-go-round. And when we finally reached its delightful summit, I never thought that our beloved San Miguel, Bulacan was really an undeniable cradle of unseen paradise.

Every scene took me into a world of contiguous happiness—one that I never thought so beautiful and tangible. It gave me the privilege to see the skies brighter, mountains glowing in green, and flowers waving in harmony as I felt the calm and relaxing breeze kissing the pores of my skin. It offered a picturesque view of forest foliage, unique rock formations, and peaceful rivers. It provided a majestic view of the Sierra Madre mountain range and its neighboring mountains, such as Mt. Gola, Mt. Mabio, and Mt. Arayat that were seemingly perfect in my eyes.

It was so beautiful.

Indeed, this barangay is really a cradle of adventures and unforgettable moments because Mt. Manalmon is not the only spot that can be found in Sibul but also the well-known Madlum River.

Madlum River, on the other hand, unveiled breathtaking images of rock formations, caves, and its own dainty streams. However, the tragic story about the college students from BSU is not new in our ears for it happened years ago, but according to the Madlum Cave Guide Group Organization's treasurer whose name is Edmar Sanchez, it was just an accident that nobody expected to occur. The organization is trying to give its very best to secure their tourists' and adventurers' safety.

Without knowing how time came fast for us to envision the unseen beauty of this reality, I realized that there is a place remained that can act as a pillow for our broken hearts to engulf our lonely tears. I found a new version of Eden that can ease away all the hurt, madness, and pain we carry through the years.

Casas Viejas

Have you ever wondered how it feels like to travel back in time? How about witnessing establishments that served as a refuge for the brave, intelligent, and talented Filipinos way back in the 19th and 20th centuries?

Within the colossal terrains and endless sights of Bulacan, a town called San Miguel has been waiting for you. This place is renowned not only for its sweet treats, chicharron, and pastillas wrappers, but also for its historic tales. Many of us have probably visited and marveled at the Calle Crisologo in Vigan due to its vintage-themed ambiance. But have you ever tried to witness the beauty of this town?

For San Miguel has also its own version of Calle Crisologo laid by ancestral houses that were built from 1820 to 1921. So buckle up and I will show you where to trek and how to unveil the view that is not yet seen yet must be heeded— the historic Rizal Street at Barangay Poblacion.

Right at the beginning of its lane, you will first meet the house of the Siojo clan which is said to have been besieged by the Japanese Army. It was constructed in 1903 and nearby residents say that this house is haunted by the souls of victims who were slain during the Japanese Era.

Thrilling, isn’t it?

Not far from here is the older house owned by the De Leons. It is believed that a container containing the sands that Jose Rizal fell on when he was shot in the bagumbayan, was found inside. The children of the owner of this house also played a historic part: Trinidad, who married former President Manuel Roxas; Jose, who married the famous Dona Narcisa of LVN Pictures; Crispina, who married Gregorio Del Pilar’s nephew.

Another old house also associated with the de Leons was built by Damaso Sempio. Here, Gregorio Del Pilar spent a night before he went to Isabela to protect Aguinaldo's army. Among those who stayed here was Artemio Ricarte, the general who refused to recognize American power.

Simon Tecson's mansion is almost next to it. According to the locals, this was where Aguinaldo signed the Biak na Bato Agreement. In fact, of all the older houses found on this road, this is the only one that bears a historical marker.

Moreoever, adjacent to Rizal street is the three-story Catalino Sevilla mansion — proof of high status in the life of the family who owns it. According to the story, Catalino was a former farmer who married one of de Leon’s children, Valeriana. Catalino intended to exceed the size and height of his in-laws and it is also said that grand gatherings of prominent families in San Miguel were held on the third floor.

These houses not only shelter prominent people but also possess potential significance to the development of the town’s tourism sector. So whether it be trekking through roads seldom traveled, witnessing them is not just a way to reminisce the past. For it is a place that holds pleas and tales that are not still discovered by the majority yet must be visited and be remembered.

solo travel

About the Creator

George Ryan Tabada

George Ryan Tabada is a fourth-year journalism student at Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

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