Revisiting the Silang river


View of Gorge with Group Washing Clothes on Rocks Near Bamboo Water Pipe Outlet; Group on Wood Bridge in Background, 1900; contained in  Photograph collection ca. 1860s-1960s.

smithsonian institute research information system SIRIS

Source: Smithsonian Institute Research Information System (SIRIS)

Physical_Description:  1 photoprint 009 in x 007 in mounted on 010 in x 008 in, black and white photoprint on cardboard mount; Culture     Philippines; Local_Number NAA INV 05110200 Archival_Repository; National Anthropological Archives.

Upland Cavite’s rivers are often characterized as gorges forming ravines dissecting the province’s mountainous terrain. This is primarily caused by volcanic activity in nearby Taal volcano. Notice the misspelled name of the town to “Sitang” but was corrected in the electronic catalogue of the photograph. A bamboo bridge seems be hanging on air on the rear view. Locals are washing laundries or fetching fresh water as a daily chore in the 1900s.

Silang has many rivers. This Smithsonian document did not mention the exact name of the river or its location in the municipality.  Assuming that its Ilog Tibagan or Ilog Bayan today, the bamboo bridge must be today’s Iba Bridge.

Croquis del pueblo de Silang y sus defenses 1897Croquis del pueblo de Silang y sus defenses 1897

Ninety years later, my sister Karen took these photos of Ilog Bayan for her photography class. A community pool was added in the 60s or 70s.  Some houses constructed concrete barriers along the river’s easement. Still water was flowing abundantly.

Ilog Bayan

Taken during pre-Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the photo above shows water flowing abundantly. Today, river bed is more shallow due to the fact of the early 90s ashfall and even aggravated by environmental degradation.