Camalaniugan town in the province of Cagayan is known as having the oldest bell in the Southeast, the Sta. Maria which was cast in 1595. But several meters from the present church is a massive, undated heritage structure that goes back to the Spanish colonial era. It is the horno, or brick oven.
In the Cagayan Valley and several parts of northern Luzon, brick has been the building material of choices for churches, cemeteries, houses, government buildings and other structures. Because of this, there have been other hornos of which one can be found in Tuguegarao City, in the same province and Dupax del Sur in Neuva Vizcaya.
Unlike the two other hornos, this one in Camalaniugan is still intact and in rather good condition. Well, except for a crack in the interior. The horno is a quadrilateral structure with a cylindrical cavity. A small portal at the bottom can be found while a flight of steps at one side leads from the ground to the topmost part.
I’m not really sure how this functioned but I read somewhere that the small portal at the bottom was where the freshly formed bricks were passed and assembled in the center cavity. But what about the staircase? Was it used by the people to drop the wood and other materials that will be put on fire to bake the bricks?
Another thing, because of its external appearance, which looks like a moro watchtower, was it also used as one considering that it is near the Cagayan River and gives one a great view of the surrounding area? To what extent did this horno serve? Was it used to provide bricks to the rest of the northern coastal municipalities of Cagayan province? As of now, this structure is a tourist site and is one of the stops in the tour of Calamaniugan town.