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To find genuine ruins one must leave the city proper and visit its suburbs where the iconoclasm of reconstruction has not erased every record of the past. At. Caloocan stands a church partly preserved that presents an imposing appearance from the east. Its transcepts and apse are circular in form and built of good stone, well laid. Unless one is willing to be rudely awakened from the pleasing impression of the first sight from the pleasing impression of the first sight from the railroad, he had better not draw closer. The apse is used as a pig-pen and the sanity inspector has not had time to call lately. The nave is still used as a church but is in a woefully dirty and neglected condition. A bedraggled muchacho was sweeping the floor when I was there, and contented himself with pushing the dirt into the spaces made by the missing tiles in the floor.
The church at Malabon presents an imposing appearance from the front, the great Grecian pillars of the facade being well executed. The church back of this modern front is in absurd relations to the modern part , however. The interior is most interesting. From the door to the altar is quite 200 feet and the total width is 80 feet. The great nave is beautiful in its massive proportions and simple design. The covent and east aisle were burned in insurgent days, out of hatred, it is said , for the Spanish friar, who was very unpopular. To this day, none but a Filipino priest dares enter the church. Upon the broken floor of the roofless aisle, the summer sun and the winter storm beat alike, but somehow the open sky does not seem an unfitting vault of blue. The old stairway stands, but the gallery is out of repair. The bare convent walls extend about the church as if they would not desert the church in its day of adversity and decay.
Across the river from Malabon, in the barrio of Navotas, stands an interesting relic of the days when the friar ruled the land. A retreat was maintained in a fine two story building facing the bay and commanding one of the finest views in the country. A broad stone quay still skirts the bay, and here the resting padres took their evening smoke and viewed the western glories. The walls still stand intact, and so strong are they that they might serve for a new building with little repair.
The church at San Pedro Macati is a familiar mark to anyone who has driven to Fort William McKinley. The tower stands apart from the church and contains the bells. The church and ruins of the convent are grouped on a low hill and in front of the church door is the old burying ground In the rear is a garden where vegetables are raised and an impromptu road meanders down to the village by the river. The walls of the old convent are the fine examples of the construction of those who built to the last and the arches are in good condition.
If any one word could describe the present atmosphere of the place it would be some synonym of peace. Some elegy might well be written in this country church-yard and under the shadow of this silent sentinel tower. But there are men in Manila to-day to think of very different things when they remember the church of San Pedro Macati. Then the place was filled with insurgents and the sloping hill was the death couch of American soldiers who fought that peace might prevail San Pedro Macati has her record of blood and if her cloistered arches are roofless to-day there is reason, for here was the scene of some of the most persistent and determined attacks of the entire war of the insurrection.
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