Showing posts with label churches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label churches. Show all posts

Saturday, May 26, 2018

St. Eusebius' Church in Arnhem

I was quite excited to go to Arnhem to see the titular "bridge too far" but was not surprised to see a dynamic city that included several landmarks aside from the bridge. One of these landmarks was the St. Eusebius Church, which dominated the cityscape. The church had the tallest structure in the city and this was an even larger building than the old church in Enschede.

It was difficult to get a good shot of the church at close distance. Here is a photo showing the scaffolds they installed for the restoration work.
The perimeter of the church is fenced off.
This is the church across from St. Eusebius, which, I am told is where they hold Masses. St. Eusebius is now more a museum and an architecture school than what it was built for in the first place (i.e., a place for worship).
Antiquated bells adorn the side walls of the church
Another view of the church
People pass by the back of the church where the streets are closed off to vehicular traffic for the outdoor bazaar.
The church is generally not open to the public or at least not for religious purposes. The exception here being the parts that are being exhibited as part of its restoration/preservation. I was able to get a nice souvenir though, which was similar to those I collected in my travels to the US where you press a coin into a machine that you crank, and transforms it to one of various designs featured.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

St. Jakob's Church, Enschede

My trip to The Netherlands took me to Enschede but I went around three other cities: Arnhem, Amsterdam and The Hague. The only church I was able to enter was in Enschede. This was a Catholic Church (I checked) that was still functioning as a place of worship. Due to the wave of liberalism in Europe and particularly in countries like Germany, The Netherlands and France, many old churches of all denominations have been converted for other purposes. The Grote Kerk (literally Big Church), which was formerly dedicated to the apostle James the Great (Jakobus de Merdeere) at the center of Enschede (Oude Markt) is now a venue for musical performances and other events including weddings. Others became museums, offices and even homes.

St. Jakobus is located at the center of Enschede's old town and across from the bigger
The back of the church where lepers were supposedly given Holy Communion through holes in the walls.
The lighting inside the church was a bit gloomy for me. Perhaps the purple is consistent with Lent? I chanced upon the church being open during the afternoon of Maundy Thursday and the few people who appeared to be ushers of some sort seemed surprise to see me come in. I tried to be inconspicuous the short time I was there.
The interior was cavernous and I must admit I was in a hurry to take a few snapshots after my short prayer. Light filters through the windows to give natural lighting for the interior.
Here's another photo showing one of the side altars. I wanted to take more photos inside the church but I was afraid I would be offending the people there. Nevertheless, to their surprise again, I genuflected in the middle aisle towards the direction of the main altar.
I truly felt some sadness as I entered the church and sat there with practically only four people inside the building. I wondered and still wonder how many people go to church as St. Jakobus and whether the church will eventually go the way of the Grote Church. Searching for information on the internet, I read that there are few services now at St. Jakobus. The regular celebration of the Eucharist has been transferred to another church nearby Sint Jozef (or St. Joseph of Nazareth), which unfortunately I was unable to visit.
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Quiapo Church and some thoughts for Good Friday

Today is Good Friday and I just wanted to post this photo I took recently of Quiapo Church, which is dedicated to the Black Nazarene. It is always said that Fridays are the worst time to be traveling in the area of the church because Friday is the day of devotion to the Black Nazarene. This is similar to the notion that Wednesdays is usually a bad day for traffic around Baclaran.

Quiapo Church with Plaza Miranda

I haven't been to Quiapo on a Good Friday but I can imagine that a lot of people flocked to the church this week and particularly between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as part of their Visita Iglesia route. Of course, there are many who are "namamanata" or have "panata" (vow or promise to pray or hear Mass at the church) as thanksgiving or perhaps asking for a specific blessing. Pilgrim or tourist, the church probably attracts more people during Good Fridays compared to the average it attracts on normal Fridays and Sundays. Of course, we cannot compare this to the number of people (estimated to be in the millions if not hundreds of thousands) during its feast day in January.

I hope we all have a prayerful Holy Week. I pray that we are able to reflect these days on what is happening around us and that we will do our part to make this world a better place for everyone.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On Visita Iglesia and overlooked churches

It is now the Holy Week and many people are likely to go on a Visita Iglesia this Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Visita Iglesia literally translates into 'church visit' and is an annual tradition for many and entails going to seven (usually) churches where people pray; often a novena on the stations of the cross (remembering the passion of Jesus Christ).

