Sunday, December 28, 2014

Johannine Pilgrimage 2014: TAAL, BATANGAS

As a way of giving thanks for the year that was, I always set out on a Christmas Journey every December 27, Feast of St. John the Apostle, because of whom I coined the term Johannine Pilgrimage. It started in 2005 out of a random trip to somewhere in Manila, and ever since, became one of my yearend activities. This year's Johannine is the tenth, so to make it more memorable, I decided to go out of town.

And so, I, together with my close friend Angelo Mangahas - himself a fervent devotee of Our Lady, went for Taal, Batangas, one of the famous centers of devotion to Our Lady, aside from their delicious Tapang Taal and Balisong. Our pilgrimage this year centered on two well-known churches, the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours at the Town Center, and the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay with its nearby well.

Our Lady of Caysasay is not a new thing to me, having learned of the image's story in a novena booklet given to me roughly ten years ago. In its history, the image was caught by Juan Maningcad while fishing in the Pansipit River. Called as the Wandering Virgin o Birheng Gala, the image was said to have miraculous attributes. People flock to her little shrine in Taal, and to the well of spring water nearby, to ask her intercession for many needs. Cures were given to the faithful who pray to Our Lady, and the affection of the townsfolk is really remarkable, that's why she is known as one of the celebrated images in the Philippines.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Intramuros Grand Marian Procession 2014

It's my second time to participate in the Intramuros Grand Marian Procession, but not as a simple spectator. Armed with my camera, I went away from the mob and chose a more comfortable place to take some shots. Though it depleted way before the procession ended, I was still able to get some wonderful memories of this year's iGMP.

I would just have a run-down of the photos and let the shots speak for themselves. ;)

SAN JOSE, Esposo de la Virgen

Annunciacion de la Virgen

Mayor Dolor



Aerial View of the Esperanza de Macarena.
Sorry for the photobomb.
Taal, Batangas


Pakil, Laguna. Imagine the volume of people dancing
and shouting, SA BIRHEN! Just wow.

A blurred yet close-up photo of Dolores de Turumba.

Rosario, Cavite

Our very own from Malabon City

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, from the National Shrine
in Makati City. Ma...BUHAY!

San Isidro, Nueva Ecija
Cavite City

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mama Mary's gift... :D

This sacred image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was reverently touched to the Original Icon in Rome. Wonderful and beautiful at first sight.

A gift to our family by the Works of the Saints Apostolate.

AVE MARIA!'via Blog this'

Friday, October 24, 2014

#PLASBAKpraydey: Wewe The (Ex-)ICPSian

Students keep telling me that whenever they google 'ICPS Malabon', they always see this...

Yes, this was me when I was in Fourth Year HS. That was roughly 8 years ago. And I always say, it is always good to return the favor to the school which nurtured you the most. ('via Blog this')

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#SirBitzSHOTS: What Lies Ahead

Looking towards what lies ahead. It's been a while since we went up the belfry of Santo Domingo. And every time I remember it, all that I can say is... 'Natupad na pangarap.'

(MAD Church Tour - Santo Domingo Belfry, Oct 05)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

LA NAVAL 2014: A Vow Made and Fulfilled

Besamanto, Oct. 10, 2014
There are lots of reasons why I should say that my fifth La Naval is more exciting and memorable than the past four. I always mentioned in the former posts that each La Naval, though containing the same program, and focused on the same Virgin of the Holy Rosary, has a distinct character which makes it unique every year.

This year, despite the heavy rains during the novena days, crowds still poured in during the Festivities, showing their resiliency when it comes to their love for the Blessed Mother. Rain or shine, the devotees continued to visit Our Lady in her Shrine at Quezon City, to bring up to her their prayers and needs, and to thank her for answered intentions.

The vow of our forefathers was once again fulfilled in this year's festivities, and nothing stopped the Filipino in showing their devotion to her, not even the rain which poured out during the festivities.

Personally, this year was a lot more challenging for me. Though I already experienced last year the long travel from Malabon to QC and back, my ongoing battle with TB made it hard for me to go on. There was even a chance that I almost had a physical breakdown. But despite all these, I'm confident that Our Lady helped me move on and continue this little sacrifice.

True enough, Our Lady is true to her word.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Thanks, Mukha Ad!

