We left Lazi Church still dazed from the musty oldness of its atmosphere, crossed the Acacia-lined
plaza street and entered what was once considered as the largest convent in Asia.
Having an area of 2,500 square meters, Lazi Convent was considered a giant amongst its kind during its days. It was erected in 1887 in conjunction with the town church which was made thirty years earlier. Friars in those times used the structure as a resting place and a recreation area; I just can’t imagine what friars do for recreation.
The Lazi Convent is built in the tradition of Filipino Stone Houses or Bahay na Bato. The ground floor is made up of coral stones, similar to the ones made to build the nearby church, and the upper floors of wood. Carved wooden barandillas line the second floor, framing the traditional capiz windows above it. The convent’s tin roof, curving slightly along its apex, doubles the height of the convent making it look quite imposing. Arches line up the corridors around the ground floor which are now being used as classrooms for the local kids. We can hear the chorus of children reciting as we entered the building. Passing an old dog sleeping along the hardwood grand stairwell, we proceeded along its interiors.
Much of the second storey is unused and derelict save for one room which had been converted into a museum of sorts. It’s such a shame really as the whole floor can be a museum into itself. The floors are of the same Narra wood made in herringbone pattern as that of the church and as far as I can see everything is made up of old antique wood.
The museum which was inaugurated last 2005 was closed when we visited, good thing our guide knew the caretaker and he let us take a peek inside and even allowed us to photograph a few of the relics as long as we don’t use any flash. I’m not sure I understand why photography is not allowed inside.
Like the San Isidro Labrador Church and this convent, the museum is also in a bad state. The exhibits are exposed to heat and the elements which can easily degrade and destroy them. Most of the displays are relics found from the church and convent; religious icons, old books, frocks, black and white photographs, antique furniture and random things like an old rusty typewriter.
One of the most interesting things I found inside was the birth and death registrars kept by the convent. The covers which are made of carabao hide are now crumbling and its pages, waterlogged. The handwriting inside was really really beautiful and I can just imagine the history that resides within those penstrokes.
I felt saddened about the condition of the museum and I hope the donations being given as a fee to enter the museum (a mere Php20.00) be supplemented by the local government to save these relics from fading into history.
The light was slanting along the colored glasses of the Lazi Convent as we exited the museum. The dog we met earlier at the stairwell bade a farewell look at us. My thoughts were still filled with Siquijor’s musty history as our tricycle roared into the silent streets of Lazi.
Lazi Convent | San Isidro Labrador Convent
Siquijor Circumferential Road, Lazi, Siquijor
GPS Coordinates: 9.127341,123.633002
Click to view location on Google Maps
Museum Entrance Fee: Php20.00 per person
Recommended Siquijor Island Tour Guide:
Kuya Joam: 0927-6932095
Fee: Php1,000.00 inclusive transportation,
port pick-up, lodging transfer and lots of stories :)
SIQUIJOR THREE-DAY SERIES
TRIP ITINERARY | MANILA - DUMAGUETE CITY - SIQUIJOR | ST. FRANCIS DE ASSISI CHURCH | CAPILAY’S SPRING PARK AT SAN JUAN
OVER AND BELOW LAZI’S CENTURY-OLD BALETE TREE | LAZI CHURCH - SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH | LAZI CONVENT
THE CAMBUGAHAY FALLS AT LAZI | SANTA MARIA CHURCH & ITS BLACK MARIA | SUNSET ON THE ROAD
SAN JUAN’S COCO GROVE RESORT | COCO GROVE ACCOMMODATIONS AT SAN JUAN | COCO GROVE’S SUNSET RESTAURANT
SUNSET AND SUNRISE AT SAN JUAN’S TUBOD BEACH