In recent years, this has become somewhat a touristy thing and many people from Metro Manila now roam around nearby provinces targeting the old churches in these area. The result can be traffic congestion in places where there usually is less traffic due to the sudden increase in the number of private vehicles generated by churches.

Metro Manila doesn't lack for old churches and among those that will probably be included in a Visita Iglesia list would be the following:
- Malate Church
- Manila Cathedral
- San Agustin Church
- Baclaran (Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help)
- Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene)
- Sto. Domingo Church
- Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine

And there are many more including those in Marikina, Las Pinas and Malabon that are often not considered; overlooked by those who go for the "major" churches for their Visita Iglesia. Taguig actually has an old church located in the old part of the town that's probably unknown to many outside of Taguig. We usually pass by the church as its along one of the alternative routes to get from C-6 to BGC. I personally have not been in this church but based on the information you can get about it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taguig_Church), it is definitely one to consider for Visita Iglesia.

The Church of St. Anne in the old center of Taguig is actually an Archdiocesan Shrine and founded in 1587.
There are many more around Metro Manila that should be in one's list for this Holy Week but I believe that people should be more focused on prayer even at a single church rather than go around like a tourist (taking selfies or posting about the experience). Perhaps among the sacrifices to be made here are minimizing taking photos and refraining from uploading 'at the moment/ atm' posts. Many people take it for granted that Visita Iglesia is supposed to be a pilgrimage where you renew your faith, and not a tourist experience where you indulge in food and drink.
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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Like a shepherd tending to the flock

The past few Sundays that we heard Mass at the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (PIHM) in Antipolo City, we have been fortunate to have the Bishop of Antipolo presiding the service. These were the Sunday of December 24 and December 31, the eve of Christmas and New Year's. Here are a couple of photos I took as the Mass concluded on the last day of 2017.


It is not often that you have the Bishop preside over a Sunday Mass. Usually, this happens only on very special occasions including Christmas and Easter, and these are usually with some if not much fanfare. In the case of the two Sundays I was referring to, these were simple, straightforward celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. The only noteworthy part was on December 24 when the Bishop invited all children to come in front after Mass as he and staff distributed candies that were his Christmas gifts to children. I hope this becomes a more regular thing as the Bishop gave good, thoughtful, meaningful homilies.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Catholic Cemetery of Cabatuan, Iloilo

Nanay Nene was finally laid to rest last Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the Cabatuan cemetery. The cemetery is located at the outskirts of the town but along the national highway that eventually leads to the next town of Sta. Barbara as well as the access road to the airport, which is on land within the jurisdiction of Cabatuan. The cemetery is centuries old and is easily identified by its distinctive main gate and mortuary chapel. I decided to post photos I took last Monday when I visited the cemetery to see the progress of preparations at our family tomb located beside the chapel. Nay Nene was to join her parents, other siblings and close relatives who had passed away years ago and Tatay and my cousin Manong Joam already made arrangements for her interment here. Meanwhile, a close nephew, Dexter, committed to improving the tomb in addition to works he already had done for the tombs bearing his parents, my cousins.

Mortuary chapel
Mortuary chapel wall and grills
Details on the mortuary chapel
Altar and crucifix
Main gate featuring a centuries old arch leading to the mortuary chapel
There was a time when a clear view of the chapel from the main gate was blocked by the tomb of the town's most prominent son, Tomas Confesor. He was a prominent senator during the Commonwealth and after the Second World War. That tomb was eventually moved to the town plaza.
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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Manaoag, Pangasinan

A trip to Pangasinan would not be complete if one did not stop by the town of Manaoag. Of course, I am referring to the Roman Catholic among us who know Manaoag for the miraculous image of Mother Mary. Devotees and pilgrims flock to Manaoag similarly as they go to Antipolo or Baclaran mainly to pray for help, forgiveness, assistance and other reasons including healing from serious illnesses, passing examinations, financial success, etc. Many of these have been granted by God through the intercession of Our Lady, which obviously led to more of the faithful coming on a pilgrimage for their wishes (desires?) to be granted. Those whose prayers have been granted come here regularly as thanksgiving and have declared they would do so as long as they can make the trip. This is what they call their panata or promise of coming back to offer prayers of thanksgiving. And they do bring with them their family members and friends.

Manaoag is not near Metro Manila and yet thousands (much more actually) come to this town despite the distance and a difficult travel. Of course, its easier now with three expressways and improved national roads making the travel faster, safer and more comfortable.

