Where are the places in Noli Me Tangere now?

Centuries ago, Rizal wrote a novel, the Noli Me Tangere, that inspired a revolution. Many would say that the piece is timeless. Its values, morals, and historic resemblance echo not only in the minds and hearts of Filipinos then, but also, in the generations of today.

Noli Me Tangere has been adapted into media, television, and plays. The setting of the story is one of its key factors in inspiring the people. Rizal wrote a compelling narrative in order to reach the people that he wanted to move. The narrative takes place in the 19th Century and the locations Rizal chose are prominent places in his country.

Calle Anloague

Photos | Top: Kinulayang Nakaraan; Bottom: Patrick Roque

In the novel, Anloague is a street in Manila where the house of Kapitan Tiyago stood. It was specified that it was in Binondo but where exactly? Nowadays, this street is Juan Luna. The street is famous for its shops where carpenters were abundant, hence the name. Then renamed in 1913 to the famous painter Juan Luna. 

Calle Sacristia

Photos | Top: Alden March; Bottom: BlauEarth

This is where Ibarra and Teniente Guevarra had their chat as the teniente told the story of how Rafael Ibarra, Crisostomo’s father, died in Chapter 4. Today, this street is now Ongpin. It was named Calle Sacristia because the entrance of the Binondo church was located on the street. In 1915, it was renamed in honor of Roman Ongpin, a Filipino-Chinese philanthropist who is a prominent store owner of art supplies in the area.  

Fonda de Lala

Photo | Bottom: Google

Also known as La Fonda Francesa de Lala Ary, this is not only a fictitious hotel that Rizal wrote for the plot of the novel. In the story, Crisostomo stayed here after his arrival from Europe and before he proceeded to San Diego as stated in Chapter 4. Fonda de Lala has a rich history. Built-in 1810 by an American Commercial firm, the Russel and Sturgis Company. It was later on sold to a native British-Indian named Lala Ary. 

In a footnote written by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin in her book, the hotel was also known as Finda del Conde. It is situated at 37 Baracca St. and is now commonly known as Plaza del Conde. The location is now situated by a new banking building.

Ilog Pasig/ Laguna de Bay

Photos | Upper Right: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.; Upper Left: neodelphi; Lower Right: Uwe Aranas

The bodies of water stated in the novel, these places were also key points in the story. Crisostomo and Elias met in Laguna de Bay at the picnic and the Pasig River is where Crisostomo escaped with Elias after the alleged uprising of Ibarra. Now, the Pasig River is still used by vessels in order to go across Metro Manila. Laguna de Bay is still home to many fish farms. Unfortunately, the Pasig River has been polluted.

San Diego

Photo | Bottom: Junfil Olarte

Most of the story in Noli Me Tangere happened here. While San Diego does not really exist, Rizal modeled the town after his province, Laguna. Laguna has been historically active in the past. And in contemporary times, it continues to pay homage to its rich culture with sites that are preserved and protected. It represented the Philippines as rich in resources but being taken advantage of by foreigners.

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With the changing tides of the history of the country, there goes along the culture, places, and prominent people that contributed to it. These old names can still be traced as their names stick in the minds of the people.

Some of these names are Raon (now G. Puyat near Quiapo, Manila), Echague (now Palanca st., also near Quiapo), and Balic-balic (now name G. Tuazon in Sampaloc, Manila). As historian Ambeth Ocampo placed it, the old names of these streets were, in one way reaffirmed and enhanced our culture.

The next time you stumble into the streets of Manila, why not try to search its buried history? 

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