According to popular legend, St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, went to Calvary 300 years after Christ’s death to search for Christ’s cross. At the site of the crucifixion, she unearthed three crosses, and had her sick servant lie down on each one. Upon touching one of the three, the servant was cured; this cross was determined to be Christ’s. The anniversary of this discovery is traditionally celebrated on May 3rd.
In the Tagalog region, the custom of the Santacruzan celebration started sometime after the Immaculate Conception of Mary was declared official dogma in 1854, and after the publication circa 1867 of Mariano Sevilla’s translation of the devotional Flores de Maria or Mariquit na Bulaclac na sa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto cay Maria Santisima (The Flowers of Mary or the Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations During the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary the Holiest).
During Spanish times, parish priests would choose hermanas or sponsors from the daughters of wealthy families. These women would shoulder the expenses, plan the festival and decorate the church as well as the caroza which would be used in the procession (wikipilipinas).
The traditional Flores de Mayo in Camp Crame was held on May 29, 2014 in the Parish of St. Joseph.
Played the Stage Mother.
In 1996 I visited Vigan and saw how the brick buildings were being repaired by cementing them which made me felt so sad that there was little effort to preserve them. Vigan became a UNESCO heritage site and I am hoping the cultural preservation would continue.
Similarly the churches in the Bicol region retained their grandeur with the colorful hue of bricks and this sight depressed me.
Saint Nicolas Church in San Nicolas, Laoag
I posted my Angel’s angel believing it was the good one and then she made this drawing.
After this drawing she posted her version of ying and yang, the one holding the black ball is the evil and the good one is holding the white ball but looks can really be deceiving.
Our Lady of the Gate church, Nuestra Señora de la Porteria parish was built in 1773 atop Sta. Maria Hill in Barangay San Roque with the view of Mayon volcano. It is one of the most visited churches, known for its baroque architecture.
The steps to the church and the people whiling away time.
Whenever I go to any place, the first thing I would look for is the Catholic church especially those that dates back to the 1500’s. There is something in them that pulls and fascinates me.
Let me skip Albay since I haven’t really looked at the churches here in my backyard. St. Clare monastery is one of my firsts here, offering eggs and asking prayers for my kids and family and my beloved “lupang sinilangan”.
St. Francis de Assisi in the garden of the Monastery.
Another old church in Barcelona, Sorsogon with light house across the street, St. Joseph Parish
the side of the church with Santan flowers
and the lighthouse
The pillared tower is designed for religious activities which were discontinued for safety reasons. The inside in the picture below is where the Angel (played by kids) is lowered to remove the veil ( “dagit”) of Virgin Mary on Lingo ng Pagkabuhay or Domingo de Pascua. It was closed by the blue curtain and “dagit”by the Angel activity before “salubong” where the risen Christ meet His mother Mary is now being held outside the church.
In the 1500, Spain colonized the Philippines through cross or Christianity making Filipinos slaves like the maker of the Pyramids of Egypt. The Paoay church was built by Augustinian friars in 1593 from rocks carved from the rivers and taken from the sea and using molasses to bind the bricks.
the church Belfry made of bricks with moss covering some parts on the top.
my favorite part of the church are the closed windows which held the secrets of the 500 years of its existence.
this is where the priest delivers the sermon after reading the Gospel, an interesting part, the pulpit which can no longer be found in modern churches
all the excitement of seeing an old church can be gleaned from just a glimpse of the church structural design.
Lipa City Cathedral
The 14 stations of the cross San Jose, Batangas, Philippines
1. Jesus is condemned to death.
2. Jesus takes up His Cross.
3. Jesus falls for the first time.
4. Jesus meets his Mother.
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross.
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
7. Jesus falls for the second time.
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem who weep for Him.
9. Jesus falls for the third time.
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments.
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
12. Jesus dies on the Cross.
13. Jesus is taken from the Cross and given to His Mother.
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Swimming and outing are the hallmark of holy week. I am equally guilty of these earthly pleasures when this is a time for reflection, introspection and meditation on the life and passion of Jesus Christ.
Honestly, we do our visita iglesia in Batangas (in Manila churches with my husband when he was still alive) and station of the cross but the most awaited part is the Sabado de Gloria for our swimming and family outing. Tomorrow Maundy Thursday, my kids and sisters will go to San Jose, Batangas for the Station of the Cross and the visita iglesia in different churches in Batangas. Good Friday is the day when we stay inside the house reading bible or watching movies and surfing online, the distractions are everywhere.
I remember the reading of the Passion of Christ which is being sung in a tune I would never learn, those were the days when Lenten Season was observed by us with all the rituals from Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) to Easter Sunday. The cenaculo depicting the passion of cross is being held in our church in Rosario, Batangas and the “salubong” and “dagit” in Easter Sunday which is followed by the dance “Pagbati” with selected young ladies. The suman and other kakanin that my mother (God bless her soul!) cooked every lenten season were part of the poignant memories I can not forget. I missed the simplicity of life then without the internet and the noise of the city.
Photos taken in Tuguegarao, Cagayan and hope to take pics tomorrow of old churches in Batangas.