This sign basically says that if one has made the necessary preparations for the pilgrimage to Manaoag, a plenary indulgence may be granted to that person.
At the back of the church is a large area for those offering prayers through candles
You can purchase candles and other religious items like prayer books, scapulars and rosaries from one of the booths around this area. You can then light them here and say a few prayers before leaving or going inside the church.
There's this tub of water where you can place a floating candle. From the looks of it, a lot of people have lit floating candles as offerings.
The main altar of the shrine to Our Lady of Manaoag with the image at the center. Some say this is only a replica of the original one, which is kept and preserved by the church. This image, however, is touched by a lot of devotees who can get closest to the image via an access at the back of the altar.
A smaller altar at one of the church wings
A view of the front entrance to the church with the balcony above the doors.
Another view of the main altar from the middle of the church.
A view of the main altar and church dome
A less crowded area at the back of the church

The shrine has a big parking lot at the back of the church so travelers with their own vehicles need not follow those offering to guide you to a parking space. These are very much the same as those people who basically try to engage motorists in Antipolo to offer guidance on parking spaces near the shrine there. Of course, its best to visit during weekdays and what's regarded as off-peak seasons compared to other times when I'm sure its very crowded like Lent or before major licensure exams.
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Baguio Cathedral

I make it a point to visit the church in the cities I go to especially when it is my first time there. I did this with my first trips out of Manila, including Baguio and Cebu in 1995 but with the exception of Bacolod and Tagbilaran when I had quick trips there back in 1996.

Approaching the cathedral after going around via Session Road. You can actually see the cathedral from afar as it is still a prominent landmark in the city cum mountain scape. Unfortunately, a huge mall now is the more dominant landmark from afar and the surrounding mountains are now full of houses.
The interior of the cathedral is basically according to how I remember it. The stained glass windows are impressive and look well preserved. There has been no major earthquake to affect the city since the 1990 big one that destroyed much of the city.
Baguio's Roman Catholic Cathedral is located on top of a hill near Session Road.
A view of the interior from the main door reveals a long aisle (I guess nice for brides marching on their wedding days) towards the altar.
A view of the cathedral as we leave to go back to our hotel. This was taken as an opportunistic shot while our vehicle was turning towards Session Road.
It rained just after we alighted from our vehicle to go into the church and the drizzle continued until just before we left. We liked to think the rains were blessings and we were very thankful for this family trip and that Baguio and its attractions weren't as crowded as we thought (or read about) it would be. We were actually lucky that the weather also cooperated and we were able to get enough sun to go around Baguio and La Trinidad. We enjoyed the cool climate (Our daughter was very happy and was in her element the whole time.) and the good food. We should be back sometime in the future but hopefully the city won't deteriorate further.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Selfie Iglesia

I couldn't help but notice a lot of selfie and group photos posted on social media with churches in the background. The proliferation of photos of people going on Visita Iglesia (visits to seven churches) during this Lenten Season is intensified by many having smartphones with capabilities to post photo immediately. I should say that many are tasteful photos and are keepers for future flashbacks. These are the stuff of the photo albums of "yesteryears." 

However, there are those that are obviously more "pasyal" or "lakwatsa" than pilgrimage or "panata." These are people who go around simply because Visita Iglesia is the "in" thing this time of year and they want to be part of the action. Unfortunately, that action only includes the photo ops and not the prayers or reflections or contemplations that should be the core or most essential aspect of Visita Iglesia. Indeed, times have changed and have changed a lot. Hopefully, such erosion of values will not affect all, and we can still preserve the good things about this and other traditions. There should be efforts to keep such important parts of our heritage.
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Monasterio de Tarlac

I had the opportunity of going around Tarlac province in late May of last year (2014). I did not expect to go and see a lot of what Tarlac has to offer in terms of tourism sites. They have all kinds of tourism destinations including those for recreation like resorts, outdoors for hiking and mountain biking, historical sites including the memorial to those who endured the Death March in Capas. I was most surprised with the pilgrimage site of the Monasterio de Tarlac. It was the first time I learned about this monastery and I made sure I took some photos for reference and posterity.

