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Posted: March 22, 2012
Antequera’s Heritage Sites & Old Establishments
Since 1876 and the proceeding years, the church buildings made were not long lasting, not until 1896 when Father Francisco Vega ordered for the construction of the foundation of the present day church made of sea stones cut into tablets. It was not finished due to the 1898 revolution and the fall of the Spanish government. The construction continued by 1908 and the church building, which was laid on with stone, was reinforced now with cement direct from Rome. By 1914, the church building was finally completed. Indeed, it was the first church in Bohol to be made up of cement and it was inaugurated on December of the same year. Until now, the 1914 church still stand nowadays with only a little renovation and with some improvements. But until now, the traces of the 1896 church foundation is still seen even as you watch it today on some unfinished plaster on the lower ends of the church outer walls. The church of Antequera is not of massive stone and smaller, as compared to churches of other towns in Bohol. This blue and white-painted church is relatively new and made largely of tabique pampango and other light material. A notable feature of the church is its belfry or bell tower which is perched on the left-hand side of the church’s roof, rising way up high towards the sky. The belfry has a decorative dome as roofing with an image of Jesus, with outstretched arms, at its peak.
The people of Antequera are deeply religious and find expression of their faith in the attendance of religious activities in the parish. The parish was founded in 1880 and dedicated to the Nuestra Señora del Rosario whose feast day is celebrated every last Saturday of October.
Antequeranos had a long-cherished dream – that of having a secondary school right in their hometown. But like all dreams go, they merely haunt; realizing them is something else. To put up a school means building, classroom equipment, books, laboratory apparatus, and, above all, money with which to pay salaries and other expense items. Thus, for along while, that dream remained exactly what it was – a haunting dream.
Then, one day things began to move. A committee composed of prominent town residents started exploring every possible way to make the dream come true. Varied proposals were considered, but in the end only one stood out. It was to “sell” the idea to Msgr. Manuel M. Mascariñas, then serving as bishop of the diocese of Palo, Leyte. Himself a full-blooded Antequerano, Msgr. Mascariñas readily accepted the proposal for deep in his heart, too, was a burning desire to help the youth of his hometown through Catholic education. So it was that in June, 1949, Msgr. Mascariñas founded the Christ the King Academy. At long last, what was once a dream became a reality! Its first directress was Sor Dolores, an Augustinian sister. With her as pioneer faculty members were Mrs. Obdulia Rasonabe, Mr. Placido Cahoy, Mrs. Castora A. Balabis, Mr. Antonio Balabis, Sr., and Mr. Teodoro Pagaran. Later, in answer to superior orders, Sor Dolores had to leave and was replaced bu Sor Filomena Castro. The new directress came with two other sisters – Sor Monica and Sor Lucia. In its initial year, the Christ the King Academy took in only first, second, and third years students. Thus, during the 1949-1950 school year, it did not hold graduation ceremonies. Soon, the academy attracted students from several towns and proved to be a haven for those in the barrios who had long given up hope to study in a secondary school. As predicted, the first few years proved to be tough for the school and its administrators. With only a small enrolment, usually ranging between 135 to 160 students, finances were low. So, needed improvements had to wait, even teachers’ salaries were low and far between. It was when the going was toughest that the defunct bureau of private schools launched a drive to weed out the so-called diploma schools that proliferated after the Liberation. Several schools, in fact, had been ordered closed. Would the Christ the King Academy suffer the same fate? As if to compound its misery, the Augustinian sisters stayed only for a brief period, leaving Mrs. Obdulia Rosanabe to act as acting directress and face a brewing crisis. Things cleared up a bit when Rev. Fr. Arturo Tecson was assigned to take over. Fr. Tecson, apart from his priestly duties, worked hard to improve the Christ the King Academy. He was the first priest-director of the school. Interested in music and dramatics, he staged shows that drew more people to the school and, in turn, made them more aware of the existence of a secondary school in their own town. This attracted more students to enrol. Rev. Fr. Saturnino Felicitas took over after Fr. Tecson was reassigned. Under him, the Christ the King Academy progressed even more. He batted strongly for academic performance. He bought more equipment, repaired the building, and improved the services. He organized a choir which was soon to be invited to many fiestas and performances out of town. He next organized the parents-teachers association and thus suceeded to involve parents directly in the affairs of the school. June 15, 1953 proved to be a big day for the Christ the King Academy. On that day, it was granted the much sought-after goverment recognition. It was proof that the academy, after only four years of existence, had come up to the rigid standards set by the government, and never again would it be haunted by closure and other threats to suspend its operations. Soon, Fr. Felicitas too had to leave Antequera. He was replaced by Rev. Fr. Jovencio Sanchez who proved to be an aggressive and hard-driving school director. He first set his sights on many drop-outs and attracted them to enrol in the high school. With more students enrolled, Fr. Sanchez increased the number of teachers, taking extra care to hire only the best among the applicants. Next, he put up the first cemented basketball court in the town. When funds were low, and most of the time he did not have the funds at all, he led his teachers and students to gather stones, cart or carry them to the job site, and do the concreting work themselves. One day, the town had a concrete basketball court they said was made of stone, cement and sweat. Above all, Fr. Sanchez batted strongly for scholastic performance. And his efforts bore fruit. In the national examinations given to secondary students, the Christ the King Academy placed third among about 30 private schools in Bohol. It was a feat worth recording. With the transfer of Fr. Sanchez, new directors took over in succession – Rev. Frs. Caberte, Salada, Aparicio, and Lofranco in that order. Each left the imprint of their terms in helping make the Christ the King Academy grow with the years. The first CKA alumnus to rise as director of the same school where he was once a teen-age high school student was Rev. Fr. Genato “Busoy” Rebosura. his term started close on the heels of the launching of the New Society. Thus did he implement such New Society thrusts as beautification and the Green Revolution. He had the school campus landscaped, and whatever space was available, he and his students and teachers worked long hours to plant food crops. Looking into the plight of his teachers, Fr. busoy raised their pay and have them join the SSS. Even now, the CKA teachers recall with grateful hearts what the youthful Fr. Busoy did for them. Rev. Fr. Cirilo Darunday, in his capacity as diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, took over from Fr. Busoy when he had to leave the town. Fr. Darunday acted as the school director for two years. Next came Rev. Fr. Jesus Ligason who had a keen love for the arts and letters. He encouraged students to write short stories, dramas and poems. He held contests to draw out the best in the students. He worked hard to instill discipline among the students in keeping with the goals of the New Society.