With some facts, a little of folklore, and lots of imagination, a visit to the north end tip of Quezon City—once the “backwoods” of the city in katipunan days, would prove a realistic travel back in the past.
The Katipunan in the mid 1800s was partly in some wild thickets of far flung hills north of Manila, which is now Quezon City, among other places in Luzon. Today it is known as Project 8, Project 6, and the long stretch of Tandang Sora Avenue. Original old folks in the places still recall some katipunan tales.
Tandang Sora, a heroine, actually lived in a hut in Banlat. Skirmishes with Spanish soldiers were felled members of the rag tag band, either dead or wounded. The wounded were brought at the hut for herbal treatment and care.
A shrine stands where the hut used to be along Tandang Sora Avenue at the edge of Project 8, Quezon City. A jeep from Quiapo, Manila to Project 8, about 45 minutes, brings one to General Avenue in G.S.I.S. Village, Project 8.
From General Avenue, the Tandang Sora old residence is walking distance. Tricycle drivers there may be of help. The place brings one to where fierce fightings erupted between Filipino insurgents and Spanish troops a hundred years ago.
Several places managed to retain their century-old names to this day—Balintawak, Banlat, Bahay Toro, and Pugad Lawin—once the “hot spots” of the Philippine Revolution.
Places with original names reflect some local facts about the vicinity in its early years. Like Kamuning and Kamias, also in Quezon City—so named because long ago the places were profuse with kamuning and kamias trees.
Balintawak Market in EDSA, Quezon City, sits right smack at the edge of the Grace Park Interchange—main route to the northern countryside. Nearby is where Andres Bonifacio led Katipuneros shout the fierce “Cry of Balintawak.”
But further down, kaingin, which today is crowded with shanties and factories, the “real” Cry of Balintawak was said to have taken place.
In Kaingin Road, a neglected shrine used to stand, its caption saying it is the actual place where Katipuneros shouted the first battle cry.
Balintawak was strategic to the insurgents. Manuevers to and from the North could be easily done from there.
A mile away from Balintawak is Pugad Lawin, where hawks called “lawin” nested. “Pugad” or nest was attached to denote a high place where hawks haunt and use as a look-out.
Lawin is an alias given to proven warriors. The place was said to be where fierce Katipunan sentries were on the look out for coming Spanish troops.
A mile from Pugad Lawin is Banlat. It was said to be a place hides or balat of the native buffalo called “kalabaw” were dried, cut, and turned into leather crafts, especially leather sheathes of the native sword or taga, or the daga or dagger—common Katipunan weapons.
Bahay Toro in English is a barn for bulls. Thus, native bulls or “kalabaw” were said to be abundant in the place. Bahay Toro is near Banlat and was purported a trade route for kalabaw raisers and kalabaw hide manufacturers.
A nostalgic tourist raring for a re-make of the historic past will only take a 45 minute trip from Manila to Tandang Sora (about $ 0.50), and some imagination. Then roaming around the adjacent vicinities where the real action took place, the tourist could be transported back to the actual events, lost to all the world, relishing in golden times past.