Our first close look at the statue reminded me of the Rio de Janiero's Christ the Redeemer.
The outstretched arms of the image of the Christ also remind of the oblation or offering
It is as if Christ Himself invites us all to come to Him and share His loving embrace.
The view from the monastery is splendid and is apt for reflections or musings about such things as the meaning of life.
Another spectacular view of the Tarlac countryside from the monastery
There is a church at the monastery. This is a closer view of the facade of the church.
The monastery church
The courtyard in front of the church is suitable for larger (but outdoor) gatherings including Masses that can be held here during special occasions to accommodate more people.
The altar is supposed to hold a piece of the true Cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified.
The monastery is very accessible to the public with good roads  though it is some time away from the main highway and Tarlac City. It should attract a lot of people during this Lenten season and plenty of pilgrims during the Holy Week in late March. It is definitely another place I look forward to visiting again.
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sto. Domingo Church

I don't know what came over me one time I passed by the area en route to a snack at the Cafe Dominic located in the same compound. I guess I just wanted to go inside to have some quiet time and perhaps to say a few prayers and do some silent reflection by myself. Sto. Domingo church is huge and it is usually full during Sundays. However, during weekdays there are usually less people and the cavernous church presents one with an opportunity to commune with the Almighty. At the time I was there, I chanced upon a Mass just starting at the smaller altar at the side of the main one. And so I decided to hear Mass before I proceeded to get my snack. After the Mass, I took a few photos inside the church.

Dome atop the main altar
Main altar and dome of the Sto. Domingo Church
Daily Low Masses are celebrated at a smaller altar at the side of the main one and which shows the image of Our Lady of La Naval. La Naval is in reference to the naval victory of the Spanish Armada against a Dutch invading fleet in Manila Bay during the Spanish Period.
Another view of the main altar
Stained glass windows at Sto. Domingo
Sto. Domingo is a newer structure compared to the churches that were destroyed or severely damaged in the earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu a couple of weeks ago. The structure was also nice (aesthetically speaking) especially the stained glass windows that gave character to the cavernous interior. This was more a modern design though and didn't have the old world feel of the heritage churches in the Visayas and other provinces in the Philippines.
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Preservation and reconstruction of heritage churches

The recent earthquakes in Central Visayas that destroyed or damaged many of the old churches in Bohol and Cebu reminds of the need to preserve such structures that are now considered part of our history and cultural heritage. Many of these churches, like the temples and castles in Japan, the temples in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar, and the mosques in Indonesia and Malaysia (to cite a few) are considered national treasures. These are very much part of the communities and are representative of what our countries have gone through as much as they also represent the faiths of nations.

I have seen some of these heritage churches and have written about them. These include the churches in Dauis, Baclayon and Loboc in Bohol, the churches in Bantay and Vigan in Ilocos Sur, the churches of  Miag-ao and Cabatuan in Iloilo, and the shrine of Our Lady of Penafrancia in Naga City, Camarines Sur. There are many others that I have visited but have not taken photos of, including churches in Capiz, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Quezon and Laguna. Perhaps it is not too late to make a bigger effort in preserving these treasures for the next generations through retrofitting and other measures to strengthen the structures and enable them to survive earthquakes. Perhaps the inspiration for the restoration work should be the restoration of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, which was heavily damaged by an earthquake in the 1990s and the challenge is similar to that from the voice heard by Francis of Assisi "Go and rebuild my church!"


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Malate Church

I was a primary sponsor (ninong) at the wedding of the Clairvoyant's niece last August. I took it as an excuse to buy me a new Barong Tagalog made out of pineapple fiber. 

The wedding was held at the Church of Our Lady of Remedies (Nuestra Senora de Remedios), which is also known as the Malate Church. Originally built in the late 1500's, it was used as a garrison by the British when they invaded Manila in the 1700's. It has been rebuilt several times including after being damaged by a typhoon and after the Second World War. 

Actually, the current church seems to be continually under a state of repair or renovation. I had first been to the church attending a wedding of a colleague more than a decade ago. It was also under renovation that time. Much later, I think the church was spared from the storm surge that inundated Roxas Boulevard and damaged many establishments in the area. Below are a couple of photos we took at the church that wasn't blurry.

Main altar of Malate Church
Close-up of the sanctuary behind the main altar and the stained glass window above it
Unfortunately, it was raining that day so I was not able to get a good photo of the church's exterior. However, I found I was able to take a photo of the church one time we had lunch at a restaurant in the area. My objective then was to get a photo of the bicycle lanes at the plaza in front of the church but I managed to get what I thought was a good shot of the church.

Exterior of the Malate Church showing part of the plaza in front of the church.
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