Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Altar, with new Capiz Candle Holders

The central niche is still empty, since "Jesus is not yet born" (this is where I place my image of Christ the King)--please don't take this literally. In January, I plan to enthrone here my mother's Sto. Nino image.


Capiz lanterns for sale. PM me if interested or check my FB account.

Sto. Nino in my Doctor's Clinic

Nothing related to pagsasanto escapes my eyes...

Re-Posting: Our Lady of La Naval Painting

Holy Mary, at the sound of your voice, Elizabeth, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and the baby in her womb leapt for joy. Visit us as you visited the home of Elizabeth. During our earthly pilgrimage towards God's kingdom, may we magnify the Lord whose greatness endures from age to age, who lifts up the lowly, fills the starving with good things, and comes to the help of His servants.

Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval, Our Mother, first disciple of your Son Jesus, intercede for us in our most earnest request (pause for a moment and offer your petition).

May we, in turn heed your unceasing call to do whatever your Son tells us to do. With your powerful intercession, we believe that what is most difficult can be done, what we have overlooked, you cannot miss, what is meaningless, bitter or painful can be transformed into fulfillment, gratitude and joy. Amen.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Marikina's Alay kay Maria Procession 2013 Part 2

See Part 1.

Marikina's Alay kay Maria Procession 2013 Part 2

From Left to Right: Fe, Milagros, Amparo and Soledad

A replica of Our Lady of the Abandoned, I like the way they folded the leaves to look like flowers, I've seen the same technique in other carroza's as well.

I can already imagine Tom Joven saying that the "bomba" of the Virgen should not be exposed. This is taking it to the next level...

The 16K carroza. I heard one of the "bantay" narrating the story to a "manang ng simbahan" how much they ended up spending for this carroza...although it is a common knowledge that bringing out an image entails spending XXXX amount of pesos, I still hope people be modest about it, especially since our country experienced one tragedy after another...that amount could have made a lot of difference. Anyone can argue following what Jesus said, give to Ceasar what is due to Ceasar, however what is more integral in our faith?...my point of view. I love religious images, but for me there's always a limit.

The Immaculate Conception

God our Father, may we always profit by the prayers of the Virgin Mother Mary, for You bring us life and salvation through Jesus Christ her Son Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Marikina's Immaculate Conception. I was informed before that the Hermanos and Hermanos of the "Alay kay Maria" procession take turn bringing out their image of the Immaculate Conception...however I've been noticing in the past processions that this is the same image brought out year after year.

Blessing the image...

Ateneo vs UST: Parang UAAP lang...Immaculada to the Jesuits; La Naval to the Dominicans

Help of Christians

One of the busiest marian image this Marian Procession season...

Marikina's Queen, Our Lady of the Abandoned

Eternal Father, I thank Thee for myself, and on behalf of all mankind, for the great mercy that Thou hast shown us, in sending Thy Son to be made man, and to die to obtain our salvation; I thank Thee for it, and I should wish to offer Thee in thanksgiving all that love which is due for such an inestimable benefit. By His merits our sins are pardoned, and Thy justice is satisfied for the punishment we had merited; by these merits Thou dost receive us miserable sinners into Thy grace, while we deserve nothing but hatred and chastisement: Thou dost receive men to reign in Paradise. Finally, Thou hast bound Thyself, in consideration of these merits, to grant all gifts and graces to those who ask for them in the name of Jesus Christ.

O my beloved Jesus! O sweet Mary! I trust in Thee. To Thee do I give my soul; Thou doth love it so much, have pity on it, and save it.

I thank Thee also, O Infinite Goodness, that, in order to strengthen our confidence, besides giving us Jesus Christ as our Redeemer, Thou hast also given us Thy beloved daughter Mary as our advocate; so that, with that heart full of mercy which Thou hast given her, she may never cease to succor by her intercession any sinner who may have recourse to her; and this intercession is so powerful with Thee that Thou canst not deny her any grace which she asks of Thee. Hence it is Thy will that we should have a great confidence in the merits of Jesus, and in the intercession of Mary. But this confidence is Thy gift, and it is a great gift which Thou dost grant to those only who ask Thee for it. This confidence, then, in the Blood of Jesus Christ, and in the patronage of Mary, I beg of Thee, through the merits of Jesus and Mary. To Thee, also, my dear Redeemer, do I turn; it was to obtain for me this confidence in Thy merits that Thou didst sacrifice Thy life on the Cross for me, who was worthy only of punishment. Accomplish, then, the end for which Thou hast died; enable me to hope for all things, through confidence in Thy Passion. And thou, O Mary, my mother, and my hope after Jesus, obtain for me a firm confidence, first in the merits of Jesus thy Son, and then in the intercession of thy prayers, prayers which are all-powerful in gaining all they ask!

