Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Intramuros: The Noble and Ever Loyal City

One of the must-see places when you visit Philippines is Intramuros. This is a historical place which once served as seat of power during the colonial Philippines. Inside this walled city can be found places of significant importance to Philippine history. Among these are Fort Santiago, site of Ateneo Municipal de Manila, Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church and the Memorare - Manila 1945.

Fort Santiago

This plays a significant role in the history of Philippines because this is where our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal was incarcerated before his execution in 1896. Several lives were also lost here during the colonial period as well as during World War II. 

The entrance to Fort Santiago

The relief depicting St. James the Great at the top of the entrance to Fort Santiago.

The fountains at the grounds of Fort Santiago.

The bridge in the moot of Fort Santiago.

The ducks in the moot.

The statue of our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal at Fort Santiago.

Remnants of guards' quarters at Fort Santiago.

Remnants of prison cells in Fort Santiago.

The walls of Fort Santiago.

An observation deck in the walls of Fort Santiago.

A way to the dungeons of Fort Santiago.

The artillery at Fort Santiago.

The buildings across Pasig River as seen from Fort Santiago. 

One of the sculptures of our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The sculpture of Dr. Jose P. Rizal's self-portrait.

Another sculpture of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. 

The sculpture of Dr. Jose P. Rizal when he was exiled in Dapitan. 

Draco rizali, the flying lizard bred by Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Another lizard bred by Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The breeding set-up of Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The surgical instruments of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. It was said that Dr. Rizal himself operated the cataract of his mother.

This is the lamp in which Dr. Jose P. Rizal inserted his "Mi Ultimo Adios."

Ateneo Municipal de Manila

This school is considered historical because this is where our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal studied for his secondary education from 1872-1877. 

The former site of Ateneo Municipal de Manila.

The marker depicting the site of Ateneo Municipal de Manila.

Manila Cathedral

This is the episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Manila. Originally, a parish church owned and governed by the Diocese of Mexico in 1571, it became a separate diocese on February 6, 1579 through Pope Gregory XIII's Papal bull Illius Fulti Praesidio. The church was destroyed several times and the current edifice is the eight reconstruction. 

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The cathedra inside the Manila Cathedral. 

The coat-of-arms of the Archbishop of Manila.

The pulpit inside the cathedral.

The choir area of the cathedral.

Tomb of the late Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, the driving force behind EDSA People Power Revolt.

Statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila.

Depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Filipiniana.

Painting of the Annunciation. 

Sculpture of an angel carrying holy water.  

Sculpture of La Pieta.

The tympanum of the main door of the basilica has the inscription "Tibi cordi tuo immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramus" (English Translation: We consecrate to your Immaculate Heart and entrust to you for safekeeping).

The facade of the cathedral at night.

Monument of Charles IV at Plaza Roma.

San Agustin Church

This is a very romantic church, which is popular for weddings. It is under the auspices of the Augustinian order and designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. The construction of this church started in 1586 and completed on January 19, 1607. The church survived several earthquakes of which minor destruction where repaired.    

The facade of the church on Holy Thursday.

The altar of the church.

The crucifix in the altar. 

Relief of Nuestra Senora de la Consolacion at San Agustin Church.

The pulpit which was used by the friars during homily.

The magnificent chandeliers inside the church.

The tomb of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish conquistador located on the left wing of the altar.

Memorare -Manila 1945

This monument commemorates the war victims during the "Liberation of Manila" fought from February 3 to March 3, 1945. This is located at Plaza de Santa Isabel at the corner of General Luna and Anda Streets in Intramuros, Manila. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Viva La Virgen! Bicol's Enduring Devotion to Ina

It is quite unique that of all the regions in the Philippines, only Bicol has a regional fiesta. This fiesta celebrates the maternal care of Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia. 

Our Lady of Penafrancia has a long history of devotion. It originated with Simon Vela's search of Pena de Francia, which is a hill near San Martin del Castanar, Spain. When Simon found the hill, the Blessed Virgin Mary carrying Jesus in her arms appeared to him.  

During the apparition, Simon got ecstatic and said, "Oh, Lady, the dream of my soul, the inspiration of men and women! My labors are now ended. Many years have I traveled far and wide to seek you and to drink in the beauty of your eyes! Do not forsake me: be my protection."

The Lady answered: "Simon, rejoice! Your constancy will be rewarded. Your dream will be realized. Your labors are now ended. Take heed and keep in your heart what I wish you to do. Dig in this spot and take what you can see and place it on the summit of this rocky hill. Build on this hill a beautiful dwelling. You are to begin it and others will come to finish it. This must come to pass as it has been the wish of my child."

In the morning of May 1434, Simon began digging in the spot where the Blessed Virgin appeared. Then, there was a voice which told him not to do the digging alone. So he went back to the town of San Martin del Castanar and asked five men to help him. His helpers were Anton Fernandez, Pascual Perez, Benito Sanchez, Juan Hernandez and Antonio Sanchez, the parish scribe of the place.

After continuous digging, on May 19, 1434 they were able to find the image of the Blessed Virgin with the Child in her arms. 

The devotion to our Lady of Penafrancia came to Naga through the family of a certain Spanish government official from Penafrancia, Spain. The government official had a son named Miguel Robles de Covarrubias who was a seminarian and seriously ill at that time. Miguel vowed to Our Lady of Penafrancia that if healed he will construct a chapel on the banks of Pasig River. 

Miraculously, Miguel was healed and then he was ordained a priest not in Manila but in Ciudad de Nueva Caceres (now Naga City). To fulfill his vow to Our Lady, he mobilized the natives living along the slopes of Mt. Isarog to construct a chapel along the banks of Bicol River. He also commissioned the artisans to sculpt an image of Our Lady based on the picture he was carrying all along. It was said that during that time, miracles happened here and there, so the news spread quickly and many people believed in Our Lady of Penafrancia. Thus, what it came to be - Bicol's lasting devotion to "Ina."  

The altar of the Basilica. 

Stained glass in front of the Basilica depicting Bicol's devotion to Ina.