mEYTO SHRINE

THE CROSS. The historical shrine nestling in the heart of Barangay Meyto, which was originally built in 1572, encompasses a hidden and historical truth.

A cross in a dome-like sanctuary.

The Meyto Shrine in Calumpit, Bulacan is more than just like that. Forgotten by many, the shrine nestled in the heart of Barangay Meyto,
which was originally built in 1572, encompasses a hidden and historical truth.


In contrary to what is written on some history books that the Calumpit Church, particularly the St. John the Baptist Church in Poblacion, Calumpit, is the first chapel and convent in Bulacan, according to Fr. Rafael Balite, Jr.’s article in Sandigan dated February 1989, the first starter of the spread of Christianism across Central Luzon is none other than, the Meyto Shrine.

“Ang simbahan ng Calumpit na tinutukoy dito na naitatag noong 1572 ay hindi Simbahan ng Calumpit sa kasalukuyan,” wrote Balite. “Sa halip ang Simbahan na natatag noong 1572 bilang pinakaunang kapilya’t kumbento sa lalawigan ng Bulakan, at pasimula sa pagpapalaganap ng Kristiyanismo ay naitayo sa Baryo Meyto.”

The 442-year old Shrine, which almost resembles Magellan’s cross at Mactan, Cebu, has been one of Calumpit’s tourist destinations. However, the lack of directional signs supposed to be scattered around the town makes it hard for other tourists to visit the place.

Rodolfo Manumbas, Municipal Planning Administrator

“Iyan po ang plano natin talaga, ‘yung lagyan po ng mga pananda iyan,” assured Rodolfo Manumbas, Municipal Planning Administrative Head.

Manumbas also revealed that the municipality is planning to redevelop the shrine, and execute a more solid promotion of the historical place, especially to the students.

“Kailangan nilang malaman ano ba ang Meyto Shrine, ano ba ang epekto nila sa buhay nila,” said Manumbas. “Sa mga paaralan po unit-unti nating pinasasama ito sa curriculum nila sa school, saka nagpapalabas tayo ng leaflets o flyers.”

THE CARETAKER’S PLEA

The Meyto Shrine is being taken care of by the 70-year old Calumpit native Eugenia Garcia, who is paid by the municipal government to be the in-charge of maintaining the cleanliness and the security of the historical spot

With twenty years of serving as the custodian of the Shrine, Garcia, who previously lived almost beside the historical place, finds the job easy until the latter transferred to a house a few meters away from it.

“Iniigib ko lang ‘yung pandilig ko, wala kasing gripo jan,” Garcia said. “Ngayon nalayo kami, nalayo rin ang tubig. Hirap ako ngayon, nag-iigib pa para lang may maipandilig.”

Eugenia Garcia, the caretaker of Meyto Shrine.

Garcia revealed that she requested to the municipal hall for a proper source of water near the Shrine, but her plea is being ignored until now.

“Iyon nga ‘yung hinihingi ko ngayon eh, gripo, kasi nasira na ‘yung gripo dati, wala na talagng gripo buhat noon,” detailed Garcia. “Noon ko pa hinihiling ‘yan eh, hindi natutuloy.”

It has already been twenty years since she was requesting for it.

“Matagal na, buhat pa ng matatag (renovate) ‘yan eh,” said Garcia. “Tubig po talaga (ang kailangan ko ngayon.)”

Despite the flaws regarding the forgotten historical site, the beauty of the Shrine stands ubiquitously still, along with the hopes of being remembered and recognized not just by the locals, but across the country as well.