I never tire looking at her face. I remember something I overheard in GMP years before about the Virgin being moody, she smiles if she likes to be brought out in procession.

La Naval

The indisputable star of the Procession...

La Naval de Manila

A beautiful replica...I know it is wrong to say this, but I am envious. I own a Sto. Rosario image as well but I can never match this, this is almost close to the real thing...

I am a devotee, and I am amazed how the owner was able to follow the infamous makings of the La Naval silhouette perfectly...even better than the La Naval in Intramuros' GMP which is dressed in Blue and White, while the image of La Naval is always in Gold whenever she is in a procession (A Flickr member commented before that a Queen would never want to be seen outside wearing day clothes...)

The carroza resembles the old carroza of the Virgin in Intramuros, but this is smaller ofcourse...

Look at that triangular shaped formed from the mantle...amazing!

The first time I saw this was in Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, but I am still amazed...just look at that, from all sides it's as if you are seeing the original image...I peeped once, how they were able to do this and the framework that holds the mantle in place is made of iron...really heavy, I don't have the manpower and moola to maintain this.

I come to offer you my prayers. I have made my pleas to you again and again and every moment my faith grows more steadfast; my hope more sure; my love more fervent; and my life more complete in your presence.

However, there had been a number of times that I fail to call on you; that I fail to love my neighbors, to keep my promises, to ask for pardon and to give pardon to others, and to give thanks for all the blessings that come my way. Yet, in all these moments, you are ever present, O Lord, to take me back if I will but come to you.

By meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, lead me to find your presence in my life as Mother Mary found You. In every mystery of my joy, in every mystery of my sorrow, in every mystery of my glory, may I recognize you, the Emmanuel - the God who is with us now and forever, Amen.

More of the silhouette

Parang Intramuros...

Blast from the past...What's missing? The lengths of ribbons tied around the carroza, held by devotees one by one

La Naval in Calumpang

Look at that shape...I just sigh...I want...

Our Lady of La Naval, pray for us!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holy Week Inspiration?

Rustan's Department Store in Cooperation with the Embassy of Spain released this limited Spanish Senorita inspired display. I was planning to adapt a few elements myself this coming Holy Week.

A modest Spanish Senyorita inspired ensemble

The 7th 2000 Hail Mary's

September 21, 2013- My Family once again hosted the 2000 Hail Marys devotion in commemoration of the arrival of our image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to pray for the souls of my Lolong and Lalang (mother side) who passed away in the month of September (they technically died on the same day, but different year. My Lolong died in the US in the 80's, US time of course and my Lalang died in 2004, if I am not mistaken, Philippine Time--compute the time difference and you will get the same day. Isn't it sweet and romantic? Anyway I digress...). We are now celebrating the 7th year anniversary of the image's arrival in our home.

Praying 2,000 Hail Mary's is a private devotion. It is a very powerful intercessory prayer. It is praying 2,000 Hail Mary's with our Blessed Mother to our Lord Jesus Christ. Combined with our faith and sincerity of heart, Mama Mary will intercede for us to obtain the graces or intentions we ask.




A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.


The 2000 Hail Mary's in Action

Celebrating the Feast of a Great Saint, Padre Pio

September 23, 2013- it was a rainy Monday afternoon, with my parents, we went to the Shrine of Padre Pio in Libis to hear mass and feel God's presence through His most beloved saint.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasant farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. From his childhood, it was evident that he was a special child of God. Francesco was very devout even as a child, and at an early age felt drawn to the priesthood. He became a Capuchin novice at the age of sixteen and received the habit in 1902. Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 after seven years of study and became known as Padre Pio.

On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio was kneeling in front of a large crucifix when he received the visible marks of the crucifixion, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of Church. The doctor who examined Padre Pio could not find any natural cause for the wounds. Upon his death in 1968, the wounds were no longer visible. In fact, there was no scaring and the skin was completely renewed. He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal. The wounds of the stigmata were not the only mystical phenomenon experienced by Padre Pio.

