My tailor Jun finally closed shop without any notice or word. I never knew when it exactly happened but I just noticed that his old shop became a small convenience store for the school nearby.
I tried texting Jun with the hopes that he just moved to a different location but there was no reply. I tried asking around. From the landlady to his co-tenants, everyone just gave a confused shrug. There was nothing. It was as if the old man vanished. Just like that.
I really can’t believe it. Maybe the rent got too expensive, or there was no profitable demand for his service; there were a lot of reasons playing around in my head to rationalize why he closed shop. I even tried looking around the area but it was a dead end.
Its such a shame that he just disappeared. I always thought he was the best tailor around. He even has a pattern for my pants and top in file. Now I would have to go back and settle with those ready-to-wear brands who don’t even take your build into consideration. Boo!
Every Maundy Thursday, my family practices the tradition of Visita Iglesia (Church Visits). It involves visiting different churches. Some people would visit one, seven, or even fourteen churches to pray the stations of the cross. For us however, we usually visit seven. We would spend the whole day travelling and praying while taking turns at each station to lead the prayer and reflection of Christ’s suffering.
For last week’s visita, my family went to nearby churches in Rizal and Quezon City. We usually start very early in the day and end before evening so that by the time we go home we could have time for confession, prayer, and television specials about the Holy Week.
The activity has been our practice for as long as I can remember. Older family members have been doing it too when they were younger. Regardless of where we were, when it is Maundy Thursday (may it be in some province of in another country), we would pray the stations of the cross.
This for me has been good bonding activity, learning experience, and most of all time for reflection and reconnection with God.
I documented the seven churches we visited this year and took these sketch photos as a tribute to the old Manila Postcards like this:
1. St. Ursula Parish Church. Binangonan, Rizal (1792-1800)
This church took roughly 8 years of construction. It was handled by different religious orders from the Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustinians, and Columbans. Originally, Binangonan was part of Morong but because of the increasing number of religious converts, this church was constructed. They eventually made martyred St. Ursula the patroness of the parish.
2. Saint Clement’s Church. Angono, Rizal. (1877-1967)
St. Clement’s church is located at the heart of Angono, Rizal. It was dubbed as “the Arts Capital of the Philippines” since it is the home of Philippine National Artist for Music Lucio D. San Pedro, and National Artist for the Arts, Carlos “Botong” Francisco. This church is known for having a rich history from its humble beginnings as a small hacienda’s visita to a big parish church that can accomodate hundreds. It is interesting to note that since Angono is located near the mountains and Laguna de Bay, there was a time when this church had two patron saints: Saint Isidore de Labrador, for the farming communities living near the mountains and Saint Clement for Mariners and Fisherfolk.
3. Saint John Baptist Church. Taytay, Rizal. (1630)
This church was built in 1630 and is considered as the second stone church built outside manila. What I like about this church was how it was sited at the highest point of the town. I can see most of Taytay from it. In its vicinity is the town’s old city hall, a police station, the public market, a school, and an old derelict mansion of taytay’s haciendero. Most of the original church interior was destroyed but it was still able to maintain its fabulous facade with different statues of Saint John the Baptist and the Vatican’s seal.
5. Cubao Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion. Cubao, Quezon City. (1950)
The Cubao Cathedral is the seat of power of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao. The church was initially a humble parish church constructed by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion before it became the diocese’s main seat of office.
I really love this church because of its architecture. It has a lot of space for quite reflection and the area around it was not as busy as some of the other churches in Manila.
The church has a very tall belfry and an imposing facade with intricate windows and glass.
My favorite part was its interiors flanked left and right by blue and white flags with Mama Mary’s insignia. The inside was very vibrant. It has a lot of windows and a very tall ceiling that gave it a dimension of space. The church’s ceiling reminded me of the Vatican’s .
There was also a small grotto at the church’s side with Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion’s statue. I find it similar to the one I pray to every morning at the Ateneo. Look at the dome above Mama Mary!
5. Shrine of the Divine Word. Christ the King Mission Seminary, Quezon City. (1934)
This church is inside the Christ the King Mission Seminary in Quezon City. It has a very modern design that first served as a chapel for seminarians of the Society of Divine Word. This religious order handles most of the churches in this area of Quezon City and has been in the area since the American colonial period.
The shrine has a beautiful curved altar with long thin windows facing the sprawling grounds of the seminary.
6. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine. New Manila, Quezon City. (1964)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s shrine was constructed in 1964 by the Carmelite Order in veneration to our lady of the brown scapular. This is the second shrine dedicated to our lady in the Philippines. The first shrine and original image is found at St. Sebastian’s Basilica in Quiapo Manila.
7. Sanctuario del Santo Cristo Parish Church. San Juan City. (1774)
The original church was built between 1602-1604 by the Dominicans. The present structure however was finished by the year 1774. It is a fine example of Colonial church architecture. It is also good to note that the church has served as a hiding place of the Katipunan during the 1898 Philippine Revolution. The Confraternity of Santisimo Cristo de San Juan del Monte since 1648.
Life in Analog Technicolor. I miss watching old films where everything it had grainy imperfections and saturated colors. Nowadays, everything is in HD wonderland.
taken at Bonifacio High Street, Taguig.
The rolling hills of Bukidnon in Mindanao is one of the most picturesque places i have been to in the country. It is home to a lot of pineapples, cattle, and sunflowers that line the main highway I pass by while riding a bus.
I took this photo while going around the Del Monte plantation on one late afternoon. I was hoping to get a photo of the sunset but the sun went down that fast that I was only able to take these dark silhouettes of really really old trees that reminded me of the movie Lion King. It looks alike a dark African savanna with a couple of trees on the background.
waiting for the bus.
There is a virtue in waiting.
That is what my mentor would always tell me. He is very fond of time and its different dimensions in relation to love. Here is one of my favorite articles he wrote a year after the original article was written.
For those who were brave, are brave, and continues to be brave. Prost!
I like churches.
I always make it a point to visit one when its my first time in an area. Its a habit that I was able to inherit from the men in my family. Whatever land I may be, the church is one of the places that I look forward to visit.
One particularly memorable church is that from the humble town of Morong. It is unique compared to other churches because of its beautiful belfry which according to experts is very neo-baroque.
It sits on a relatively higher ground compared to the houses near it with an overlooking view of Morong’s rice fields and to a distance, the majestic laguna de bay.
When you arrive in the church, you will be greeted by lion sculptures that are usually found in temples. This was probably because most of the workers who built the church were Chinese settlers in the area. More of their chinese aesthetic could be seen in great detail with how the church’s interiors and the belfry’s top looked like an eight sided pagoda.
The four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Courage were sculpted as images to support the different sides of the belfry.
The church is really old and its such a wonderful thing that it was able to withstand the test of time. If I’m not mistaken, the church was built in the 1600’s making it a really really old church. Its patron saint is Saint Jerome whose first class relics are said to be on display inside.
Unfortunately for me, I only literally dropped by the church to quickly pray and snap some photos before I went on with my journey. Perhaps in the coming days I can revisit the church to pray, learn more about it, and write.
I love going to the Manila North Cemetery. As strange as it may seem, I value the rich history, art, and life that one finds in this humongous place.
In this cemetery alone, I can trace up to four generations of my family buried here, from my grandparent’s parents, down to my nieces who have gone ahead of me. Then, there are the other historical figures like famous politicians, patriots, heroes, comediennes, artists, writers, and other people that just sound popular/awfully familiar that whenever I read their epitaphs, I feel that they are of great significance to a everyone.
I particularly like this burial place and the one after because of their uniqueness and cultural value. The designs are just artistic and full of history. I particularly like how this grave marker was designed. It had a lot of delicate curves that reminded me of the old Manila Metropolitan Theater.
Here lies Juan Nakpil (1899-1986)- a Filipino National Artist for Architecture and probably his also famous father Julio Nakpil a popular composer during the Philippine Revolution who eventually married Andres Bonifacio's Widow, Gregoria De Jesus.
A stylized cross with the Pax Christi symbol.
Arellano Family Burial Grounds- probably related to the owners of the now popular Arellano University
This is the common cross found in the cemetery’s center. This common cross was erected in order to provide people whose relatives are buried in a different place a location for them to pray and offer candles to their loved ones.
At the same time, names of the deceased were also placed here even without their remains as a marker for their visitors. Year on year, the common cross has served its purpose and people drove in flocks here every November 1.
Leftover candles are collected by this young boy in order for him to earn a quick sell.
The candles that were used will be weighed and then recycled for the future. Usually, when I was younger, I collected these candles with them but nowadays, its just too much effort for five pesos per kilo.
Where do we find God in a world full of suffering? How do we see goodness in the face of adversity?