Weldann Lester Panganiban: Had a blessed time leading the people to pray before Our Lady. Thanks, Fray Jayson, OP and Mukha Ad Family! :D


'via Blog this'

Monday, October 06, 2014

LA NAVAL 2014: Some PIC-PACs
(Part 01)

As La Naval Season is upon us, here are some of the shots of the recent days:

After Our Lady was enthroned, and everything's done, the lights of the Baldachino still illuminate the dark church.
Mary, the bearer of the Light, which is Jesus, continues to share the glorious rays of God to the people
who continuously live in the darkness of sin.

On the first Besamanto for this year, Our Lady was once again taken down from her royal throne to
listen to the needs of her children. Her face is so serene, in all her royalty.
When someone approaches Our Lady, there is always hope that their prayers would certainly be answered.
In the course of time, people continued to cling to Mary's hand, asking her help in every need.
There was none that she refused.

Friday, September 26, 2014

NANAY'S MIRACLE: A Story at the Camarin

My Besamanto last October 03, 2013.
The encounter I had at the Camarin is similar
to this one.
This is an overdue post, because I was supposed to post this in occasion of Mama Mary's Birthday last September 08. But tough times and heavy responsibilities came in which made this pending post get postponed for so many times.

But then, I realized that if ever I write this at the end of the month, it would not be late at all, since it has a big connection to La Naval, whose patronage I have sought and whose care I felt for four years now, and how, in one of the most trying moments of my life yet, she manifested her presence.

As you may have known, I had taken the Licensure Examination for Teachers last year. From the start to the end, Our Lady stayed by my side, especially on those days when I felt so alone, that I can't make it.

Our scheduled date of the Exam was Sept. 29, 2013, Sunday. After weeks of rigorous review, I decided to give my brain a little rest in preparation for the exam. Of course, that included a last-minute visit to Our Lady's shrine in Quezon City.

September 28, 2013. I attended Mass at Sto. Domingo for the Feast of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions. The Image of the Santo Rosario is already kept at the "Camarin" (a room for the venerated images) in faithful preparation for the La Naval festivities. Saddened, I just believed that what's more important is her maternal presence, whether her physical image is there or not.

After a few minutes of meditation, I saw some friar-friends entering inside the Camarin. I had second thoughts on what to do, but my faith (and some of my kakulitan) led me to ask one of the Friars a very special request: to have my Rosary touched to Our Lady's Manto.

He hesitated at first, but then, he took my Rosary, entered the Camarin, and touched it to Our Lady. Meanwhile, the Camarero (caretaker) of the Image opened the door of the Camarin so widely, that I was able to see Our Lady. As this was taking place, I prayed one Ave and entrusted to her, in a quick span of time, my fate as I take the Licensure Exams.

No words can explain this experience: to see Our Lady (even if it's within a brief distance), and to have my rosary touched to her hands. After that brief moment, I started to feel a maternal embrace enveloping my whole person, and I felt the strength to take the challenge.

The next day, with the Rosary clasped in my hand, I took the test. I remember the tears I shed as the test was on-going, and the cry which came from the depths of my nothingness: Mi Madre! Mi Reina! Mi Gran Señora! It's intensity took me emotionally that it even led me to tears, but thank God and Our Lady, I was able to persevere and pass the exam!

A few days after the Oath-taking, at the start
of 2014, I offered to Our Lady my oath
as a Professional Teacher. (01-01-2014)
In thanksgiving to Nanay, on the day of my oath-taking (December 23, 2013), I attended Mass at Santo Domingo, and offered a token of thanksgiving to her. Small as it might seem, it came from my heart, as a very special way of thanking her for her guidance and wisdom as I went through one of the challenging, yet promising moments in my life.

This Sunday will mark a year after the Camarin experience. After challenges which went my way after the LET, my love and devotion for Nanay remains. She had let me pass through these tough challenges, and yet she stays by my side. Despite my weakness, her love perseveres. 

What lies next? I don't know. Perhaps I would be more blessed with another encounter very soon. Until then, I just pray that this year's La Naval festivities would be more memorable for me and for all devotees.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SNATCHING... and what happened afterwards.
(Ave Maria! Online Community - Third Anniversary Message)

Sept. 12, 2014

It was September 12, 2011 (three years ago, technically), at exactly 9:00 PM, when Ave Maria! officially went online. Back then, I had no idea if this would click. Kumbaga nga, try-try lang ito. Pag umubra, salamat! Kung hindi, eh di salamat rin!