The blood from the stigmata had an odor described by many as similar to that of perfume or flowers, and the gift of bilocation was attributed to him. Padre Pio had the ability to read the hearts of the penitents who flocked to him for confession which he heard for ten or twelve hours per day. Padre Pio used the confessional to bring both sinners and devout souls closer to God; he would know just the right word of counsel or encouragement that was needed. Even before his death, people spoke to Padre Pio about his possible canonization. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people.

On June 16, 2002, over 500,000 Padre Pio devotees gathered in Rome to witness Pope John Paul II proclaim Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. The Padre Pio Foundation and many benefactors traveled to Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Pietrelcina, Piana Romana and many other holy places to celebrate Padre Pio's Canonization.

I just found out that the Shrine in Libis is a copy of the Monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo where Padre Pio spent most his life and where he died.

Amidst the heavy downpour, devotees keep flocking the Shrine.

Prayer for Padre Pio's Intercession

Gracious God, You generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son, and as a stirring inspiration to many people of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness, and love.

In the confessional, Padre Pio labored endlessly for the salvation of souls. Through his prayerful intercession, many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease.

Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people's hearts. From the blood of his wounds came a perfumed fragrance, a special sign of Your Holy Presence. With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass, inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of Padre Pio, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Help me to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion, so that I, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord, and one day rejoice in the Kingdom, where You live and reign forever and ever.

We are one in praying for a miracle of healing, of forgiveness and of love through the powerful intercession of Padre Pio. St. Pio, pray for us!

God, Giver of all good gifts, you generously endowed your servant, Pio of Pietreicina, with the gifts of the Spirit, signing his body as living witness to the saving Passion and Death of your Son. As many looked upon this reflection of your Crucified Son, Jesus, they experienced anew your saving mercy. As through his ministry, Pio reconciled penitents and invited them to taste your sweetness in the Holy Eucharist, so enable us through his intercession, to follow his example in prayer and penance so that we too may follow our Risen Lord and rejoice in His Kingdom where He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever...Amen.

Undated Photo of our Mater Dolorosa, I assume early 90's

Undated photo of our family's antique Mater Dolorosa taken in Poblacion, San Jose Del Monte Bulacan. I assume this was taken in the early 90's (judging from how I look, a little boy)and on Easter Sunday, before the Salubong because the Dolorosa is still wearing her detachable mourning dress which we use to cover her salubong dress and her mantle is white. Or maybe I am mistaken, this may be taken in the church after the salubong because I remember a time when the salubong dress that was made for that year was of purple and during the salubong procession it looked dark and black. The reason I have my doubts is because the image no longer has a black lacy veil which the angel should remove. So if it is not on the image, then it must have been removed already.

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows

O Mother of Sorrows, thou,
who beneath the Cross of Jesus
were given to us as our Mother,
look down with pity on us,
thy children, who weep and mourn in this valley of tears.
By that sword of sorrow which pierced thy Heart
when thou looked upon the Face of thy dead Son,
obtain for us that comfort
we so sorely need in our sufferings.

Thou were given to us our Mother
in the hour of thy greatest grief
that thou might be mindful of our frailty
and the evils that press upon us.
Without thy aid, O Sorrowful Mother,
we cannot gain the victory
in this struggle against flesh and blood.
Therefore, we seek thy help,
O Queen of Sorrows,
lest we fall prey to the wiles of the enemy.
We are orphans in need of the guiding hand of our Mother
amid the dangers that threaten our destruction.
Thou whose grief was boundless as the sea,
grant us by the memory of those sorrows
the strength to be victorious.

Intercede further, O Mother of Sorrows,
for us and all who are near and dear to us,
that we may ever do the Will of thy Son,
and may direct all our actions to His honoUr,
and to the furtherance of devotion to thy sorrows.


Virgin Most Sorrowful,
pray for us.

The Rose: Queen of the Flowers

Listen, my faithful children; open up your petals, like roses planted near running waters; send up the sweet odor of incense, break forth in blossoms like the lily. Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise; bless the Lord for all he has done.? (Sir 39:13-14)

Tayuman Finds: Manila Catholic Trade Inc

Belen at SJMV

The Belen of SJMV Parish

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
'Round yon virgin , mother and child
Holy infant so, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan

On the way to visit a client's house (yes I do weddings now...), we stopped by the church where they will be wed so I can have a quick look and have a rough idea how best to decorate it and maximize our budget.

