Thursday, September 29, 2011

St. Peter of Alcala Parish

Clapping and Dancing as they make their way towards the Manila Cathedral, the Pakil Delegation escorting the image of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba is the longest, most energetic and most entertaining among all the other delegations participating in this annual procession. Their shouts of "Sa Birhen, sa Birhen" is so contagious that in an instant you'll notice yourself swaying to the music of the band and chants of the old folks. This is what Turumba is for me. I have not seen the actual procession in Pakil, but I guess the Intramuros experience is close enough.

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The Image of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba is enshrined in St. Peter Alcala Parish, Pakil, Laguna; a truly beautiful church befitting this miraculous image (see other articles in Flickr regarding the story/miracle of the image). The design and details of the church facade is remarkable. I am not sure if this is Baroque but what I find most interesting is it's rather folksy exterior, you somehow sense that the builders of this church indigenized whatever instructions or directions they received from the Spanish Friars a long time ago.

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Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba

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Remember what they tell you when crossing the street when you were young, look at your right then to your left etc...well if you still do that it will somehow look like this.

The Church Interior

Like most old churches it is shaped like a cross with side altars along the sides. The moment you enter you will immediately be amazed by it's charm. You will have a hard time deciding which side altar to check out first and there's the Retablo directly in front of you with all its compartments, which literally pulls you towards it.

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Side Altars of the Parish. Notice also the nicely carved pulpit

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The Crucifixion with Mary and St. John

The Retablo, The Main Altar

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There's just too many compartments and it extends to both sides of the Parish not just in the middle. I can't identify all the images placed in these nooks.

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See if you can identify all of them, more retablo pics

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At the left most part of the altar you will see the andas of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba, check out the details...

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I wish I could feel the same amazement towards the paintings/murals on the ceilings...makes you wonder who renovated the church? Wrong move, bad choice...the church should really be strict with renovation works...only the original no interpretations or modifications even if the Parish Priest wants it. Just look at the paintings, you'll see a mix of replicas and a painting of a sculpture of the Pieta (I think this is Michaelangelo's)...what? I mean why? Is that a photo?

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After a slight heart attack...I focused my attention towards the brick walls...touched it hoping too feel a bit of history...old churches are time warps, takes you back in time right? I was too distracted by the paintings, I mean are the walls new as well? I need fresh air...

The Picnic Grove

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Exiting towards the back of the church, you'll see the Picnic Grove. There are tables or kiosk scattered around the area filled with devotees enjoying lunch after hours of travel time.

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What's special about this part of the church are the tableaus on the 7 sorrows of Mary. Devotees can use this as stops for reflection much like the 14 Stations of the cross, etc.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

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Each sorrow piercing Mary's heart, a sword per sorrow. I just have to commend the sculptor of the tableau, you see a certain degree of consistency on the appearance of the characters.

Towards the far end of the picnic grove (left side), you'll see another chapel or I dunno, a crypt? Maybe? one's going there (a bit know very cold and quiet) but since I am naturally curious I just had to go there...

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This is I think directly opposite the main altar. I climbed the stairs and noticed that there's a hole which leads to somewhere or something. I assumed initially that this is where you kiss the veil or manto of the image...however there's no image. And why is it padlocked? Anyway as the hairs at the back of my neck are slowly rising...I darted out of the chapel, back to day light.

On to the Second Floor

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You'll pass this courtyard as you make your way towards the stairs leading to the 2nd floor

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Before climbing the stairs, looked up to see the old wooden are they preserving the wood? It already looks fragile to me.

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Hanged on the walls are different images or representations of Our Lady of Sorrows

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Climbing up

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Well I was climbing up slowly...trying to appreciate all the details from the flooring, the ironworks, the windows etc

An Adik's Paradise

The Second floor of the church is full of religious images, vestments--stuffs that any adik will surely like.

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Immediately you'll notice a long line of glass cabinets housing the vestments of the image probably donated by devotees.

