NM wants to preserve Lila public bath history

Authorities at the National Museum (NM) in Bohol are baffled at the apparent missing stories behind the two Spanish structures now lying in crumbles in Lila.

With that, NM Heritage Site Management Assistant Joel Dahiroc has urged the local government led by Mayor Regina Cahiles-Salazar to seek out information about the crumbling stone tower, and a public bath, both dated possibly the 18th century or earlier.

The stone tower, now lie in crumbles at the promontory a few hundred meters behind the present Lila Church, and the public bath: a swimming pool lined with stone tablets, probably dated 18th century is commonly known as Tinugdan.

We have been wanting to hear oral traditions retelling the history behind these abandoned Spanish stone structures, sadly, there appears to be none, Dahiroc said, while trying to set up the information abouth these structures from local sources.

Pulled to the sidelines during the National Economic Development Authority Board’s Sub-Committee on Culture meeting and planning held at the Metro Center Hotel, October 4-5, the NM noted that propping up the local history can be critical in determining the next moves towards the protection and preservation of these structures.

There appears to be the remains of a stone tower, but we could not locate any traces of an old church, Dahiroc continued.

At the Tinugdan Spring some two hundred meters from the Lila Church, a rare structure shaped like an old swimming pool lined with stone tablets now half filled with water, hints of a public bath, possibly the only one in Bohol.

Another pool, of Spanish provenance, can be seen in the mezzanine of the crumbled Loboc Convent, while traces of another possible but unconfirmed public bath is reported in Inabanga, at the ruins of a hacienda in barangay Lonoy Cainsecan.

Local historian and Professor Marianito Luspo, called the discovery of the public bath exciting.

They should go to the Cosas Notables, an Augustinian Recollect annals of history which the order keeps in their archives in Spain, Professor Luspo.

And because the public bath is a public works project, he believes it should be in the Cosas Notables.

He noted that the discovery is something considering that bathing was not one the priests would easily advise at that time.

Spanish priests, who bring in a tradition against public bathing, would normally discourage bathing as it gives too much attention to the mundane; the human body over the soul.

When the Spaniards arrived, they were shocked to see the natives and their propensity to take a bath, and daily at that, he narrated.
Over the years, when the Spaniards could not stop the bathing, they may be forced to help set up the public infrastructure, from bamboo enclosures to protect the bathers from the crocodiles of Pasig, and from the intrusion of sea water into the seaside springs.

In Bohol, while several public baths came later, like the one in Baliaut in Baclayon and Boloc-Boloc in Tagbilaran, these are simple sea-side enclosures.

The Tinugdan in Lila is about a hundred meters from the sea and contains fresh water from the spring which gushes out into the pool.

Meanwhile, the history of the town tells of Spaniards seeing a thick blooms of violet water lilies in a pond near the town, prompting them to name the place Lila.

Lila is Spanish for violet.

Locals believe that the pond is also where Tinugdan is, tinugdan is a corruption of tinubdan, or a local source of water. (PIA)

 

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