A quick glance: the Church Altar and Interior


I saw this steel Salubong Galilea (tower)...oh! I also want one for my hometown, instead of using an elf truck...I believe Easter celebrations should have more drama, pomp and pageantry after all it is even greater in significance than Christmas.

Antique Imaculada for Sale

While window shopping in Megamall, I saw this on display in one of the furniture/specialty stores (4th floor). I asked about it and was told that it costs a whopping Php 150,000 ++. Upon hearing this, my companion exclaimed, "I can already buy a car with that price." Soooo expensive...but you get your money's worth. And so in my head the debate of practicality vs want ensues...at the end of the day is it right to spend so much for religious images?

But it is beautiful...no doubt about it. Faith of course does not come with a price tag. Salvation comes to those who seek it and believe it.

DIY Pagsasanto

When inside the mall, I always find myself day dreaming about things I see which can be used for my images either for Holy Week or in other processions I participate in...

One of my favorite malls is Megamall because of the variety of shops you can find in every floor...


For lighting, I like to go to hardware stores and look at chandeliers, imagine if you turn it upside down...can it be used on a carroza? Why not?

Carolinas and other Fabric Stores in Megamall

For the image's garments/clothing...

So many possibilities...

The Story of the Three Kings

Three Kings @ Kultura Store

Adoration of the Magi, from Art and the Bible

The original story can be found in Matthew 2. After Jesus was born, "behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem". They had seen a star that they considered indicative of the birth of the King of the Jews and had come to Jerusalem to find the child. When king Herod heard of their search, he wanted to know more about this possible competitor. His priests and scribes told him that such a king was to be born in Bethlehem, according to Micah's prophecy. Herod now sent for the three wise men and told them to go to Bethlehem and report their findings to him.

This Herod was in fact King Herod I, a.k.a. Herod the Great, tetrarch of Judea, who lived approx. from BC 73 to 4, and who governed the Judea region under Roman rule. He was not very popular among the Jewish population, mostly due to his attempts to enforce a Hellenistic culture. Traces of these attempts can be found in the ruins of Caesarea, the harbour city that Herod had built. Herod considered himself King of the Jews as well, although according to Jewish law he was not even Jewish.

The star guided the three men to Bethlehem where they discovered the child in the house the star stood over. The men offered the child their gifts: gold, incense and myrrh (a resin with a pleasant smell). This event is known as the Adoration of the Magi. That night, God told them in their dreams to ignore Herod's orders. The next day the Magi departed, avoiding Jerusalem on their way home.

When Herod learned that the wise men had deceived him, he saw no other option than to have all Bethlehem children under the age of three murdered. Jesus and his parents had already escaped to Egypt: Joseph had been warned by an angel, also in a dream.

So the three kings not only brought gifts, but also helped to save the child. In addition to the mysterious guiding star the subject matter couldn't fail but to inspire numerous painters.

The Bible does not mention the number of wise men, nor does it give their names or their colour: Balthasar, the black Caspar and Melchior. In the gospels of Mark, Luke and John, the wise men are not mentioned at all. In the Middle Ages, the number three was concluded from the number of the gifts. They were also given symbolic identities, representing all three biblical races, which meant that one of them had to be black.

The Old Testament considers Noah's three sons — Shem, Ham en Japheth — as the ancestors of three nations: the Semitic, Hamitic and Japhetic peoples. Ham had seen his drunken father naked and told his brothers; Noah cursed him for that. He is supposed to be the ancestor of the Canaanites and the African peoples. So a descendant of Ham could be black.

Epiphany ("the appearance") still is a Christian holiday, celebrated on 6 January. It not only celebrates the visit of the three wise men, but generally the Revelation of God to Man in the person of Jesus.

The word magus, the singular form of magi, is probably derived from an ancient Persian word for priest.

The three wise men in art

A glance at the many paintings with The Three Magi as subject matter reveals them all showing the three kings in adoration before the Child and Mary. Joseph is not always shown, and neither are the ox and the ass. What varies most is the number of figures: paintings tend to get more baroque as the number of figures increases. There is much variation in background matter, which can be any sort of shelter, ranging from a cave, a stable or an inn, to a house.