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And the vestments are organized very well. First you'll see the embroidered tunics, then the embroidered veils or mantos

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Then the non-embroidered set

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A bit farther you'll see the image of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba, although am not sure if this is the original one (the one used during procession since the original Turumba is a painting) or the replica.

Moving on...the 2nd floor is shaped like a square. We started from the left side, now making our way to the right side towards the chapel of the original Turumba image, the painting that was actually found by the Fishermen.

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I find this interesting, a poster listing all the popes of the Catholic Church

The Other Marian Images

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Mt. Carmel and Del Rosario

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More Marian images

The Chapel of the Painting

Near the stairs (since we went around from left to right) is the chapel of the original Turumba painting. It is dark inside, am not sure if that is the practice or a cost cutting measure of the Parish.

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Another beautiful retablo...

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The miraculous painting

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Our Lady of Sorrows surrounded by her 7 sorrows

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Cracks at the flooring of the chapel...just want to show how old this church is...

Turumba Set

And then making my way back to the stairs, down to the 1st floor again. Before I exited the church, took a moment to think of the many art works I have seen...this chapel can be a sample of what Paete or Laguna has to offer as a wood carving institution of the country.

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And out...

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One last look before getting in the car...really is a beautiful church.

Tutrumba, Tutrumba

Turumba Set

Turumba in Intramuros

Nuestra Senore de los Turumba at GMP 2009
Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba at GMP 2009

Holy Rosary Parish, Boracay


The Holy Rosary Parish is situated between Station 1 and Station 2. It's just a short ride away from D'Mall (a very creative way of naming a place don't ya think...= ). I think this is the only church in the country...maybe the world which is not very particular with regard to what you wear when you go to mass, you'd see people as if they just left the beach...well ofcourse the Islanders know better.


The eye-catching facade of the church. Reminds me of the Angry Christ Church in Negros Occidental...though the Christ here is nowhere looking angry...I guess its more of the church making an artistic statement I highly appreciate

Only in Boracay where the church looks like another party people let's go to mass!!! Yeh!

Close-up of the fabric covered ceiling...can't help but look up. It seems not for a church but somehow it just feels right. This was taken last year took me that long to write this...hehehe...any recent photos anyone?

The church altar. I guess...being true to the party altar covered in christmas/tivoli lights.

The Church Images

Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart, Our Lady of the Rosary and Sto Nino

Twin Hearts...Twin Pairs

This came as a shock to me...I mean celebrities, the it crowd etc flock to Boracay during Holy Week to frolic under the sun (and moon) I was not really expecting to see Holy Week images anywhere even a Santo Entierro and I saw this...It is relatively small but it's on this "silver carroza" and it looks well taken cared of. I went around the carroza looking for an opening...hehehe...can't seem to find one...I need to take a shot of the Cristo...unfortunately it's well covered...I guess they don't want to damage the image from too much sun

More calandra pics. I honestly frown upon the idea of people partying during Holy Week...but at least, at the heart of Boracay there is a place where people "can stop and reflect for a while..." The other carroza I think is for Our Lady of the Rosary

The Patron Image
Our Lady of the Rosary

In an all white ensemble...the place really comes of as a white party.

More pictures of Our Lady

White flowers to complete the look

All said, this church may not be like the ones found in Bohol or in mainland Visayas nonetheless this is the heart and soul of Boracay and her people (not the tourists...hmmm oh yes, I pray... the tourists).

Below is the schedule of mass in the Parish:

Monday - 6:30 AM
Tuesday - 6:30 AM
Wednesday - 5:00 PM [Perpetual Help]
Thursday - 6:30 AM
Friday - 6:30 AM
Saturday - 6:30 AM and 4:00 PM (Anticipated Mass)
Sunday - 8:00 AM (Visayan Mass) and 4:00 PM (English Mass)

Mass schedule from


The Boracay Grotto

The famous image of our Blessed Mother in Boracay. Read in the newspaper months ago that this statue was stolen. Not sure if it has been recovered. They say a lot of business opportunists want the image out--too religious, bad for business?

Where is She?