Pulang Lupa is the peak of 50 hectares of hilly agricultural land called Sitio Santol, or "Proses" (four roses) to the old-timers, or the "Farm" to family, less than 2 kilometers from the town center of Tiaong, province of Quezon in the Philippines.
To kinfolk and friends, Pulang Lupa is fondly referred to as the "Peak." In the days of olde, after the family Easter mass, it would beckon a traditional hike to the peak, an easy jaunt for the young ones and a difficult uphill effort for the elders, their breathlessness always rewarded by a paronamic vista of mountains and a verdant countryside and their thirsts quenched by the milk of freshly picked young coconuts.
Locals and old-timers refer to the place as Pulang Lupa because of the color of volcanic soil found in abundance at the peak. Historically, it has been called "Pinagbanderahan" (Flag Site), where the Japanese held a strategic station during its provincial occupation in World War II. The folklore is replete of buried treasures the Japanese left behind, still undiscovered in tunnels and caves in the bowels of Sitio Santol. Furtive diggings still happen in the cloak of the dark of night. Some hunters come with their treasure-seeking gizmos or third-eye psychics in tow. Others try to establish contact for Japanese clients reported to be brandishing authentic-looking maps. On occasion, talks reach deep into the details of digging, security measures, and division of the treasure.
Such was the treasure mystique and allure that when the construction for Pulang Lupa complex started in 1998, it was believed to be a cover for a clandestine treasure hunt, the buildings to cover the digging effort from nosy neighbors and the overhead view from helicopters. Alas, through nine years of digging and construction, no treasure has been found, just empty ammunition shells and cul-de-sac tunnels. Still, psychics, third-eyes and treasure hunters come, many pointing with great certitude on specific spots. In the middle of a room: "Dig here, 5 by 5, and 12 feet down." Then adding: "It is so big." Or, the 'professional' treasure hunter boasting of successes with previous treasure digs, contested monies tied up in Swiss accounts armed with compass, caliphers, boxes with numbers, lights and twitching needles, inquiring about where the sun rises and sets, and was there ever a big tree around, applyiing his accumulation of knowledge on Japanese modes of measures and markers, making computations and convergences of lines, adding somberly import and drama to it by a series of head-nodding, then points to a spot in the middle of the courtyard: "Dig here, 6 tiles-square and 10 feet down." A few even say, in animated awe, that what lies beneath can pay off the national debt.
Nine years later, the Pulang Lupa complex stands, a cluster of buildings atop this imagined massive treasure: The main house, a library, an art gallery, a big-enough courtyard for an endless variety of activities, five guestrooms, a small 350-seat outdoor quarter -amphitheater, an billiard/entertainment room and an open-outdoor chapel. (See: Pulang Lupa Photos)
It houses the Pulang Lupa Foundation that has been providing scholarships and education assistance to needy students from the town of Tiaong. It provides a place for activities of the communities that abut it and use of the facilities for student needs: the library for research and school work, the outdoor theater for rehearsals, the grounds for summer camping activities. (See: Pulang Lupa Foundation & Scholarships and Educational Assistance Funds)
With the rest of Proses, it
has provided increasing sanctuary for birds (see Birdwatching)
and wildlife uprooted by a widening perimeter of commerce and
subdivisions. The land is also habitat for a large variety of
medicinal plants that has provided the abutting communities a
wild-crafted source for their traditional remedies (see Philippine
Pulang Lupa Welcome Page
Pulang Lupa Foundation
Directions / From Manila