BALER SECRET TUNNEL
One of the things I did as a tourist in Baler was to visit Ermita Hill. There I saw a marker describing what once was a tunnel used by residents to escape bandits and hide on the hill.
Ermita Hill Chapel, the ancient viewing point and tunnel:
The spot on which the chapel stands is believed to be the location of a viewing point from which the community of Baler, at the delta of the river, received advance warning of incoming threats in ancient times.
In those times, Baler community experienced prevalent raids by the moros. These raids must have occurred before and after the Spaniards, led by Adelantado Juan de Salcedo, first came in 1572. These raids must have stopped when a permanent garrison of Spanish soldiers was established in Baler.
The existence of what many believe to be an escape tunnel, starting from a location in Barangay Santa Elena leading up to this spot, is evidence of the prevalence of raids on the community of Baler in ancient time. The inhabitants of Baler devised this ingenious way to elude the raiders, and hide here at Ermita Hill.
Stumbling upon this marker, I looked for the tunnel. Beside it looked like a very small tunnel. It may be a representation of the real tunnel used before.
So if this tunnel was the end point, where was the starting point? The maker mentioned a place called Santa Elena. It was my next destination in Baler.
I asked our tour guide to bring us to the port area. We rented a boat that led to Santa Elena.
The locals were kind and assisted us. I asked where the tunnel was that led to Ermita Hill.
We were led to a parish church. At the back stood a reconstructed tunnel. Of course the tunnel doesn't work anymore but it remains as a reminder of the past.
And there was another marker that verifies connects this spot to the tunnel at Ermita Hill.
Ancient escape tunnel
This opening on the ground is a reconstruction of the ancient tunnel used by inhabitants of Baler to escape from raids.
In ancient time, Baler community experienced prevalent raids by the moros. These raids must have occurred before and after the Spaniards, led by Adelantado Juan de Salcedo first came in 1572. These raids must have stopped when a permanent garrison of Spanish soldiers was established in Baler.
The escape tunnel leads up to Ermita Hill where the chapel now stands. The inhabitants of Baler in time devised this ingenious way to elude raiders, and hide at the hill now known as Ermita Hill.
Wow!!! Imagine that. This was where the frightened residents ran to with the children, leaving their homes to escape the moro bandits raiding the area. I was trying to visualize all the things that went on.
This adventure is one of the things I love about traveling. History comes to life whenever I visit the actual spots where the events took place.
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