Sunday, January 12, 2014

The 34th Grand Marian Procession of Intramuros Part 1

I share what I see, what I think, what I feel in each photo I upload for my blog. I love processions, and the way I capture GMP basically shows that...

The Intramuros Grand Marian Procession (GMP) is no obscure event, or at least nowadays it isn't. Yearly thousands flock to the Walled City to witness this one of a kind gathering of Marian images in the country. Consequentially, a lot of pictures taken during the procession day are now surfacing in the internet. I remember years back when you google "Grand Marian Procession" only a few pictures related to the event will appear in the results page. Now, google away. This has been one of my motivations why I wanted to have a blog dedicated to religious images or "Pagsasanto." In the vastness of the internet, there is a place where there is never a lack off anything about "Pagsasanto" and that is my blog. I wish to expand the current reach of my blog, I wish to make it accessible and interactive as what the "Pagsasanto" community was in Flickr. I don't know what I am not doing right because I am  far from reaching this objective however I believe that someday what I am doing will matter and will make a difference. In addition, when my interest is piqued by a certain picture, there is always an urge in me to see more, know more; however a picture can only offer you a singular view, and that is what has been captured on camera...This has been my disappointment at times looking at pictures over the internet, and videos too. Everything is 2D. Sometimes you wish you can turn the image around (the carroza for example), move it to the left or to the right to see other details hidden from your line of sight. Thus, another motivation in me was born. When I take pictures I make sure that I get a good full 360 degree view, in case my curiosity needs to be satisfied, I will not have any regrets. And to regret not being able to take a certain picture is the worst feeling ever, due to the realization that you can never go back in time and re-visit what you previously even if I had to struggle sorting, choosing, editing the hundreds of pictures I have taken, it is still worth it. But time is always unfair...the work seems to take forever to finish...but at last I am done (for 2013, 2014 is just starting) and I am very much pleased with myself.

Now going back to googling Grand Marian Procession images. As you go over the results, interestingly, you'll notice pictures of the same images captured in varying perspectives and angles. The individuality of the photographer shines through in each and every picture. Some prefer taking pictures of just the images' faces, fully utilizing the zoom capability of their cameras. While others focus on the whole image, highlighting the embroideries and the expensive accoutrements, characteristics that distinguishes these images from the ordinary. Others follow a more journalistic approach (this I like and admire so much), pointing their cameras to where the action is (the "kodak moments"!). I on the other hand is more interested in the carroza, the totality of it, that is the carroza, the floral arrangements, the lighting and of course the religious image on top. Plain and simple. Point and Shoot. The details like the face, the accessories, the embroidery or beading etc becomes relatively unimportant. What becomes more important and beautiful is the merging of all the details to form one outstanding carroza.

GMP is the best thing that ever happened for religious images enthusiasts like me. Although, I still do not agree that a lot of Grand Marian Processions are appearing and all are calling themselves Grand Marian Processions. They should come up with a new name. Not all can be Grand...and in the case of Intramuros' GMP, if all others are grand then it should become the Grandest Marian Procession (superlatives superlatives) but that just sounds a bit too much. So for me, there's only one Grand Marian Procession and that happens in Intramuros every 1st week of December. All else fails in comparison. And this is not a paid advertisement unlike what you see in Vic Sotto's movies.

December 1, 2013-- I face the days leading to this day in fear and trepidation, thinking the worst amidst the successive tragedies that beset the country, from Zamboanga to Bohol to Yolanda. What if the Cofradia de la Inmaculada suddenly cancels the event? Is that even possible? Fortunately, the resolve of the organizers, the image-owners and the devotees alike are resilient and resolute. However as a gesture of respect and sympathy, I overheard, the organizers have asked the image-owners to donate whatever budget they have to the victims of the successive disaster.

Let us offer a prayer for our countrymen who have lost loved ones and material possessions in the past months. May God look kindly on them who most need His mercy.

Heavenly Father, I pray for the victims of these disasters, Lord, that you would comfort the lives that were spared Lord, and that you would take care of those who perished. Lord, please bless those who are doing everything they can to help these people and also make sure that things run smoothly in repairing our nation.

