21st century great fire at the heritage town of Boac

BOAC, Marinduque – It was an early Monday morning, July 2, 2018 when the people of Boac Central Business District (BCBD) were awakened by the alarming loud noise of firetrucks.

A large fire broke out roughly at 5:30 in the morning and caught up three blocks along Magsaysay Road totaly burning down century-old heritage houses, iconic business and commercial establishments.

These include the National Historical Institute (NHI now NHCP) declared heritage house of Don Piroco Mansion also known as Maharlikang Tahanan ni Kapitan Piroco, the site of former Lighthouse Maritime School and the ancestral houses of Deogracias, Roque-Enriquez, Lim and Recalde together with the commercial spaces below the houses -a botique, parlor & beauty care store, rice stall, clinic, pharmacy, photo studio, computer shop, school supplies store and an Evangelical Church, also the iconic Panciteria ni Chewing (Chi Ancestral House) and the locally-called Tindahan ni Sisî (Mirafuente Ancestral House), the oldest crafts store in poblacion.

Massive fire in Boac, Marinduque on July 2, 2018

Fortunately, adjacent establishments were not damaged due to firewalls erected next to the fire area. Power lines were cut off and classes were suspended immediately. Firefighters from the other municipalities and towns’ locals aided together to extinguish the fire. The fire reached its 4th alarm, according to Supt. Maria Victoria Padua-Brual, provincial fire marshal, Bureau of Fire Protection-Marinduque.

It could be remembered that on August 9, 1912, some 105 years ago during the American era, when a similar great fire pulverized the colonial poblacion, although owners had managed to rebuild their old houses again which stood up until early dawn today. Experts had suggested years ago for the restoration or demolition of these houses due to its bad state while the local government unit of Boac had taken interest in its total preservation.

A prolific travel blogger, Dennis Villegas, praised the houses as “Marinduque’s lasting impressions”. However, at this day, only one NHCP-declared heritage house stood up in the town proper and it is the Casa Narvas which is one meter away from Maharlikang Tahanan ni Kapitan Piroco.

No official statement yet has been given by the local government of Boac, a first class municipality, the capital of the island province and considered heritage by its locals. Marinduquenews.com

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Jerahmeel M. Laderas

Jerahmeel Madrigal Laderas is a junior correspondent of Marinduque News Network. Jerahmeel is a secondary teacher in Marinduque Midwest School. He studied BS Secondary Education in Marinduque State College. He is a geography master, musician and Naruto fan.

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