As I’ve mentioned before, I love old houses. So I was ecstatic to find that Bohol had a huge concentration of them, still standing in varying degrees of dis/repair.
They were everywhere — lining along both sides of the main avenida of Tagbilaran City and dotting narrow village paths winding among lush green fields. The true grand dames stand their ground in their places of pride across town plazas, staring centuries-old coral churches squarely in their stained-glass eyes.
The more practical ones have welcomed bakeries, sari-sari stores and beauty parlors into their bosoms, quietly bearing the inconguous indignity of loud plastic signs and misspelled tarpaulin banners stretched across their midsections with as much grace as they can muster. ”We were here before you,” they seem to remind their petulant young tenants with a patient sigh, “and we will be here long after you are gone.”
If you’ve ever wanted to see faith in action, you have only to see the alarming angles at which some houses lining the bridge from the Bohol mainland to Panglao manage to stay upright. Glimpsing a Santo Nino through a perpetually open window, I imagine it is only the residents’ piety and prayers that keep the sea breeze from blowing the houses over entirely.