Tuesday, September 27, 2011
San Antonio Fiesta 2010
June 13th 2010, Feast of San Antonio de Padua, back at my Lola's (father side) house in Balara. I miss this place, used to spend so much time here back in my school days especially when I was in College since its a stone's throw away from UP. My family (both father and mother side) is greatly devoted to San Antonio aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary. I remember my Lola (mother side), Lalang as we call her, a very pious woman who nurtured my faith more than anyone else. Her love for San Antonio is so great that she requested to wear a brown dress on her funeral, May her soul rest in peace, and I have no doubt that St. Anthony is now by her side. Time's like this I can't help but feel nostalgic. I guess this was my theme for the day...and you'll read more of these in my article.
The Morning Mass
San Antonio Chapel, under the Parish of Nuesta Senora dela Strada
We arrived in the chapel just in time. The mass was celebrated by a Filipino priest, I assumed the parish priest of Nuestra Senora dela Strada Parish, since the chapel is under this Parish. Before, celebrating the Fiesta is as traditional as hearing mass celebrated by Fr. Green, an American priest who for some reason has been well loved by the people of Balara. I am not sure where he is now, if he decided to go back to the states for his retirement or if he is already deceased given that he is really really old. No matter where he is now one thing is definite, the fiesta mass is no longer the same without him, without his homily about St. Anthony's life and miracles.
After the mass, the priest was suggesting songs for the choir...that was what I overheard
Rotate the picture 180 degrees, what do you see? I see a round carroza.
The Chapel Altar
When I was young, I used to believe that the Tabernacle in the chapel was some sort of portal to the "other world." Like in Ghost busters wherein after they catch a ghost using their trap they transfer what they caught in a huge vault where the ghosts were imprisoned. It used to scare me (and interest me, I was a very curious child). Although the chapel has it's own share of ghost stories and urban legends.
The Holy Family
Cleaned and repainted for this year's fiesta
I chanced upon an old photograph of the chapel once and I think the images in that picture were too small compared to the size of the images I am accustomed to...am not sure if these were changed or upgraded in the past however like I said these are the images I grew up seeing and being processed.
The Immaculada, standing on a snake with an apple on it's mouth
The vestments of the images are better this year. I hope the tradition of families sponsoring/dressing the images every year continues.
The image of San Antonio
My family is the one sponsoring the vestments for San Antonio. Traditionally what San Antonio wears is sewn by my grandmother or my other relatives. This year, my Tita took the challenge. My lola is very strict with how the vestment should look...not much decorations, no frills and designs at the edges (too feminine for her) etc.
The other images in the Chapel
Santa Barbara, patron saint of nearby Kaingin area (that's what they call the place). There used to be a fiesta dedicated to her, am not sure if this is still being practiced today but something unique about this procession is devotees are all inside a huge rosary and the image of Santa Barbara is borne on an Andas.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
I think her vestments are aging well. She is the newest image in the chapel.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
I guess a staple in every chapels or churches in the Philippines given the strong devotion we Filipinos have for this icon.
Before during fiestas, an image of Nuestra Senora dela Strada is brought to the chapel and is placed in the area where Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is...
Balara's scenery is your typical "barrio in a province" however Balara is not in a province, it is in QC between two grand subdivisions La Vista and Katipunan Grand Mansions/Villas. Though in the city, Balara residents celebrate their fiestas the old way...contests, marching bands and ati-atihan.
The Ati-atihan group performing in front of my Lola's house
No marching band this year, ultimately depends on the budget and the sponsor...
Another reason why I look forward to this fiesta is having a chance to taste my Lola's specialty...her Menudo. This is the best Menudo I tasted in my whole life, nothing compares.
No rains shall dampen our faith
After the Fiesta mass, around 7:00 pm the rain came pouring hard. But everyone does not seem to mind well except me...maybe...If I were the organizer I'd rather wait for the rains to stop before I instruct people to fix the images atop the carroza's. Instead, they started bringing out umbrellas and rain coats.
San Antonio being the miraculous saint that he is will not let his devotees' prayers remain unanswered. The moment the procession started, the rains stopped and the procession was able to complete its route culminating in a beautiful fireworks display.
The Floral Arrangement
Inside the Chapel
Love the Lines
See the arrangement in front of San Antonio, this arrangement is very striking given the lines and direction it is giving our eyes.
Simple but well decorated carroza's.
The family of Mang Mando did a good job once again. Very creative and resourceful, the bamboo foliage painted in different colors is a sight to behold...a key take-away for me last Sunday. Can't wait to use this.
We used to have a neighbor who I think really looks like her...Ate Porschia.
San Antonio's Chapel, Balara Filters Q.C.
As year's have passed, Balara's Fiesta has changed as well. Most of the original residents have long relocated, now you see mostly new faces. Some may even claim that the old charm of the Fiesta is already gone. However, the efforts of the organizers to ensure that this tradition survives with budget or not, with the old folks or not is commendable...and that I believe is another miracle of St. Anthony.