The Rise of the Artificial Flowers

I am noticing more and more are using artificial flowers in addition to fresh flowers on carroza's (floral arrangement). It certainly challenges my initial position regarding fresh + artificial combinations...and I am so ready to jump the band wagon...

It works with the right set of flowers. Tulips @ Php 30.00 a piece; Phalaenopsis orchids @ Php 100.00-400.00 (compared to the fresh ones which ranges from Php 600.00 up...)


I saw this picture of the Immaculate Conception at National Book Store, and was captivated by its beauty (cover of a mass card)

Christmas at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel

Advent Wreath

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Purity

Our Lady of the Abandoned, Marikina


O Immaculate Heart of Mary Virgin Most Pure, mindful of the terrible moral dangers threatening on all sides, and aware of my own human weakness, I voluntarily place myself, body and soul, this day and always, under Your loving maternal care and protection.
I consecrate to You my body, with all its members, asking You to help me never to use it as an occasion of sin to others. Help me to remember that my body is “The Temple of the Holy Ghost,” and to use it according to God’s Holy Will, for my own personal salvation, and the salvation of others.
I consecrate to You my soul, asking You to watch over it and to bring it home safe to You and to Jesus in Heaven for all eternity.
O Mary, my Mother, all that I am, all that I have is Yours. Keep me and guard me under Your mantle of mercy as Your personal property and possession.
Jesus, Mary, I love you; save souls!

Imprimatur: + Albert R. Zuroweste,
Bishop of Belleville, Illinois

Block Rosary Crusade, Spreading the Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima in our Community

Remember! Our Lady of Fatima said:

• “I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord, Who is already deeply offended.”

• “The Blessed Mother can no longer restrain the Hand of her Divine Son from striking the world with just punishment for its many crimes.”

• “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world. Add after each decade the following prayer: `O my Jesus, forgives us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy mercy.”’

• “Pray, pray, a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and-pray for them.”

• “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason!” [Sins against the 6th Commandment.]

• “Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God.”

• “Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much!

• “Wars are a punishment from God for sin!”

• “God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to MY IMMACULATE HEART. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.

• “Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask graces from her, and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to her.”

• “I promise to help at the hour of death, with graces needed for salvation, whoever, on the first Saturday of 5 consecutive months, shall confess and receive Holy Communion, recite 5 decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for 15 minutes, while meditating
on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to My Immaculate Heart.”

• “If my requests are not granted, Russia will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be destroyed!”

• “In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. Russia will be converted, and there will be peace!”

The Most Serene Face of Christ I Have Seen

Holy Face of Jesus, Be my joy.
Holy Face of Jesus, Be my strength.
Holy Face of Jesus, Be my health.
Holy Face of Jesus, Be my courage.
Holy Face of Jesus, Be my wisdom.
Holy Face of Jesus, Image of the Father, Provide for me.
Holy Face of Jesus, Mirror of Thy Priestly Heart, Be my zeal.
Holy Face of Jesus, Gift of the Spirit, Show me Thy love.
Holy Face of Jesus, saddened by sorrow, Grant my requests through Thy merits.

Prayer to the Holy Angels

Heavenly Father, Your infinite love for us has chosen a blessed angel in heaven and appointed him our guide during this earthly pilgrimage. Accept our thanks for so great a blessing. Grant that we may experience the assistance of our holy protector in all our necessities. And you, holy, loving angel and guide, watch over us with all the tenderness of your angelic heart. Keep us always on the way that leads to heaven, and cease not to pray for us until we have attained our final destiny, eternal salvation. Then we shall love You for all eternity. We shall praise and glorify You unceasingly for all the good You have done for us while here on earth. Especially be a faithful and watchful protector of our children. Take our place, and supply what may be wanting to us through human frailty, short-sightedness, or sinful neglect. Lighten, O you perfect servants of God, our heavy task. Guide our children, that they may become like unto Jesus, may imitate Him faithfully, and persevere till they attain eternal life.


Prayer to St. Anthony

Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony

"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints"
O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.

