San Juan: Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine (Pinaglabanan’s Triple History Treat #1)
Located in San Juan, Metro Manila, along Santolan Road, Pinaglabanan Shrine is one of the historical landmarks we usually tend to overlook. We all know the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan, or in a lesser extent, the Bonifacio marker at the Tutuban Center in Divisoria marking where he was born, but this monument bears significance to the armed struggle of our forefathers for our independence from foreign control. The name in Tagalog means “fought over”.
While most people in San Juan might be familiar with this place, due to the city hall, an arena and a couple of schools located right at or in the proximity of it, many people outside San Juan seemed to have not yet known this, ourselves included.
During the Spanish times, it is the site of two important facilities: an armory of the Spanish army, and a water distribution facility serving Manila and nearby places. In fact, beneath the shrine is a water storage facility dug into a series of concrete tunnels, an engineering feat at that time. These tunnels, long neglected after the Second World War, are currently being excavated, restored, and is targeted that at least a quarter of this is opened to the public by this year. This Spanish-era water facility is called El Deposito. San Juan may be famous for its residents dousing random people with water during the feast of St. John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint, and it is a coincidence that this place once served Manila and its 300,000 population with clean, running water during the old times.
It is at this location that one of the first battles of the Philippine Revolution took place on August 30, 1896, shortly after the supposed secret Katipunan movement (full name: Kataas-Taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan) was unmasked. Though the Filipino fighters suffered defeat with more than 150 killed and hundreds more taken a prisoner, it was the start of the turning point in the history of the Philippines.
Once an abandoned water storage facility, it has since been developed in the 1970s as an open-space public park. The park grounds are mostly grassy space, surrounded by concrete paths and a center concrete aisle passing through the middle. At the end of the center aisle is a raised platform, where a statue stands. This statue is called the “Spirit of Pinaglabanan”, created by Eduardo Castrillo in the 1970s to commemorate the heroism of the Katipuneros at this site.
MUSEO EL DEPOSITO
The building housing the Philippine waterworks history, the Museo El Deposito, was opened to the public just this year. Upon entrance, you need to deposit your large bag before going to the museum on the second floor. At the reception area is a relief map showing the Carriedo Waterworks system imposed on a modern map.
Read more and view more photos here.
MUSEO NG KATIPUNAN
This two-story, older structure houses the museum, opened to the public in 2006, giving insight to the armed, secret society founded by Andres Bonifacio, the Kataas-Taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, or simply Katipunan.
Read more and view more photos here.
- Free (Open all day)
Both the Museo El Deposito and the Katipunan Museum are free of charge.
Opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- At Camp Crame, there are jeepneys whose route passes by the Pinaglabanan Shrine.
- RRCG buses that ply the Ortigas Avenue going to Sta. Mesa also passes by the Pinaglabanan Shrine.
From EDSA, you can take two routes:
• Take the Boni Serrano Avenue westbound (besides Camp Crame), go straight along this avenue until reaching Pinaglabanan Shrine. The shrine will be at your right-hand side.
• Take Ortigas Avenue westbound (besides POEA building), and turn left at Bonny Serrano Avenue. Go straight until reaching Pinaglaban Shrine.
From Aurora Boulevard, enter Gilmore Avenue southbound (it is one-way southbound street) and go straight until right before reaching Bonny Serrano Avenue. Turn right and go straight until reaching Pinaglabanan Shrine.
If going from Sta. Mesa, take the Araneta Avenue eastbound and turn left at N. Domingo Street. Turn right at Pinaglabanan Street: there is a monument called “Diwa ng 1896” (Spirit of 1896) at one corner. Go straight until reaching Pinaglabanan Shrine.
Part of Pinaglabanan Triple History Treat
- Restrooms are available in both El Deposito and Katipunan museums.
- There are no food stalls at the Pinaglabanan Shrine. The closest commercial center is the Santolan Town Plaza a 10-minute walk away, but a number of carinderia exists at the periphery.
- A weekend market named Sabado Mercado opens at Pinaglabanan Shrine every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.