Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Pilgrimage of Thanks

There were five non working days which ICPS had observed from December 6-10, in-line with the celebration of Malabon Teachers' Day, and the 3-day observance of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Parish in Malabon City.

I took advantage of these five days to go and take a roadtrip around the churches I had visited before, and there to give thanks for letting me pass the Board. I took with me some good friends to join me in the journey.

December 06, Malabon Teachers' Day

CREDITS: Glenn Inocencio (for OL of Mt. Carmel)
Deus Quitco (for Dear St. Clare)

I had Deus with me when I visited Santo Domingo to do some errands. After praying to Nanay for guidance on our journey, we proceeded to Quiapo where we lined-up in queue to kiss the foot of the Nazareno. As it was First Friday, it was really obvious that people were swelling all around the church, asking help from the Nazarene, or giving thanks for every blessing. We waited for an hour, while praying the whole rosary, and it was truly a relieving moment to rise at the back of the image to kiss him.

Afterwards, we headed for San Sebastian, where I asked the intercession of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel not so long ago. Tears really fell when I knelt in front of the sacred image of Our Lady. As the deafening silence surrounds the sacred space that was Baste, I offered to Our Lady the sigh of thanks for letting me pass.

Then, we headed south, to the Monasterio de Santa Clara, in QC, where it was said that whoever prays to St. Clare and offer eggs in her honor will have their wishes granted. For Deus, it was a discovery, so he himself offered eggs for his intention, while I had mine for thanksgiving. It was truly an exciting moment for the kid, who had his own letter pictured and posted on FB as a recuerdo.

December 07

CREDITS: Edrian Santollano
As it was a Saturday, I went with Sir Edward and Edrian to Our Lady's Shrine in Santa Ana, where I once invoked her intercession under the title Nuestra Señora delos Desamparados. Tears fell again when we prayed the Rosary and gave her thanks for the blessings. 

Like Nanay (Our Lady of La Naval), the image of Our Lady of the Abandoned is also seen as miraculous, and anyone who comes to her aid does not leave empty-handed. True enough, Mary did not leave me on those trying moments of the exams, and on the days prior to and after it. Not much of fanaticism, but yes, her tender look showed me comfort on those trying moments.

After this visit, we headed to the Pro-Cathedral of Manila, the San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco to hear the Second Advent Mass (as seen in the infoboard. Oh my...). There I visited the Santo Sepulcro of Paco, also known for the miracles attributed to it. It was my first time to visit the Pro-Cathedral, and I must tell I was captivated by its beautiful interior, though there were some glitches in the Mass we attended.

When I came to Desamparados, I asked Our Lady if she would grant one of my childhood wishes. I noticed her earrings move, so I hoped for something good to happen. When I went home after a long day, my mom presented to me her gift for my passing in the board: a new camera. :)

December 08, Second Sunday of Advent

With the camera, I joined Edrian, Earl and Noah on a pilgrimage to Malabon. Having my religious images blessed at Santo Domingo (my camera included), I took a picture of Nanay, as my first shot. As it was the supposed day of the Solemnity of the Inmaculada Concepcion, I decided to name the camera Imma.

Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario de La Naval de Manila
ruega por nosotros!
 You certainly know how it feels if you get a perfect shot of something. That's what I certainly felt when I took the first shot. I was like a kid showing my new gadget to my mother and asking for her precious photo, a treasure always to be kept.. It was certainly a very happy moment for me, always grateful to Nanay for all the graces I received through her intercession.

Before heading for ICP, we proceeded to different parishes and Shrines, like the Santa Teresita Parish, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, San Bartolome Parish, and Santo Rosario Parish. During the course of our journey, we prayed the Holy Rosary, asking help, and giving thanks for all the graces we received individually and collectively.

We discovered lots of things on our journey: the transformation of Santa Teresita from a small chapel to a good parish, the history of Lourdes from Intramuros to Retiro, the intricate paintings at San Bartolome with almost 400 years of existence, and the wonders of Imang which traversed even to Bataan. We also visited Earl's little nook, paid honors to my ancestors, and ate a late lunch at our place.

Tota pulchra es, O Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te!

