Archive for the religion Category

a lady wades through its river

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, food, history, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by mijodo

It is like a scene straight out of an old part of Manila – a little chaotic, a little washed out. Multitudes of jeepneys and tricycles ply about the narrow city streets at its most commercial site of Centro. People try hard to amble about at the avenues and roads, without much of the wanted sidewalks or pavements. The city proper perhaps may look indistinguishable from other Philippine cities however one has to see through Naga City’s bustling commerce and animated lifestyle, to find out the genteel quality of its people and the soulful character of the vicinity.

If it is Naga, then it has to be Penafrancia. The charter city is host to the the most prominent church of the whole Bicolandia – the Penafrancia Church. At the corner of the metropolis, one can see church’s more moderne architecture where the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia is housed. Every September, the whole city and its devotees make a rapturous commemoration of a festival in honor of the Virgin. In other parts of the Philippines, such religious event is done in frenzied street style celebration. But somehow the local church officials through the years have made the whole Marian festival subdued yet with distinction – the image of the lady is paraded through the river of Naga. There, along different sections of the river, hundreds and thousands of people witness with much anticipation the fluvial parade, beautifully lit by the candles in the evening.

There is much piety and reverence pouring out from the place. Aside from the Penafrancia Church, it is the Cathedral of Naga that dominates the area. The Cathedral boasts of a spanish-romanesque influences with its thick walls, round arches, and large towers.

More education, less movies. Naga has numerous and prestigious colleges and universities. Among them is the Jesuit driven, Ateneo which has two campuses in Naga. One is in the nearer Bagumbayan Sur; the other a little toward Mt. Isarog, in the area of Pacol. For the youth who are leaning towards technology and science as a career goal then they should enroll at government funded, Naga City Science Highschool. During weekdays, one can see a plethora of students, enjoying the company of classmates and friends inside and outside school campuses.

Interestingly enough, the city kids of Naga do not frequent the malls. Perhaps, because all the malls in the city do not have movie houses (at the time this was written -2009). In fact there  just few of them – independent movie houses – scattered in the city. But this will change, as a humongous mall will open in the coming months to serve Camarines Sur and other provinces of Bicol. Surely, the mall will have many cinemas. And this may just alter the simple ways of the studentry of Naga.

Some like it hot – and with gata (coconut cream). Yes, it has been told that Bicol’s cuisine is largely spicy hot and calorie rich. One of the fastfood restos that promote such delectable local food creations is Geewan which can be seen in many parts of Bicol, including Naga. There one can have an appreciation of the original laing (taro or gabi’ leaves cooked in gata), Bicol Express (meat in shrimp paste and gata, and pinangat (ground beef wrapped in banana leaves).

The food in the Geewan is definitely scrumptuous, but somehow there is less bite than expected. Most probably Geewan has tempered the hotness of its servings, in order not to cause tongue trauma to its valued clients. Afterall, many customers who come by to this place are tourists who just want to sample the famous food of the region without experiencing the complications brought about by the supposed spiciness.

Definitely less piquant, but as flavorful as the other native Naga food is sinuman. It is a snack made out of glutinous rice cake cooked in panucha (crude sugar). In the outskirts of Naga City, ambulant vendors bring and display the stuff in a bilao (bamboo tray). Sinuman costs at five pesos a piece.

Naga may be as busy as the other urban centers of the Philippines. And it is possible, with some salient modifications in urban restoration, this chartered city can catch up with them in terms of luster and gleam. But it is Naga’s graciousness and ardent character that should always be kept and preserved by its people.

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crimson

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, history, locales, people, religion, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2010 by mijodo

It was one day before the height of the activities for the fiesta of the Black Nazarene of the Quiapo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene and St. John the Baptist Church. If you want to avoid the swarming of the crowd and the heightened passion for the reverence of the statue, then you better go there before January 9

And true enough, there were less people.  Last January 8, if you are around the vicinity of Quiapo Church, then you could  still feel  the anticipation of the devotees, milling around and inside the church, for the coming festivities. The church was full, during the almost hourly mass. Some had to contently wait outside the church premises. Security men, usually ardent followers of the Nazareno and in dark red shirts, were ready to make things orderly during the occasion.

Vendors were taking advantage of the need for Nazarene shirts, pendants, fans, face towels, hankies, and other chotskies, usually in predominantly maroon which is the color of iconic statue’s robe.

It is said that in 1606, the galleon ship from Mexico carrying the statue of the Nazarene burned (hence the Nazarene’s ebony color) on its way to the Philippines in 1606.   The statue’s survival, and the dramatic color change provided that mystic aura to the relic. Since then, people have sworn about the supernatural occurrences such as healing miracles, and positive changes in their lives  because of the Black Nazarene.  

