There is one place in Mindanao that I loved to go, sit and reflect in front of a vista of natural beauty and that is the boulevard of Oroquieta City. Known for its peace and order stability, Oroquieta is one place to be when you journey on self-healing and discovery. I was recently in this lovely city for a brief training run for our JCI affairs and after I have rendered my lecture, went out of the hall, took my Travey for a spin and took a 15-minute photowalk along the boulevard. Read more
As I was on my way to the City of Oroquieta, I was exchanging SMS with my dear friend Jeffrey Almonte, the son of then Oroquieta City Mayor George Almonte who now sits as Congressman in the Philippine House of Representatives. I was asking for directions where to sightsee while I am in their home city and he mentioned to me about the hanging bridge.
It was a lazy Sunday and while I was uploading some videos on my Youtube channel, I left the place where I stayed for the night and heads for the City Plaza and then eventually to the hanging footbridge. It was market day so I saw the usual convergence of cityfolks trying to buy after hearing Sunday Mass nearby. When I came across the footbridge, it was only then that I knew it is called the Ceriaco Pastrano Hanging bridge.
The Pastrano Hanging Bridge is one of the scenic tourist destination among visitors in Oroquieta and it crosses the Layawan River that opens up to the sea. It connects Barangay Taboc Norte and Poblacion II in the city.
People use the Pastrano Hanging Bridge for their daily lives. I saw a boy who bought around 5 kilos of rice to bring for his family and I asked him that I will take his photo and he just simply smiled and I saw the most hopeful face of a boy who might be the next leader in their city.
Pastrano Hanging Bridge is 75 m long and 20 m high over the Layawan River. I was asking when this hanging footbridge built and how old was it, I unfortunately was not able to get the right answer from those locals whom I asked.
Places and cities have legends and histories where they have first started. Oroquieta is believed to have been named after a small town in Spain, where two prominent personalities of the city were first born: Spanish Friar Toas Tomas Casado and war-time hero General Domingo Mariones y Murillo, hero of the Battle of Oroquieta. There were others who claimed that Oroquieta got its name from many gold founds in the vicinity of the town and are derived from “Oro” means gold and “kita” means see or found. However the oldest name of Oroquieta City is Layawan which remains to be a barrio of the province of Misamis from 1861 to 1879. At present, Oroquieta City has 47 barangays.
When I reached the lovely and peaceful City of Oroquieta on a Saturday from my weekend solo backpacking trip from Tangub City and Ozamis Cities, I found myself embracing Oroquieta as a much peaceful, orderly and slow-pacing community. People are generally cordial and the plaza is where the people converged, is just as peaceful and orderly. I went there by night and the day-time of Sunday.
In embracing Oroquieta, noticed that in the City Plaza, there are two important landmarks which remains to be the symbol of history among its residents. Its own Municipal Band Stand, locally named as “kiosko” built from 1925-28 and the kiosko serves as the municipal band’s platform. I just can imagine the grandeur and romanticism that were so famous in olden times when the band played music by the sea. When I visited the Kiosko on a Sunday morning, I can hear the bells ringing from the Cathedral fronting it, as if transporting me back to history and its grand time.
The second attraction I have noticed is the old statue of Dr. Jose Rizal, Philippine National Hero. Erected in 1917 and is being commissioned by its Representative, Hon. Ramon B. Neri. This made embracing Oroquieta a journey worthy of affection and admiration. The kiosko is the most grand I have seen in Misamis Occidental.
Embracing Oroquieta City is one journey in my lifetime that leads me to Misamis Occidental’s grandest communities. Undeniably, peaceful locality also among the localities in the province. This City hosts the Provincial Captiol, one of the best adjudged Capitol buildings in the Philippines in 1973. It was built in 1935.