It's almost time to head to ICP for the Procession, where Deus joined us. It was also attended by parishioners from different ministries and organizations, as well as the teachers of ICPS. That moment showed lots of love for the Virgin, as people flocked to church to pay their homage to Our Mother.

The yearly procession was attended by well-off and ordinary people, lay and commoner. The love that the Malabonians have for the Inmaculada was so intense, that she is called the Queen of the City. It felt solemn inside and out, with people reciting the Holy Rosary, children in two lines carrying candles, and lots of expressions of love and admiration.

At the end of the procession, we were allowed to touch and rub our handkerchiefs to the image, so I had Earl's vimpo touched to it, serving as a memento to the holy event.

December 09, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

I headed back to ICP for the traditional Dalaw-bahay and Pagoda in celebration of the Pista ng Mangingisda. On this day, the image of the Inmaculada is taken on the streets to be venerated by the devotees, especially by the fishermen. After which, she was taken to the river for the Mass and the fluvial parade.

This journey stretches through five barangays, namely, Concepcion, Baritan, Hulong Duhat, Flores and Dampalit. Three of these barangays separated from ICP in the latter years to form two separate parishes.

On this journey, the image is carried on an Andas and carried to homes of devotees for veneration. It is also customary for the mamamasan to wipe their towels to the image on accounts of healing.

This journey is joined by lots of people who painstakingly accompanied Our Lady for five hours. During the course of the Dalaw-bahay, you could see different people helping each other in carrying the andas, as well as families united for this wonderful occasion. The love the people is showing is certainly endless, from elders reciting prayers from the heart, to youth taking photos of the event and posting them over FB to share with others.

December 10, Our Lady of Loreto

The pain of going around is getting its toil on me, and yet nothing stopped me on giving one last salvo to the five-day vacation, which I named as a pilgrimage of thanks

Before heading to Loreto Shrine, Bro. Lynch Flores treated me with a hearty lunch and a good company, as a fulfillment of his promise before. We shared ideas on various topics, and shared our own stories of facing the challenges and overcoming it in God's grace. It was a moment for me to unwind after four days of roaming and praying. 

During our lunch, a boy took out from his bag images of Our Lady and St. Joseph. We found out that he's an Altar Server, and that he likes collecting religious images. Lynch encouraged him to persevere in keeping his faith alive. He is indeed a man of prayer and joy. 

On that moment, I saw in him a flame who continues to shed light even if forces around try to flicker him out. He serves as my inspiration on my own battles, a companion given by God for me to cling on to my weakening faith.

We then parted ways, as I again joined Edrian, Edward and Noah at Bustillos. We attended Mass first at the Shrine of Saint Anthony, which was the reincarnation of the Tertiary Church from Intramuros. Simple as it is, it showed the poverty and glory of the Friars Minor combined into one haven of prayer and worship in honor of San Antonio.

We then proceeded to the church beside it, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in Sampaloc. It was not only their Feast, but also their 400th Year of establishment, and so a special event was about to take place. 

The Jubilee Mass of the Parish was celebrated by Cardinal Chito Tagle, It was a long, yet festive celebration. In his homily, he emphasized the beauty and the power of the fullness of TIME. Space is limited, but time is limitless. It can surpass the barriers caused by the natural flow of life. We must cherish and make use of the time we have, to do good to others and not to wish them harm. Over all these, the fulness of time seen in the course of Salvation History is seen in Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.

Of course, there were glitches (again) in the course of the Mass, but that will be reserved in a later post.


It was a good moment for me to ponder on the past five days. It was a time for me to give back to God who gave me such a wonderful grace. People might not be interested in reading a post as long as this, but words will never be enough to show my deep care and affection for Our Lord and for Nanay. After all, I live to be his servant, no more, no less.

The past five days also were an avenue for me to mingle with people whom I deeply cherish as true friends. In the midst of a deep crisis in my life, God sent me these people to remind me that I'm not the worst nor the most miserable guy in the planet. God provides companions, those who are to join us in our times of joy and need.

I thank the Lord for these past five days. I may be so tired physically upon going back to work, but my spirit is so full of life and vigor! There's more to come, I know, but as I said to Lynch during our lunch, God's will prevails over everything!



  2. Wala ba yung "Babay ! Wala Kayong Camera :) "

    1. Gusto mong masama? Baka i-criticize lang kita dun. :p