Although the adoration for the Nazarene has been strong over several generations, it is in the last two decades that the media seems to have picked up the tumultuous, almost overzealous affection for the representation of the pitiable Christ, kneeling haplessly on his way to his Crucifixion.
There have been several mishaps, even deaths, related to the pushing, shoving and jostling for space near the truck that carries the life-sized statue from the start of the procession at the Luneta Grandstand, to the narrow streets of Manila, and eventually to its home, Quiapo Church .  Yet this obvious, almost fanatic devotion for the Christ’s image is how some Filipinos, clad in crimson shirts and barefooted, manifest willful need to show appreciation, and cleansing of past transgressions.

a journey into stillness

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by mijodo

Happy year 2010, my dear readers!

It is a new year for all of us. And perhaps, we may want to start off the year and a new decade, with some introspection on how we have lived our lives for the last 10 years, since year 2000.

You may just want to hie off to bucolic Bukidnon, not only for some rest and relaxaton, but for some prayerful retreat as well.

In Malaybalay, there is a place, run by the Benedictine Monks who can guide people to a spiritual journey. At the sprawling compound of the Monastery of  the Transfiguration, you are greeted with the iconic and yet moderne church, created by National Artist, Architect Leandro Locsin. With the church’s pyramidal rooftop pointing to the skies above, you yourself are set to reach the heavens above, with some contemplation and worship.

With less than a thousand pesos a day, the Monks will take you in as a guest, where you get to have some simple and yet hearty meals, including meriendas, and get to sleep alone, (or share a room, if you’re with your hubby or wife), in a spartan yet comfy room.

With no television and internet to disturb your peace, there is only the beauty of the rugged natural surroundings, and church’s wondrous architecture to help you explore your mind and heart. You are highly encouraged to be still and quiet, and just meditate on guide questions provided by the retreat masters throughout the day. 

And you start and end the day with monastic exultations and prayers. At about 3 in the morning, the church bell peels to signal for you to get ready and partake in worship, with the monks through incantations and songs. And at the evenings, you are invited to a dimly lit church for vespers and more enthralling choir music.

With the hooded monks at your beck and call for direction, the room and board ready for healing the weary soul, and the monastery’s sounds and sights for inspiration, Bukidnon’s Church of the Transfiguration is a highly recommended travel, for a brand new year, a brand new decade, and a brand new you.

the vanguard island: bantayan proper

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2009 by mijodo

 

ppppp  bantayan 139

(preceding story http://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/the-vanguard-island-sta-fe-beach/)

Against the usual tradition.  If you just want to roam around Sta. Fe, then the padyak (foot pedalled cab) will suffice enough. But if you want to visit the two other towns,  like Bantayan Proper, then you need to hop on to a motorbike, and hold on to the driver for an easy ride. In Bantayan Proper, this is where you get extra cash when needed. There is an Allied Bank Branch which dispenses money at its ATM (automated teller machine).  Of course, even in the resort hotels of Sta. Fe, there are credit card facilities as well so pretty much, money may not be a problem in the island once it becomes depleted.

But in Bantayan Island, people don’t run out of being spiritual and being religious. It is manifested in its coral-stone edifice of the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. At 430 years old, it is the oldest church not only in Cebu but in the whole of Visayas and Mindanao.  It is a magnificent architectural and heritage piece constructed by the Augustinian friars. Inside, stone statues abound which depict saints and their lives. More often, the wood carved statuary are used as decorations in the interiors of other Philippine Churches. There you get to see old ladies sell candles, and young men play basketball at its four quadrant plaza.

 If its church is inspiring, you may a little bewildered by its atypical Holy Week ritual. People of Bantayan Island are exempted to abstain from eating meat. In fact it is said that there is a Papal approval by LeoXII during the 19th century allowing the people to feast on chicken, beef and even Lechon even on Good Friday. Apparently, people during the Spanish colonial period had to ask the Pope for such immunity from the usual Lenten practice, as the fisherfolk  during Holy Week would skip going out to the seas to catch fish to observe Lenten Season. Although the reason may be a little convoluted, you will be just in awe at how piously people observe Good Friday as life-like statues which illustrate the passion of Christ’s crucifixion parade through the streets.

(continuation – https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/vanguard-island-madridejos/)

 

wedding of the year

Posted in architecture, artifacts, events, fashion, history, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, sports, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by mijodo

sta monica church of sarrat 

The story could have come from a tv soap opera in epic proportion.

A story of strong political couple, willfully ruling a place for some decades, with a vision of creating a perfect  familial image.

In the early 1980s, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos might have  tried mightily to control the minds of the Filipinos from their Malacanang Palace, but surely enough, they were not able to restrain the heart of their first daughter, Imee.

Apparently, Imee, who was already making her own political mark, as National Chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay, fell in love with a married sportsman, Tommy Manotoc. Obviously, during that time when there were no cellphones, no text messaging, no emails, and even no freedom of the press, such salacious, portently scandalous story would have to be spread through hushed tones, and word of mouth.

And the story took a wilder, more frighteningly turn.  Tommy Manotoc was kidnapped. The alternative press such as We Forum, the precursor of Malaya Newspaper, had a heyday reporting the story, albeit there was a strong possibility of the paper being clamped down by Malacanang. Then all of a sudden Tommy Manotoc just came out of nowhere, reportedly from the New People’s Army camp in the mountains of Sierra Madre. But of course, the popular conclusion about this sordid tale was that Imelda masterminded the abduction.

Some years later, during in first few months of 1983, the youngest daughter, Irene would marry Greggy of the pedigreed and landed Araneta clan. Although Imee could maintain relationship with Tommy, and even start family of their own, they were not able to get the grand nuptials that the Marcoses wanted for them. Tommy who was able to get a divorce from beauty queen Aurora Pijuan could not merit another marriage as the Catholic Church would not allow such. Thus this time around, the Marcoses saw to it that a fabulous wedding would have to be prepared for Irene and Greggy.

Ryan Cayabyab, Irene’s personal friend and musical mentor from University of the Philippines, involved himself in composing a whole wedding cantata.  European designer Renato Balestra was tasked to do the Italian silk and Philippine pina cloth wedding gown.  The exclusive, and red bricked Fort Ilocandia Hotel in Laoag was rushed to beat the nuptial date deadline, as it was where many of the invited foreign dignitaries, esteemed government officials and chic members of the society would stay before, during and after the wedding. It was also the venue for the reception.

And of course, Irene and Greggy chose the heritage church of  the sleepy town of Sarrat, where the Edralin side (mother) of Ferdinand Marcos came from, and where the ancestral house still stands. The Baroque and Neo Classical Sta. Monica Church had to be cleaned up, spruced and refurbished for the wedding.  Hundreds were deployed to paint the walls of the edifice, and install large airconditioning  machines in the cavernous church building. And beside the church,  a huge tent was put up for the town’s local officials and people who might  not have the necessary credentials and status to get inside the official reception area, and yet should partake in the lavish food prepared.

True enough, it was the grand social event of that year for the Philippines as  the Marcoses, particularly Imelda would have envisioned. The local press put the event as the banner story, and paralleled it with the Diana and Charles’s royal wedding, a year before.

Some months later in  August, 1983, a strong earthquake shook the church. And some days later, again in August, Ninoy Aquino arrived and shook the Marcoses. And the seeming  telenovela story continued.

sacred vow

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, history, locales, people, religion, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by mijodo

san jose celebration in our household

It is Holy Week. And somehow through the years, there is progressive diminishing solemnity on how Filipinos have spent such days. We can blame it on how people see it as opportunity to travel and do some rest and recreation. We can also point to cable television and the internet as sources of distraction. I remember the years when Holy Week meant  a lot of  bleakness, and sorrowfulness. And everything lightens up only during Easter Sunday. (But just the same, I am still wondering why there is extensive sadness during these days when Christ willingly allowed himself to die for all our imperfections. In fact Christ has triumphed over our inert evil ways.)

But there are still people who remain to be pious during the most hallowed days of the Lenten Season. And they do this with some ritualistic observance done to fulfill a promise. This is what we Filipinos call – Panata. There are many ways and rites to show devotion to the Lord. Pabasa is one panata where people in the community take turns in singing the Passion of Christ’s Crucfixion. Usually pabasa is done for the whole holy week.

Many times  a panata is started by one person, until the whole family becomes a part of it, and even continues it once the person who originally commenced the panata is not available. And it is possible that a whole community takes part of a particular panata such as in Pabasa and Cenakulo. 

There are other methods of doing panata. Some would go to 14 churches during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday for Visita Iglesia. Some would act and be part of a Cenakulo – a dramatization of Christ’s last days. And some would go to extreme – flagellate themselves, and even accede to nail themselves to a cross – just like what Christ had done. The Catholic Church has already expressed that such acts are violent and unwarranted.

Some panatas are ways to thank the Lord for His blessings and miraculous healings during the years. Some panatas are done for a wish to come true in the future. While some do their panatas for fear that some unexpected and bad things can happen once a panata is skipped. Just the same, these people see a panata as an overt expression of devotion to Christ, the Saviour. And yearly panatas are done for the rest of their lives.

But a panata is not exclusive to the activities done during holy week. Some would be called to go to Quiapo Church for the Nazareno devotion or even trek to Naga for the Penafrancia Festival and participate wholly for the activities.

In our case, my Mom celebrates San Jose, who is the carpenter-father figure of Jesus Christ. In our household, it has been done  for a few years now. But my mother says that her mother in her hometown in Iloilo had this panata   for many years. And somehow, mom wants to revive it in our family.

At first I find it a little weird. We have to look for people to represent St. Joseph, Mother Mary, and a young Jesus and dress them as such. Then after some prayer, they are to be fed food by other people. Then everyone has to take the hand of each significant participant and ask their blessings. Until now, I am still struggling to get the full meaning and sense of this custom afterall the responsibility of pursuing this panata can just fall on me, some time from now. Hopefully, I just don’t want this to be just a mere ritualistic continuation of my mom’s sacred vow.

Advanced Happy Easter everyone. Belated Happy Birthday Mom.