Please help the victims to have patience and also help family members to be reunited. Lord, I pray that you will ensure that the victims do not come under any illnesses from this disaster, and I also pray that they get enough food and clean water and proper shelter for everyone. Lord, please touch the hearts of the world to continue to pray for these people and also to donate whatever they can to help rebuild lives. Lord , only you can make miracles happen and I am asking for one now. In your precious name, Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.
GMP is known for its opulence and grandiosity, is it fitting to spend so much money for flowers and for images (in general) in this difficult times-- while some of our countrymen have nothing to eat, nowhere to live and are still in shock and are mourning...the budget for each carroza (in thousands of pesos) if you multiply by 100 (the number of carroza's expected to participate) will amount to a sizable amount, and can be used to buy food, water and other basic necessities. This argument keeps appearing in my articles, I know, because the balance between what is right and just is not as obvious as one could hope it to be. There appears to be no guidance anywhere. The decision is left to the image-owner's discretion and pocket size. Best be clear about it, I am not judging or accusing anyone, this is more a personal deliberation. My mom would always tell me whenever I start spending more than what I should for my images, "Mama Mary/Jesus would not want that, remember they were very simple people." I just want to emphasize that yes, we may be spending money over religious images (give to Caesar what is due to Caesar as Jesus said) but we should not forget what is more important.
Faith without works is dead. "Pagsasanto" or joining processions is not a sure path to heaven, yes it can influence, educate and inspire but it does not guarantee a one-way ticket to Yahweh's Paradise...and I quote James 2:14-26

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

All Roads Lead to Plaza Roma

By hook or by crook, I make it a point to witness the annual GMP procession. It is the ultimate treat for any Santo enthusiast. It is the synthesis of everything an enthusiast would want to see in religious images, in processions etc etc. As I try to recreate via words the imagery I saw, at times I cannot also restrain myself not to provide my own opinion about the carroza, the floral arrangements, things that are close to my heart. I never claimed that I was an expert in everything pagsasanto nor do I brag that I know everything. Through my blogs I keep on learning, through attending various processions like GMP I get to learn new things, experience new things, realize new things. I do not write so that I can bring down others, or proclaim myself as the subject-matter-expert. I write because this is something I love. This is something that matters to me. This is something important to me. This is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

All roads lead to Plaza Roma...this is the first thing that got my attention upon entering Intramuros. As usual I can no longer contain the excitement I am feeling in anticipation of the wonders beyond

The Marian Images on their carroza's, decorated and already lined up...marching bands rehearsing...cameras hopping from one santo to the next!!! This is truly GMP...The banner welcomes everyone to the 34th Grand Marian Procession in Intramuros. Left-most picture: GMP is for all ages, for the young santo and photography enthusiasts and for the Lola's who celebrate their devotion to the Mother of All, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I counted the carroza's though, and the images did not reach 100 so the poster is a bit misleading...but of course if suddenly those who committed did not appear last minute, this is out of the organizer's hands...(I kinda do this at times for valid reasons...but still guilty).

The procession route...

Waiting and waiting...and waiting...for the first time, if I am not mistaken, the procession did not start on time. Usually by 4 pm, you'll be hearing the words "I now declare that the Grand Marian Procession of Intramuros in the Modern Times, Open" or to that effect...Due to the intermittent rains  perhaps...I thought this was going to be one wet GMP again...fortunately God heard our prayers, through Mama Mary's intercession...while waiting I was chatting with a group from San Mateo, Rizal, devotees of Our Lady of Aranzazu. This just shows how universal our devotion to Mama Mary is, even GMP...there's so much to talk about and it kinda helped us be entertained while waiting...

The Procession Starts

Entrance of the Colors and the Cereales

The beloved Pope of the Pinoys, Blessed Pope John Paul II...JP2 we love you!

Blessed Pope John XXIII, he will be canonized in honor of his legacy, the Second Vatican Council, alongside Blessed John Paul II on April 27th, 2014. John XXIII today is affectionately known as the "Good Pope".

Prayer of Pope John XXIII Love of Mary

Holy Immaculate Mary, help all who are in trouble. Give courage to the faint-hearted, console the sad, heal the infirm, pray for the people, intercede for the clergy, have a special care for nuns; may all feel, all enjoy your kind and powerful assistance, all who now and always render and will render, you honor, and will offer you their petitions. Hear all our prayers, O Mother, and grant them all. We are all your children: Grant the prayers of your children.
Amen forever. 

Soon to be Saints, Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII

St. Roch is invoked against: cholera, epidemics, knee problems, plague, skin diseases. For this reason, the organizers decided to include him in the pray for deliverance of our country from more calamities and harm; and for healing. He is also the Patron Saint of: bachelors, diseased cattle, dogs, falsely accused people, invalids, surgeons, tile-makers, gravediggers, second-hand dealers, pilgrims, and apothecaries.

Prayer to St. Roch

Dear mendicant Pilgrim, you once took care of sufferers from the plague and were always ready to help others by kind service and fervent prayers. You yourself had no home and you died in a dungeon. No wonder countless invalids have confidently invoked your help. Pray for us all so we become spiritually healthy.

O great St. Roch, deliver us, we beseech thee, from the scourges of God;through thy intercession, preserve our bodies from contagious diseases,and our souls from the contagion of sin.Obtain for us salubrious air; but, above all, purity of heart.

Assist us to make good use of health, to bear sufferings with patience;and, after thy example, to live in the practice of penance and charity, that we may one day enjoy the happiness which thou has merited by thy virtues. 

