MANILA -- Stormy weather prevented the P50-million restoration of the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan from being completed in time for the anniversary of a formative battle between Filipinos and Spanish colonizers on Friday.
The landscaping and installation of LED lamps and fences at the shrine was only 70 percent complete when officials led the 123rd anniversary celebration of the Battle of Pinaglabanan, said San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora.
"Naging challenge dito ang weather. Kapag umulan, talagang tigil ang trabaho," he told reporters.
(The weather became a challenge here. When it rains, the work stops.)
Considered as the first major skirmish during the Philippine revolution, the 1896 Battle of Pinaglabanan started with Katipuneros attempting to seize a Spanish ammunition store and water reservoir. Filipinos lost the battle, with 153 killed and around 200 captured.
Zamora, his father San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat led the flag-raising, flame-lighting, and wreath-laying ceremonies for the battle's anniversary at the San Juan City Hall and the nearby Pinaglabanan Shrine.
"The battle of Pinaglabanan continues today in how to make the country's progress more inclusive," said Puyat, a great-granddaughter of Katipunan leader Dr. Pio Valenzuela.
The rehabilitation of the 5-hectare Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine, which commemorates the battle with a sculpture by Eduardo Castrillo, will be finished by September, said Zamora.
He and Puyat also inspected the ongoing restoration of nearby El Deposito, the subterranean water reservoir that Katipuneros attempted to seize during the Battle of Pinaglabanan. Authorities aim to open the tunnel to tourists in 2020.
Report from Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News