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Cavite’s Spanish colonial dam recommended as heritage site

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By Anthony Giron

IMUS CITY, Cavite–The Spanish colonial Casundit Dam in this capital city has been recommended to be a heritage site considering its age and historical past.

The still active Casundit Dam, near Ylang-Ylang River, in Barangay Malagasang II-D is deemed as the oldest existing Spanish regime dam in Region IV-A or the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) area, if not the country.

The more than three-centuries-old dam has a deteriorating “simboryo” or dome that was believed built for personnel monitoring irrigation and other purposes.

History revealed that the Casundit Dam has existed since as early as 1780 and its construction built was reported drafted by sculptor and architect Brother Lucas de Jesús María of Zaragosa, in Spain.

City Information and Tourism and Development Officer Edgardo Jay Saquilayan has recommended to Mayor Emmanuel Leonardo Maliksi and the Sanguniang Panlungsod (City Council) that Casundit Dam be made a heritage area after a research of its past.

“The age of the dam and the “simboryo” bespeaks of the area, what it had been through the centuries, it is a heritage area,” Saquilayan told this reporter as he spoke of the Casundit dam.

In an address during the City Council session last Monday, Maliksi called on Cantimbuhan and the 12 councilors to take cognizance of the city’s heritage sites and enact measures that will tend to its preservation, protection and promotion.

Saquilayan said that Imus has at least 17 heritage sites, with historical markers, that are in Barangays Alapan, Poblacion, Bucandala Malagasang and other areas.

History revealed that the Casundit Dam, which has been existing as early 1780, was only one of the dams that were built by the Augustinian Recolletos friars in Cavite. Among the old dams in the province are the Molino Dam or Prinza Water Dam in Bacoor City and the Tres Cruces Dam in Tanza municipality.

The friars from the Order of Augustinian Recolletos (OAR) were the primary proponents in building towns and infrastructures such as churches, convents, roads, bridges, dams and canals in Cavite and elsewhere in the country.

In Imus alone, a report said that there were scores of dams that were built during the Spanish era.

Cavite is one of the oldest provinces in the country following the discovery of Mactan, Cebu by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan in March 15, 1521. History writers reported that the Spaniards have settled in Cavite as early as 1570.

The provincial government approved in 2014 an ordinance creating the Cavite Provincial Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage that will tend to the historical sites in the area.

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