La Naval at St. Paul's Store

2 days to go and it's Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas in our Hearts

Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year. It is also the time of the year when I can be super creative and play interior designer. This year, my motif is a play between christmas decors and materials not-necessarily considered christmas decors, combining them to come up with very unique displays. My brother called it hotel lobby-esque style. Although I wish I could have the same materials used inside the whole house (same decors, same colors etc), I have to follow my family's rule of re-using our old christmas decors and giving it new life (we do add on decors from time to time but we want to limit expenses because as we all know Christmas is the time of the year when money seems to flow out of one's hands as quickly as water does and secondly, because of storage concerns. It will be such a waste to discard decors after each use.)

Today I am sharing a photo of my belen in our altar. I used to create a tableau using my images of San Jose and Our Lady of Fatima, but this year I decided to change things a bit, following the motif I have in mind. Here you will see the image of the Baby Jesus on a bed made of garlands accentuated by dark pink/mauve phalaenopsis orchids.

Looking at the image of the Baby Jesus after a tiresome day truly relaxes me, in my head I hear Jose Mari Chan's classic Christmas in our Heart...

Christmas In Our Hearts

Whenever I see girls and boys
Selling lanterns on the street
I remember the child in the manger as he sleeps
Wherever there are people
Giving gifts exchanging cards
I believe that Christmas is truly in our hearts
Let's light our Christmas trees for a bright tomorrow
Where nations are at peace,
And all are one in God

Let's sing Merry Christmas and a happy holiday
This season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus
Let him be the one to guide us as another new year starts
And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts

In every prayer and every song
The community unites celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ
Let love like that starlight on that first Christmas morn
Lead us back to the manger where Christ the child was born
So come let us rejoice
Come and sing the Christmas carol with one big joyful voice
Proclaim the name of the Lord

Let's sing Merry Christmas and a happy holiday
This season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus
Let him be the one to guide us as another new year starts
And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts

Let's sing Merry Christmas and a happy holiday
The season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus
Let him be the one to guide us as another new year starts
And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts

Gaudete Sunday at CTK Parish

Gaudete Sunday at CTK Parish

December 15, 2013. Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent in the liturgical calendar, based on the Latin word Gaudete, which is the first word spoken by the priest in opening the liturgical celebration on this day. Gaudete means Rejoice! Today, the rose coloured candle on the advent wreath is lit, representing the message of joy because God is always with us. Rejoice for He sent us His only son, Jesus.

Time to light the rose coloured candle

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.
— Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1

Gaudete Sunday is also known as Joy Sunday, the beginning of the third week in Advent.

The season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas, commencing on the day after the feast of St. Martin (12 November), whence it was often called "St. Martin's Lent"—a name by which it was known as early as the fifth century. In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks, and Advent preserved most of the characteristics of a penitential season which made it a kind of counterpart to Lent. Gaudete Sunday is a counterpart to Laetare Sunday, and provides a similar break about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character, and signifies the nearness of the Lord's coming.

The spirit of the Liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the feast of Christmas as well as for the second coming of Christ, and the penitential exercises suitable to that spirit are thus on Gaudete Sunday suspended, as were, for a while in order to symbolize that joy and gladness in the promised Redemption.Gaudete Sunday

A break from the simplicity called for the previous weeks of advent

Adding to the solemness of the mass is the singing of the choir accompanied by the majestic sound of the church organ...feels like attending Mass at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.

The Belen

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son ; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

CTK Parish does not fail to impress...even if the Belen characters are not complete, the use of "dayami" makes up for it (E for effort)..

We still see a very pregnant Mary in the Belen since traditionally we commemorate Jesus' birth on the 25th; the animals are silent witnesses in this grand event.

A Christmas draped in red

Wreaths and drapes cover majority of the church interior

More Christmas decor details

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Immaculada of CTK Parish

December 8th, 2013 Feast of the Immaculate Conception, however since the 8th fell on a Sunday, per Church ruling nothing takes precedence over the Sunday mass so the Feast is celebrated on the next day, Monday. It is a day of obligation, however if you attendad mass on a Sunday, you are good to go (it's like hitting two birds with one stone...)

A simple woman destined to be the Mother of the King of Kings

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for thy Son, we beseech thee that, as by the foreseen death of this, thy Son, thou didst preserve her from all stain, so too thou wouldst permit us, purified through her intercession, to come unto thee. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Image Details

The image looks antique, but I am not sure, looks can be deceiving. But one thing is for sure, the image is beautiful. 

