Salug, the original location of Carcar Church

This piece of land near the Minag-a River and coast of Carcar used to be where the first settlement and church of the municipality was established. It was abandoned in 1622 after a Muslim slave raid.

This piece of land near the Inag-a River and coast of Carcar used to be where the first settlement and church of the municipality was established. It was abandoned in 1622 after a Muslim slave raid.

It was around 1400H that me and Lorens Gibb arrived at a flat piece of agricultural land near a house. It is surrounded with stands of coconut trees and fields of corn in Barrio Inayagan, Barangay Valladolid in Carcar. This was where a team of archaeologists from the University of San Carlos and the National Museum conducted an excavation in 2001 and 2002.

The photos used in this series were taken between 2005 and 2008 as the author visits this church from time to time. Special thanx to Lorens Gibb Lapinid for the assistance in 2008.

The place was formerly the site of the visita of Salug (also Sailo, Siaro or Jaro) which was established in 1599 by the Augustinians under the advocacy of Nuestra Señora de la Visitacion. While Pedro Galende, OSA, in his book, Angels in Stone, considered it as a small rural visita, Gaspar de San Agustin, OSA, wrote in 1686, considered it as one of the largest ministries in the Visayas and one of three that existed during that time in Cebu. The other two were the convent of San Nicolas, it’s mother matrix, and Sto. Niño.

Salug, meaning downriver or by the river, is near the mouth of the Inag-a or Valladolid River, an old settlement even before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. In 1622, Muslim slave raiders destroyed the settlement. The people then abandoned Salug and transferred a few kilometers inland to a place teeming with cabcab (or cabcar) ferns. It is now the present town center of Carcar where the beautiful graeco-roman church is built atop a hill.

Interviews with the locals by the researchers indicated that during the 19th century, walls were still standing on the site but were later scavenged by the natives as construction materials. Archaeological diggings also yielded segments of a wall as well as indications of the presence of masonry.

Today, there’s no trace of the former settlement but Barrio Inayagan is also known as Daanglungsod, the vernacular for old town.

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This post was mainly based on the paper which was a report to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts on 31 March 2004 entitled Visayas Settlement by the River: Archaeological Investigations at the late 16th and 17th Century Site of Salug in Sitio Valladolid, Carcar, Cebu which was part of the Salug Archaeology Project. It was prepared by John A. Peterson, Amalia de la Torre, Nida Cuevas, Angel Bautista, Josephine Belmonte and Mark D. Wallis. The project was a collaboration between the University of San Carlos and the National Museum in 2001 and 2002.

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