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Rizal Province: More About Morong

San Geronimo St. Jerome Church of Morong Rizal

Before Rizal Province was named after the National Hero, Morong was a huge territory that once included, the nation’s capital, Manila, the business district of Makati, Rizal Province’s former capital, Pasig, and all the towns currently in the province’s jurisdiction. In the Philippine flag, the eight rays of the sun symbolizes the eight freedom-fighting provinces of the Philippine’s revolt against the Spanish rule – one of them was Manila, which was formerly Morong. The name bears significant historical events the town witnessed in the warring periods. Today let us visit the municipality of the present day Morong, Rizal.

Morong’s mornings are not as quiet as any small provincial town may seem, especially Baranggay San Juan which is the hub of trade and commerce in town. However, as I walked beyond the outskirts of the busy baranggay, one can sense the placid side of town where I’m bound to grab a house specialty for breakfast.

Era Plaza Restaurant warek warek in Morong RizalWarek warek and garlic rice for breakfast in Era Plaza.

Era Plaza’s Warek-warek, good for 3 persons. P140.00

Only a few meters passed the historic Old Municipal Office of Morong was the former site of ERA School in the 1920’s, presently the location of ERA Plaza Restaurant. Running for almost 2 decades, ERA Plaza made itself a Morong landmark which boasts of a house specialty known as “Warek Warek”an Ilokano dish of deep-fried crispy pig’s ear, garnished with onions and green chilli, mixed in mayonnaise. Eat it with rice, match it with cold beers, or do both, diners will be delighted with a single plate of the must-try Warek Warek.

St. Jerome Parish Church of MorongFacade of Saint Jerome Church in Morong, Rizal.

St. Jerome Church's choir loftWindow illuminates the choir loft made of wooden planks barricaded by balustrades.

Muslims once prevailed the town of Morong during the Pre-Hispanic days of the country. Thus, the name Morong came from the word, Moro, a term used by Spanish invaders to describe Muslim natives in the Philippines. Today, the former Muslim-dominated town attracts many Catholics by the Iglesia de San Geronimo, or St. Jerome’s Church, not only as a tourist destination, but a pilgrimage site for Visita Iglesia practitioners.

Inside St. Jerome’s Church.

Chinese craftsmen built the intricately-designed St. Jerome’s Church with a unique bell tower-shaped edifice wherein the facade was finely detailed with fanciful balusters, large pillars, and stone-carved ornaments. No wonder the baroque architecture of this 15th century church  is a favorite subject for photographers, and a lovely backdrop for events like weddings and baptisms.

facade detail of San Geronimo ChurchhDetailed facade of the church.

Notable among the residents of Morong is the famous artist, Rafael Pacheco, utilizing his own hands and fingers as medium to his paintings, thus, being dubbed as the “Father of Finger & Palm Painting of the Philippines”. The world-renown artist conducts workshops in Baranggay Bumbongan’s  U-ugong Park where art practitioners are inspired by luscious greens sprawling in the mountains, and cascading waterfalls. The orchestra of roaring rapids echoing in the gorge branded the park’s name, “u-ugong”, a Tagalog term which means “echoing”.

Dead Falls of U-ugong Park

A face carved from a large tree bark. The whole figure resembles a lady of the woods.

Instead of taking a tricycle, walking about 2 kilometers from U-ugong Park back to the main highway will give me more opportunities to see the rural life in the outskirts of town proper.Shades of green painted the vast rice field where the local farmers of Morong harvested their crops portion by portion. It was scorching hot, it was midday, but not one hesitated to give the camera a cheerful smile. There were no traces of weariness and exhaustion but merely the love of the livelihood brought the purest smiles from proud and hardworking farmers. They are the unsung heroes of today’s Filipino society.

Morong has drastically changed – as time progresses, so is the town. Urbanization is knocking on the doors of, not only Morong, but many towns in Rizal Province as well. Amidst developments, the historical town of Morong still practices the ways of the past whilst adding a twist of the present. Morong is a clear evidence that proves that old and the new could co-exist in perfect harmony.

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Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:

1. Morong could be reach via Manila East Road passing by the towns of Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, and Cardona or via the Antipolo route passing by Taytay, Antipolo and Teresa.

2. Jeeps bound for Tanay pass by Morong but do not enter town proper. You have to take a tricycle from the main road. Fortunately, there are jeeps bound directly to Morong town proper.