A simple halo, adorned with stars is best to complement a beautiful face...although I wish the necklace on the head was removed or studs were used similar to Our Lady of Antipolo. The way it was placed does not befit a pure woman such as Mary.

See looks can be deceiving, from afar it looks like antique gold embroidery (turned black through time) but it is not...a blue gray thread was used instead.

Mama Mary, I can't take my eyes off you...

Beautiful Immaculada, where is CTK getting its Marian images?

Outside the Church

Left: Christmas Tree from garbage bags; Right: Advent Wreath

Entrance to the columbarium, simply beautiful, reminds me of the family mausoleum of the Escudero's in San Pablo, Laguna

Marikina's Alay kay Maria Procession 2013 Part 1

December 8, 2013- The feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates God's choice of Mary to be the mother of Jesus. God preserved Mary from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception. Thus, Mary was the first to receive the benefit of the redemption that her Son would merit for all. Read more @ The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   In Marikina, the annual "Alay kay" Maria procession is held to commemorate this feast.

Minutes before the procession

The angel Gabriel appears to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, and Mary responds, “Let it be done to me as you say.” Luke 1:26-38

The Immaculada


O God, who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain,
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end.


Our Lady of the Abandoned and her Sentries

New Tiles, New Look

It's been a while since I last stepped inside the Shrine, imagine what a few months can do...I like the new tiles, gives you an old world feel...since I work in Eastwood, I noticed that it is the same tile used in Eastwood Citywalk Mall.

Beautiful effect, old world tiles, painted walls...

Left: Soon to be Saint, Blessed Pope John Paul II; Right: An empty church altar...I still feel that there's something missing in the altar though and I am not talking about Our Lady of the Abandoned, more of the empty walls behind.

St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin

Remember, O most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, my beloved patron,
that never has it been heard that anyone sought your aid without being comforted.
Inspired by this confidence, I come to you and fervently commend myself to you.
Despise not my petition, dear foster father
of our Redeemer, but graciously accept it.

I really like this image of St. Joseph, one of the best I have seen as a matter of fact; beautifull stainless carroza as well.

Be mindful of us, O blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with thy foster-Son by the pleading of thy prayer: do thou, in like manner, render the blessed Virgin Mary thy Spouse, gracious onto us, for she is the Mother of Him, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth world without end.

Gracious St. Joseph, protect me and my family from all evil as you did the Holy Family. Kindly keep us ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in the imitation of the virtue of our Blessed Lady, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you.

O Blessed Joseph, you gave your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary. When the seal of death shall close my life,
come with Jesus and Mary to aid me. Obtain for me this solace for that hour to die with their holy arms around me. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul, living and dying, into your sacred arms. Amen.

The Many Faces of Mary in Marikina

O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from your sublime heights turn your eyes of pity on my. Filled with confidence in your goodness and knowing full well your power, I beg you to extend to me your assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. In order that I may never be a slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to you. I consecrate my heart to you forever, my only desire being to love your divine Son, Jesus. Mary, none of your devout servants has ever perished; may I, too, be saved. Amen.

End of Part 1. See Part 2.

In Homage to Our Lady of La Naval

The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but, in your mercy, hear and answer me.

GMP 2013: Sneak Peek

The Annunciation, Intramuros' GMP 2013

The Visitation, Intramuros' GMP 2013

The Magnificat (Canticle of Mary)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior; for he has looked upon His servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed. God who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is His name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear Him. He has shown might with His arm; He has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry He has given every good thing, while the rich He has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of His mercy; Even as He promised our fathers, promised Abraham and His descendants forever. Amen.

Solemnity of Christ the King 2013

Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe, grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Christ the King banner @ Filinvest

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

The Feast establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him"; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy"; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion. It also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world". — Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Gandas Catholic Culture

My Family's Image of Christ the King sponsored by the Parish for the annual procession

Gospel: Lk 23:35–43

The people stood by watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at him, saying to one another, “Let the man who saved others now save himself, for he is the Messiah, the chosen one of God!”
The soldiers also mocked him and when they drew near to offer him bitter wine, they said, “So you are the king of the Jews? Free yourself!” For above him was an inscription which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted him, “So you are the Messiah? Save yourself and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as he did? For us it is just: this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with me today in paradise.”

