Marinduque / Boac
The municipal administration has, in a flyer distributed free to guests visiting the town, provided the following information about Boac: "The name Boac is meaningless. It was derived from the Tagalog word 'biak' , which means divided. It happened thus: In the olden days when there were only three established towns in the Island of Marinduque, the town of Boac comprised a very vast area of land and mountains as well as islets, namely, San Andres, Salvaria Pangapasan, and Agpisan. It also had a very good port in Balanacan... The river which ran from the eastern hinterland to the western plains down to the sea had divided the town into two areas, the northern area and the southern area. The people used to say 'Ang Bayan ng Biak' which means the town is divided by the river into two parts. In the course of time, by means of verbal intercourse [sic] and communication and the exchange of letters and notes between the people of Marinduque and Mindoro, the Tagalog word 'biak' had been corrupted to 'Boak' and then to 'Boac', the name of the town which persisted to this day"
The town dates back to 1580 when Franciscan missionaries set up a community with the name 'Our Lady of Monserrat'. In 1622, it became a Jesuit parish.Social critics have pointed out that Catholicism as practiced in the Philippines is rife with sexual undertones to an even wider extent than Catholicism in southern Europe (and certainly to a wider extent than in central or northern Europe). Accordingly, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, or variations thereof, seem to be the most preferred name given in the Philippines to Maria figurines, Catholic churches or institutions. The town of Baybay on the Island of Leyte is the site of a Catholic school that has aptly been named Franciscan College of Immaculate Conception - aptly, because it is run by Franciscan nuns. The first parish church was furnished with a statue of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, and 'Immaculate Conception' is the patron saint of Boac, as it is of Baybay, Leyte. While an 'Immaculate Conception' patron saint may lend more wings to the fantasies of the pious, especially the young, in would probably, in the interest of the holiness of the Catholic Church, be better for parishes to choose patron saints, such as St. Peter or St. Paul or even Our Lady of Fatima -- titles which certainly would not invite sexual thoughts. To chosen names that are more sex-neutral would also be advisable to avoid the irony that while a town fiesta may be dedicated to an 'Immaculate Conception' patron saint, it's throughout the Philippines precisely the town fiesta that gives The Country youth the prime occasion to pursue the business of a rather non-immaculate conception. Traditionally, the town fiesta is the time when the unmarried country youth mingles and makes new friends, thus laying the groundwork for marriages and traditionally child-rich families. (More serious breaches of the Immaculate Conception concept during a town fiesta dedicated to an 'Immaculate Conception' patron saint are not insinuated here.) Social critics and psychologists have claimed that a language needlessly enriched with underlying sexual allegories is an indication of a hypocritical social order. In the case of Boac they could point at the choice of an 'Immaculate Conception' patron saint as well as, in a minor case, the inclusion of "verbal intercourse" in the town's official brochure.
To repeat the sentence in question: "In the course of time, by means of verbal intercourse and communication and the exchange of letters and notes between the people of Marinduque and Mindoro, the Tagalog word 'biak' had been corrupted to 'Boak' and then to 'Boac', the name of the town which persisted to this day." The inclusion of the phrase 'verbal intercourse' adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence; 'by means of communication and the exchange of letters and notes' is just as conclusive as 'by means of verbal intercourse and communication and the exchange of letters and notes'. Therefore, one may suspect that the author chose to use the phrase 'verbal intercourse' for its possible double meaning, sort of using it as a valve for the unconscious.
The town fiesta of Boac is on December 8, and it's in honor of the town's 'Immaculate Conception' patron saint. The official Boac brochure assesses: "Many people from the different towns of Marinduque, Mindoro and Quezon had always looked forward to this date to join the pilgrimage to the town of Boac to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception and partake of the fiesta."
Well, this author's experience from more than a decade in the Philippines has been that most folks look forward to a fiesta more for its entertainment value than the chance to pay homage. On the other hand, the municipal administration of Boac always stresses the religious aspects of live. Accordingly, the official motto of the town is "Service to God and People". The town's official seal not only bears this slogan but also a depiction of the Holy Spirit as dove.
By the way, the town not only has an official slogan but an official flower and an official tree as well. The official flower is jasmine, the official tree is acacia. The reader may remember that pupils in Philippine schools nationwide learn that the sampaguita is the national flower of the Philippines, the mango the national fruit, and nara the national tree.As far as trees are concerned, nations always seem to glorify on flags, or by adopting them somehow officially, those trees they have lost. The flag of Lebanon depicts a majestic cedar tree - but that country has hardly any left. In the Philippines, nara trees have been heavily decimated. On the other hand a Filipino couldn't imagine to pick the coconut as national tree, or the banana as national fruit. As it is a small town, there is little practical information, the visitor to Boac will need beforehand. There are at least four permanent hotels or lodging houses, the Boac Hotel, Lagio's Resting House and Ruby's Lodging House, all three on Nepomuceno Street, as well as Cely's Lodging House on 10 de Octobre Street; all have rooms at around 100 pesos. During the Moriones Festival, many private households also rent out accommodations, and the rates at proper hotels and guest houses are higher than during the rest of the year.
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Last updated: May 08, 2010