Picture taken while biking around. :)
i was having coffee when I spotted this chubby labrador retriever walking around the piazza. He was sniffing around and approached the nearest person to beg for food. he would sit down, look at you, and do a whine and bark combination that will really make you want to share your food to him.
Oh was this dog smart! he was able to ask food from a lot of people! When he was done with person, he would go around the corner to eat and rest for a while . Then, he would slowly peek around the corner to check if the donor was gone and off he goes again with his routine.
No wonder this dog was fat and chubby!
Graduations mark the beginning of one of the most exciting seasons (well for me at the least) of the year- summer.
For me, summer means travelling and the whole process of going to the airport, meeting new people, learning about history, and eating food is just exhilarating.
As a young kid, I really cherish the times I got to meet the pilot in the cockpit. My father is so awesome that he always found a way for us to meet the whole crew. At the same time, I also enjoyed eating airplane food. It wasn’t really that great but there was a sense of amazement and surprise to eat food in a sleek foil pack that reminded me of space food. The food was always artfully proportioned with small sachets of condiments and a set of metal cutlery that I bring home with me (bad!).
Its such as shame though that nowadays, we don’t get to experience airplane food like before. Anyway, I am excited of what this year’s summer would bring-of the new lands and places to go to, faces to meet, pilots to greet, and pictures to take.
cheers to the summer of 2012. this will be awesome.
(this photo was taken in an airport in italy. I was again fortunate enough to explore the sides of the plane because the boeing engines fascinate me)
I am very fortunate and grateful for my three days around Rome. It was a refreshing experience to be able to walk in such a colorful city where every corner is rich with history and color
My mind goes wild with the thought that perhaps the very spot that I was standing on was where some great historical person stood hundreds of years ago.
The afternoon I landed in Rome, I began walking around to scout for the places I had in researched prior to my tour- the places where the movie angels and demons was shot, the vatican, piazza navona for the best gelato, the colosseum, spanish steps, the church of the gesu, and all the other places that my feet and euros could bring me.
The following day, I started early with my adventure. The long walks, awesome food, and history lessons really made the fatigue endurable. With my camera in tow and a little conversational italian from my college days, I began my walk.
This is via della gatta. Via means “way/street,” while gatta means “cat” which was probably the etymology of the spanish word gato for cat.
In roman tradition, white flowers were symbolic of purity and honor. these white flowery plants seemed to sprawl all over the blank patches of land in rome.
It was strange but incredibly beautiful that most of the structures in rome were very colorful. They didn’t have much of the boring white-washed walls but more of the grainy stucco-like wall finishes in pastel colors that perfectly matched the bright blue italian sky.
mi casu su casa.
The colors may be bright and contrasting but it works so well to the pleasure and enjoyment of my eyes. I was becoming teary-eyed as I tried to absorb all of the colors in. The little patches of greens, oranges, yellows, and bright blue was just too beautiful!bellissima!
The windows of the houses were also quite interesting. They were always proportionally placed on the buildings’ facades. They also came in a contrasting darker or lighter shade than their walls.
rust and green look good together right?
peach and blues too!
The buildings had a uniformed look. They were mid-rise, and to a certain extent quite vanilla to the eyes. However, with a closer look, they were really unique architectural gems with their own sets of lines, curves, and sense of balance.
This building looks a bit off to the set but I liked how the executed this corner. At the ground floor is some luxury brand that I didn’t bother to go in to because beside it was an old man selling sweetened figs. yummy!
ciao, arrividerci! :)
i love sitting on the passenger seat. i love it not because i can escape the stresses/perks of driving but because it gives me a chance to see the world around me more. i get to peek out the window, watch people, and appreciate how life unfolds in front of me.
Here are some of my “passenger seat photos” during one of my travels.
another picture of the sun.
roman aqueduct used as a means to distribute water in the olden days
ancient ruins that I wish I was able to get a closer look of.
I have a recurring dream in the form of my old photographs.
My old photographs were taken at a time when I enjoyed things too much and too often. It always began with me walking in an unending road. I never grew tired and I kept on walking and walking and walking.
At times, the colors of the dream-world would change and I began to encounter my other photographs like that of a tree which unusually came to life and introduced itself as the burning bush. Apparently, it grew up after all these years.
I also met Guglielmo Marconi in my dream as I passed by his world of antennas and radio broadcasts. His world of signals and lines took center stage for some time.
Finally, the dream ended with a sunset.
All photos were taken at Italy when I was walking back home one afternoon.