The sky looks like it's going to rain hard...and it did...= (

The image is to be taken to the host community (for this year)

Huge Banners of Christ the King are erected in Filinvest

At home

Lord Jesus, you are the King of our hearts. We stand at the foot of your throne, the Cross. Pour down your redeeming blood on us and cleanse our lives. Shower upon us the gifts and fruits of your Spirit. Rule over our souls as our Lord and Master. And at the end of our earthly journey, receive us into your Paradise where we will behold your face eternally. Amen.

Back at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Boracay

November 17, 2013- A few hours after arriving in Boracay, we trooped to Our Lady of the Rosary Parish to hear mass. To my surprise, gone are the huge fabrics that used to hang above in place of a ceiling and the image of Our Lady is in a fully embroidered dress, looking every inch expensive...a pleasant surprise indeed.

Tourist and Islanders join as one community in prayer...

Hmmm...I'm seeing more carrozas since my last visit

SJMV Rosary Month Celebration 2013

This year, our new Parish Priest initiated weekly processions throughout the whole month of October in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The group of chapels (communities) decide which image of the Blessed Virgin they will use (not necessarily an image of Our Lady of the Rosary). Our community was assigned on the third week. Good thing another procession was scheduled since our fiesta procession the previous week was cancelled last minute by the organizers due to the non-stop rains.

In the Parish, the image of Our Lady of Remedies (Nuestra Senora de los Remedios) was enthroned. I should have raised that during October the image to be used is of Our Lady of the Rosary, it makes perfect sense since October is the month of the Holy Rosary...however I am not familiar with the Remedios title and maybe it does make perfect sense to use it (I mean they are all images of the Blessed Virgin either or). Another assignment for me, there's little I know about this particular title, except that Mary, under this title is declared as Patroness of Pampanga. Our Parish Priest is Kapampangan and he owns the image. It was a decision made due to a misunderstanding when I refused to have my image of Our Lady of the Rosary participate in the Parish organized Marian Exhibit in September, celebration of Mama Mary's birthday,(because at home we have the 2000 Hail Mary's), our Chapel Coordinator assumed that I meant the October Devotion activities and not just the exhibit. Sad though...communication is really really important plus understanding and patience...

Dawn Procession Third Week
October 19, 2013, 5:30 am

Decorating the Carroza

The Procession

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.


My dearest Mother Mary, behold me, your child, in prayer at your feet. Accept this Holy Rosary, which I offer you in accordance with your requests at Fatima, as a proof of my tender love for you, for the intentions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in atonement for the offenses committed against your Immaculate Heart, and for this special favor which I earnestly request

I beg you to present my petition to your Divine Son. If you will pray for me, I cannot be refused. I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God's holy Will concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.

I offer you this spiritual Bouquet of Roses because I love you. I put all my confidence in you, since your prayers before God are most powerful. For the greater glory of God and for the sake of Jesus, your loving Son, hear and grant my prayer. Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

Arrival in the Parish

Carroza details

More Changes in the Parish

A glimpse of the Retablo, a new project of our Parish Priest...about time I say...

Piece by Piece the Retablo will soon stand tall and grand...

Another project of our Parish Priest is to have a full line-up of images for the Holy Week procession...first phase is to complete the 12 apostles (although I honestly think that the priority should be scenes from the passion since the apostles, biblically, were totally useless this time since they run away except for John after Gethsemane...the women had more balls to be out in the open witnessing Jesus' crucifixion.)...In this picture is the Pieta and the new Dolorosa

The Black Nazarene and St. Peter

Dressing the Images and Preparing the Carrozas
October 19, 2013, 5:30 am

This year I decided to use the Parish-owned image of St. Joseph.

Holy Family...well almost, if I remove the Baby Jesus carried by Our Lady of the Rosary...Jesus is believed to be an only child

The Parish-owned San Jose, I like it...

Carroza for Mama Mary and San Jose, who ever thought off this iron bar carrozas...

For Mama Mary, using the same structure as last week with the addition of LED candles and "puno."

Dawn Procession Fourth Week
October 19, 2013, 5:30 am

Carroza of Our Lady of the Rosary

Carroza of San Jose

From the carro to other uses...

From Parish to our home...

Flowers for the Chapel (Sunday Mass)