Who were we before? We were simply a group of people coming from different backgrounds and literally "snatched" for the purpose of starting this big idea of spreading Mary's love to all. Among us, there is a former admin from another fanpage (which I snatched), and an active FB trivia boy (which he snatched), there is a lady layout artist (which joined our snatching group because no one snatched her), and another boy who is young yet bold in sharing his views (we snatched him altogether.)

Oh yes. We are snatchers.

But while we started this game snatching ourselves, I look back on three years past and see that it is not OUR snatching game at all. In the first place, Our Lady snatched us from whoever we were before, and turned us into a team, a group, a community. And everyday, for the past three years, we snatched more than we could, by our quality posts and features, by our news and prayers. We are snatched from our former selves and brought to a living, celebrating and praying community where we draw ourselves closer to Jesus, through Mary.

Who are we now? Mico, the former admin from another fanpage is now a Freshman college student (He is now the Moderator). Joshua, the trivia boy became the overseer of all AM programs (He is now the Head Admin).Solejaena, the lady layout artist is now working for DOST (She still stays as our head Layout artist), and Ivan, the young boy yet bold in his views, was called by the Lord in 2012.

We will continue snatching netizens as long as Divine Will allows us, for we continue running this page, "not for the likes, but for the souls." We continually ask Our Lady, she who snatched us all from who we were - sinners - to always bring us closer to her Son, today and in the years to come.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy September First!

What's the occasion?

None, really. But since it's the First of September, it's already the start of the "unofficial" Christmas season throughout the islands!

People start saving and buying gifts as early as today. You can't blame the Filipino, because once the BER hits the calendar, it's automatically the start of Christmas in the Philippines. :D

Excited much xD

Friday, August 29, 2014

You have something bad to say?

I have read some past comments on the other tabs of this blog. It contains hate speech, connected to the past events wherein people tried their very best to drag me down. Some of the comments directed towards my profession as a teacher.

Hurting as it is, I have no choice but to delete them and move on with life. This should not interfere with how I work and who I really am as a person, as a teacher, as a servant of God.

Fans would always be there. How would you treat them is another story. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The 9PMers

The 9PMers on my birthday.
There's a new trend among the students at ICPS. No, uso na palagi yung mga gwapo at maganda eh, it's more of students gathering together to pray.

Pray? Yes.

We call ourselves the ICPS 9PMers. As the name implies, we stop at 9:00 PM to pray for each other and for our school and community in general. We take upon ourselves two powerful ladies as patronesses, Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace and Saint Philomena.

The idea of praying at 9:00 PM started in 2005, during our retreat at Don Bosco Batulao. We have decided, as one batch, to pray every night, at 9:00 in the evening, for each other and for our batch in general. While all of us forgot about this commitment, it re-dawned on me after one of our Chapter meetings at the Dominican Laity just a few months ago.

Maybe, I said, this is Mama Mary's and St. Philomena's sign for me. This came after my battle with death, and I embraced this as a simple sign of gratitude from God and these two Patronesses, though they're new to my system, still their intercession to Our Lord is truly beyond compare.

After this meeting, I called upon my choir members and student-lectors, sharing with them my thoughts of setting up a group dedicated to praying for their needs, as well as the needs of their families and of the Church in general. I don't know what made these modern guys and gals say yes, as I expected with the cold trace in their faces that they would reject my offer.

But then, they said yes. And like a mother giving birth to her child, the 9PMers was born. 

We only started with a group of 15, but as days pass we had grown in number, students who were interested not only in the group, but also in knowing Our Lord more.

We sent this photo to the Universal Living Rosary
Association, who sent us this reply of
appreciation. Thanks, Ma'am Patty! :)
They are placed under the motherly protection of Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, they are given a Scapular and a Rosary, which they will pray every single day as a way of drawing closer to Our Mother. They also get to know this Marian title and how she visited our country in 1948 to bring a message of peace and love from God.

As a gift, they are also placed under the intercession of St. Philomena. Their names are enlisted at the Living Rosary Association, and so they receive the Cord of St. Philomena, which they wear everyday, either as a waist cord or a bracelet. The cord is a sign of purity and martyrdom in which the members promise to protect all their lives.

In a matter of days, miracles came in, like Heaven knocking on the door of our hearts. I will tell it on my later posts. 