3. ERA Plaza Restaurant is open as early as 8:30AM. It’s near the basketball court in front of the Old Municipal Hall.

4. St. Jerome Church is open only on certain hours for security purposes maybe since an artifact was stolen sometime in the last decade.

5. There is no entrance fee in U-ugong Park. However, a dog showing his sharp teeth maybe a big obstacle. As much as I want to roam around and explore (the place is huge by the way), this dog seemed to hinder me from my endeavor.

6. U-ugong Park seemed to be in bad shape. Hopefully, the government could extend an extra effort for restoring the old place. I see tons of tourism potential in U-ugong Park and it would be waste to leave it in its condition. I don’t know if it’s a government or private property, but efforts from both sides would probably boost tourism in Morong when it comes to nature and art.

7. More destinations in Rizal Province.

8. Like BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.

9. Follow BIYAHERONG BARAT on Twitter.

10. Happy travels.

Morong farmers know how to pose for a camera.

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30 thoughts on “Rizal Province: More About Morong

  1. Pingback: Rizal Province: Religious Sites in Binangonan « Biyaherong Barat

  2. u ugong park ang hindi ko napuntahan at yun warek warek di ko pa natikman…another reasons para balikan ko un place…thankz 🙂

    • We at era plaza used pigs brain yrs ago when I was still a kid.kaso Madali yata mapanis if I am right..?!and mahirap mahagilap sa palengke pigs brain,konti LNG nabibili nmin b4 kaya my mom improvised it with mayonnaise..:-)

      • Your Warek-warek tasted good nevertheless. I’ll eat there when I visit Morong once again. =) Probably this Saturday, when my friends and I get back from Real, Quezon. I think it’s on the way so might as well grab an early dinner at Era Plaza.

  3. Mr.biyaherong barat,thank u po sa pag feature ng era plaza..I’m much honored to know that someone featured our resto on their site..now ko LNG nakita yung tag nyo sa fb ng era,dint know about it kasi wala po ako dyan sa pinas.thank u once again!

    • Hello Crystal,

      Thank you also for serving a very nice dish of Warek-warek. It really taste good that I have to write about it. It was an honor to feature your restaurant in my blog. I’m from Rizal, I want to share the beautiful Rizal Province to other travelers and also provide them a place where they could eat good food.

      Thanks for dropping by, Crystal. Have a great day.

  4. Pingback: Rizal Province: Silangan Gardens’ Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City | Biyaherong Barat

  5. Thanks a lot for this article…
    Don’t forget to visit the Manila East Lakeview Farm. Dito makikita mo ang magandang tanawin, malinis na kapaligiran at nakakarelax na simoy ng hangin.

  6. Thanks, proud of our church. Morong is an education destination for elementary, high school and college. The town has University of Rizal System and a private college Tomas Claudio Mem. College.

  7. Westnuk beach in morong rizal is a budget friendly resort run by Napocor. It has pristine white sand beaches . Loved it there.

  8. Hello,

    Wow! I normally go to Laguna via the backdoor route. Never imagined that the church here is such a beauty! Thanks! We’ll probably visit it next week. 🙂

    But I hope you don’t mind. May I suggest some mis-references in the first paragraph:

    “Before Rizal Province was named after the National Hero, Morong was a huge territory that once included, the nation’s capital, Manila, the business district of Makati, Rizal Province’s former capital, Pasig, and all the towns currently in the province’s jurisdiction. In the Philippine flag, the eight rays of the sun symbolizes the eight freedom-fighting provinces of the Philippine’s revolt against the Spanish rule – one of them was Manila, which was formerly Morong. The name bears significant historical events the town witnessed in the warring periods. Today let us visit the municipality of the present day Morong, Rizal.”

    The Politico-Militar Distrito de Morong never included the City of Manila. And Manila was not formerly Morong. In fact, it was carved out from the Province of Manila and included some parts of the Province of Laguna. Two of the eight rays of the sun in our flag represents the Provinces of Manila AND Morong (Not Rizal Province, since it was not yet founded). For accurate historical timeline, the “huge territory” of Morong did not include the Makati CBD – since Makati then was swampland.

    Thanks!

  9. I believe Uugong Park was developed by Mr. Pacheco himself and did not involve any government initiative. It is sad to see how neglected the falls is right now. Me and my peers used to bathe in the falls after jogging from the town proper to the sitio of Butig. There was still water then.
    I doubt it can be restored to it’s former beauty and glory, though. Most of the trees are already gone from that place.

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