There’s always something about old churches and convents that draw me in – the history and mystery associated with it. I am not much into the details of history. A sprinkle of facts is just enough for me. I cannot memorise nor bother about dates and historical facts, that my street-smart and intelligent companions were always quick to absorb. I just love the sight, the smell, the air and touch of antiquity, the solitude and quietude. And I love being alone exploring without distraction.
We walked inside the perimeter of the convent because the gates were open as if it welcomed our intrusion. We wandered the exterior halls and marveled at it.
Our curiousity got the best of us however, we sneaked inside the convent pushed its old and huge squeaky door, and climbed the magnificent old stairs.
The interior is a disarray of dusty antiques. It is close to dilapidation. There were treasures of antiquities left in the corners. Like the original pews and the round table. The latter was offered at a price of 200,000 pesos, an amount staggeringly lower than its antique value.
The wooden flooring artistry, the same creative artifacts at the church captivated me the same. Then there were old sliding windows and glass stained windows with their vivid colors of red, blue and green, and the doors. I love doors. It was just lately at this challenging point in my life that doors and windows have become personally significant for me because they signify opportunities lost and found and lost again.
There were gaping holes on the floor where the resident dog keeps on sniffing. The young man who rang the bell with us at the church said, it must be snakes (again!). I think he was trying to scare me.
We roamed around further as it was not yet 10 in the morning, the time the museum inside the convent will be opened. But Father Leonard Tan was there. He was so kind and eager to show us around. He had it opened for us.
Taking pictures inside was not authorized so we contented ourselves, looking and smelling the scent of the antiquity of the church’s treasures. There were very old birth and death registry books dating to as far back as the early 19th century and bound with original animal leather. The entries were beautifully written in cursive and in Spanish which I attempted to read and only a quarter successful. But we were able to touch and smell and lay our hands on the very old paper and the leather cover.
Father Tan also took us to the antique water tank. It does not look like a water tank at all. It was a wide terrace. We were standing on the terrace with the acacia tree in front and the kitchen on our right which is in a state of disrepair (almost). On our feet is the water tank.
That was how they did it hundreds of years ago and which is still practical today. They collect rainwater through a system of gutters connected to a huge tank, which is the whole terrace. The residents would come and pump water from it or otherwise do it the “wishing well” way where a bucket tied to a string is thrown in the well (which is a hole in the corner of the terrace) and pulled up with the water.
We only paid 20 pesos for the entrance and came out a million richer in historical experience because of Fr. Leonard Tan.
I wish that the antiques will be maintained and restored. Lazi convent is such a priceless historical heritage. I wish that somebody will be kind enough to restore it. Otherwise, please pray I get wealthy and I’ll gladly spend for it myself. Thank you.