St. Andrew is recognized as the first disciple of Christ. He was martyred and is said to have been put to death on a cross, to which he was tied, not nailed. He lived two days in that state of suffering, still preaching to the people who gathered around their beloved Apostle.

St. Andrew, Patron Saint of Intramuros, pray for us!

San Jose

There is no other carroza which captured my fancy this year but San Jose's. In the sea of Marian Carroza's, this one stood out in its design, complexity, use of color, imagination and creativity. I can even boldly say that this carroza stole the show that night. After San Jose, the rest of the carroza's are lackluster.

St. Joseph. This article from CNA best explains his greatness, "Most of what we know about the life of [St. Joseph] comes to us from Scripture and legends that have sprung up regarding his life. Though Joseph is only mentioned by two of the evangelists, he is paid the compliment of being a "just" man. This is a way of saying that Joseph was such a good and holy man that he shares in God's own holiness. In addition, Joseph gives us an example of how to be a just spouse and how to have holy relationships.

Joseph's example as a husband can be best seen in how he respected Mary. He realized that God had a special plan for his wife and for his son, and Joseph did everything in his power to help this plan become reality. When Joseph was given chances to give up his vocation to the married life, by divorcing Mary or leaving her, he resisted the temptation and stayed by her side providing support and love."

The carroza is beautiful from all sides. This is a wonderful presentation after last year's christmas inspired decoration.

The image of San Jose in Plaza Roma

My most favorite part of the carroza are these mirrors framed by a wonderful mix of flora.

The Various Images of Mary, nonetheless One and the Same

La Buena Familia, a tableau showing the young Mary with her beloved parents St. Anne and St. Joaquim. I remember my Lola telling me when I was young that you cannot go to heaven unless you know who the parents are of our Blessed Mother (although of course you do not take this seriously, faith and love of God is the most important).

I also noticed that this is number 7. There is no number 6, which I assume is the slot for the Nina Maria.

The Annunciation, Mary says YES to God's plan. I like the fact that the floral arrangement does not try to cover the beautiful silver carroza although I feel that it is too heavy in the front compared to the back (side of the Blessed Virgin).

The Annunciation, a lovely scene in the life of Mary.

I greet you, Ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Throne of Grace, miracle of Almighty Power! I greet you, Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity and Queen of the Universe, Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners!

Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness, and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, miserable as I am. Obtain for me, Queen of heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my Mother and Protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory.  

The bethrotal of Mary to St. Joseph

Mary visits her pregnant cousin Elizabeth 

A beautiful crucifix ushers in the delegation accompanying the image of Dela O, a pregnant depiction of the Blessed Mother

Mary is the Theotokos, the god-bearer.

Our Lady of the Nativity.

The Death of St. Joseph, Jesus and Mary at St. Joseph's death bed.

Mayor Dolor, Mary in deep sorrow over the crucifixion of her son. She is accompanied by St. John, the beloved.

The Regina Ceoli, the Virgen Alegria, the star of the Salubong Procession; a victorious image of  Mary depicting her joy over her son's resurrection. Catholics believe that Jesus first appeared to Mary after He came back to life.

Our Lady of Light, a very famous painting of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo of Our Lady of Salvation. Another very Filipina depiction of the Blessed Mother.

"Bunot," the surprise design element of this year's GMP. 

The Grand entrance of Mary Help of Christians

A chinky-eyed antique image of the Blessed Mother

Another variation of the Mater Dolorosa, vaguely, I think the inscription means Sorrowful Mary, the blessed Nazarene [woman]

Our Lady of China, we pray for peace between the Philippines and PROC amidst the conflict over Scarborough Shoal. Let not the selfishness of men ruin peace, cooperation and brotherhood.

Marian image number 24, her title escapes me...

The rains stopped, a usual phenomenon during processions in honor of the Blessed Virgin

Our Lady un-tier of Knots

A welcome surprise this year, andas-borne images, Rosa Mystica

House of Gold

Another favorite this year, simple, elegant, Vessel of Honor

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Manaog

A multiracial delegation accompanying Mary, Mother of Love, Peace and Joy

La Pieta, Mary carries the dead body of her son

Our Lady of Aranzazu, the most controversial image in attendance, should she be standing or should she be seated?

Mary health of the sick, where are the rays surrounding her?

Marian image number 33, her title escapes me...

Our Lady of Remedies of Malate

Marian image number 35, her title escapes me...

Our Lady of the Holy Trinity

Our Lady of Cabra

Our Lady of Victories

Our Lady of Angels

Mary, Queen of Martyrs

Our Lady of Stars

Mary something something of the Heart of Jesus...

Our Lady of the Baranggay

Our Lady of Turumba, the undeniable crowd-favorite. After she passes, its as if everyone in Plaza Roma were magnetized to join in the revelry

End of Part 1. Go to Part 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment