Archive for philippine religion

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.

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storming the heavens

Posted in culture, locales, people, religion, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2009 by mijodo

pp-quiapo-015

(After reporting on a group which is into fortunetelling (https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/the-plaza-of-the-oracles/) outside Quiapo Church, there may be another group that can create mystifying interest inside the same church)

In a little corner just right beside the main door of the Quiapo Church, there are a few middle aged ladies who are sometimes in deep prayer and sometimes seriously talking in whispers to some people.  Apparently, these are the ladies who accommodate people asking them to pray and ask the heavens above for answers to specific intentions.

One such lady is Beth de la Cruz who does padasal. It is an occupation passed down to her by  her mother and grandmother many years back. She explains that there are some people who feel that their prayers are not enough for God to bestow positive responses. Some even seek her because people literally do not know how to pray and it would be a big relief for them if she can help out in asking the Father to grant them their wishes and requests.  She says that the Quiapo church administrators and priests are aware of their existence, and it is only in Quiapo Church that such group is known and exists for asking prayerful intentions in behalf of others as a job.

Upon knowing one’s problems and concerns of the client, Beth writes down in a small notebook all the information needed such as the name of the person  needing prayers and his circumstances lest she forgets what she will be imploring about even days after. But then upon consultation, she gives a fast delivery albeit hushed of a prayer in Tagalog. Then she opens her prayer book which focused on the guidance of Padre Pio, the Capuchin Monk, popular for his stigmata (having the same wounds of Christ during his crucifixion)  and miraculous healings. Then she prays again, intensely this time using the text from the prayerbook. At the end, she accepts some token money for the service rendered.

glorious

Posted in artifacts, locales, religion with tags , , , , , , on July 2, 2008 by mijodo

There is a hilly place just a little beyond Quezon City where supposedly miracles do happen.

This place is called Grotto of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. The area is a replica of the famed Lourdes Grotto in France. It is told that matriarch and owner of the place had cancer in the 1960s. And she had decided to go to the Lourdes Grotto to seek help for her condition. Apparently she did receive a miracle, and was free of the disease. Since then, she vowed to put up a similar place. And for many years, many Filipinos have visited the place as pilgrims, and have even claimed miracles as well because of the healing water that gushes out from the place. Even at the main grotto site, one can see hundreds of crutches left behind by people who apparently can now walk well.

The place particularly during Good Friday is teeming with people. They do their Holy Week obligation by praying the Stations of the Cross passing through all 14 stations with life size statues. And there is the Rosary Hill where one can have a face to face encounter with the figure of Christ himself. And in this place, one can be overwhelmed by the majesty of its still unfinished church. As one walks the hilly paths under the heat of the sun, there is undeniable sense of the passion for religiosity and faith, a mark distinctive to many Filipinos.

stoned

Posted in architecture, artifacts, locales with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2008 by mijodo

I have been to Iloilo many times, yet know so little of it. Since it is my parents’ province, I only get to be there usually during their town fiestas which limit my visits to meeting relatives and playing some mahjong. But the last time I went to this Southern province, I insisted to see places I have never been to. Instead of being chauferred driven, I asked my cousin to take me to some of the famed churches of Iloilo using public transportation. (There is nothing like using jeepneys and buses to know intimately a place.)

Thus after an early morning flight, we were off to one of the most precious spots of Iloilo, the church of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva of Miag-ao. At first glance,  the whole church seemed to be covered in chalk dust – yellow chalk dust.  Apparently, thick slabs of yellow sandstone have been used to create the church which acted also as a fortress from year 1797. Somehow the architecture looks unique, particularly when other Philippine churches try to reach the skies; this time, the Miag-ao Church squats on its own hugeness.

But still the whole edifice albeit short is imposing and regal. With the two bell towers, flanking the main part on each side, the image turns into something else. It is as if the church could be used as someone’s throne. Now, maybe my comment is too much of a hyperbole. Or maybe i am just a little stoned.