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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, February 07, 2016

entry arrow7:45 PM | The Streets of Dumaguete: Calle Santa Catalina

In her article “The Streets of Dumaguete” (Silliman Journal, Vol. 54 Issue No. 2, July-December 2013), sociologist/writer Lorna Peña-Reyes Makil writes of Santa Catalina Street: “Calle Santa Catalina was named after Dumaguete’s patron saint, St. Catherine of Alexandria, known as the ‘Warrior Saint.’ We read that she was chosen to be the town’s patron saint due to the great need for protection against the southern slave raiders. Legends about her courage and physical prowess were narrated by the townsfolk who had observed that her image on certain mornings would carry amor seco — a grass weed — clinging to the hem of her dress, and making them believe that the saint had gone out at night to drive away the pirates.

"I used to walk down Sta. Catalina Street to go to Dumaguete City Hall for some school assignment, as observing the City Council in action. City Hall was an old building built in 1937 with capiz shell windows and wooden floors that survive to the present…

"The street also took me to Dumaguete’s ‘Old Casa Español District,’ which grew out of the original Plaza Complex. Its short side streets leading to Rizal Avenue — Burgos Street and Tan Pedro Street — bordered the place where homes of wealthy and important Spanish-Filipinos used to be. Although many of these homes were torn down or converted into businesses, a few of them still stand, old and sad reminders of Dumaguete’s early elite whose younger generation adapted to modernization.”

Calle Sta. Catalina, however, has also been known as Dumaguete’s “second street,” meaning perpetually second to Calle Marina (now Rizal Boulevard) in terms of being the street of choice for the city’s wealthier citizens to call home. According to gossip, it was the street where aspiration thrived, and soon it was dotted with the smaller mansions of families who could not find a plot to settle in along the seafront, along the so-called "sugar houses" of the Boulevard's "millionaires row." Only a few of these beautiful houses remain…

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