As of now, there are more students coming, and I was able to fill-in more than 60 slots on my forms. This is a sure sign of things yet to come.

Please pray for these students. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014


When was the last time I wrote a Birthday Essay? Ah, it was in 2011, when I was turning 21. It was a big turn for me, since it was my debut. Back then, I was still a college student, months away from the achievement of my dreams. I was at the threshold of life; I was at the portal of a new chapter in my life as a professional.

The year after that, I was already given the chance to start working; I am already in the professional world. Not a kid anymore, I decided to drop things which could attach me to who I was before. Among them, was my yearly Birthday Essay. This blog, which was noisy during my birthday celebration, turned silent during the most joyful day(s) of my year. Unusual, but I see it necessary. 

That was, until a few days ago when a friend asked me to revive it. Searching for reasons in the middle of grades, papers and headaches, I found one interesting reason: the kid in me. Deep inside, I missed what I was doing, and it sparked in me the flame of celebrating life and its experiences. So, here I am, providing my eighth Birthday Essay, with the hope of scoping all my ups and downs this year, of which I would be forever grateful.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grace After Grace!

It should have been a usual day at school, when someone informed me that my recent entry on our visit to Sr. Teresita Castillo is made the HEADLINE STORY of, an American resource portal on articles related to the Catholic Faith.

I thank Mr. Michael Brown of Spirit Daily, for this wonderful opportunity of having SB@B featured on the renowned Web Portal in America. Also, to my friends in the Initiative to promote Mama Mary Mediatrix, for their support as I write this unforgettable encounter. Thanks also to the readers and devotees from the Philippines, America and beyond, who took time to read my little sharing on an experience capped by God's grace and Mama Mary's guidance.

I have been blogging for eight years now. This blog and its posts had encountered different ups and downs. I have also considered taking the page down because of low maintenance. But then, little things such as these make my mission of sharing my world in writing a little more stronger. As long as there are people who visit the site and read its contents, I am certain that this blog will be always here to stay.

At the end of this post, I wish to declare as before, that at the end of the day, I am just but the Lord's writing machine. Everything that I write is a reflection of the Lord's grace upon me and upon us. I don't boast every good acclaim, for I know that all these happens as God wills. To Him, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary and Mediatrix of All Grace, do I return all thanks and honor.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beholding the lady who beheld Our Lady

TERESITA CASTILLO. Former Carmelite postulant. Daughter of the former Governor of Batangas. A lady filled with vigor and joy. 

Some might know her as such. But for everyone, she is no-less than the nun who saw the Blessed Virgin for many times in 1948, during her apparitions in Lipa Carmel in the Philippines. At that time, Mary introduced herself as MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE. This series of apparitions was accompanied by numerous wonders and miracles, above them all the famous shower of rose petals. Despite the decision of the Church authorities in 1951 to the non-authenticity of the apparitions (the declaration can be found somewhere else in the internet), the Filipino still showed his love and admiration for Our Lady which lasts until the present, with hopes that the Church would reconsider its verdict.

Almost all the first-hand witnesses passed away since then. All, but Sr. Teresing. Despite the criticism of people who had little knowledge to the apparitions, who fabricate hoaxes throughout the past decades, Sr. Teresing remained silent and calm. She did not go public, except on few occasions when she was invited to talk on the mystic encounters with the Virgin Mary. She became a low-profile person, living in the suburbs of Manila with adopted daughter Grace and some relatives. Everyone wanted to see her, ask her prayers for many concerns, but her health condition and advanced age made it impossible. For everyone, it was really suntok sa buwan.

But God, in his great goodness, granted me and my friend Migs a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and hear Sr. Teresita, in a circumstance not prepared by our strength, but according to His gracious plan. The story surrounding this encounter, for me, is more than a 'meet-and-greet' situation; it's God's will prevailing in every minute, so precious, so unforgettable.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My words on the latest turnover of events after February 2014

Let me just make things clear, these are facts.

On February of this year, some people tried to underscore me by putting up a blogsite, and there, shouting issues against me and my morals. Despite the noise it created, and the pain it brought to my person because of these people who are more than willing to trample me down, I went in total silence and mortification.

As the months passed, these same people made dummy FB accounts showing the same content, with fake accounts liking the same content. These went to my attention, thanks to the concerned people and friends who stood by my side.

Likewise, I recount an incident during the Feast of Our Lady of the Abandoned at Santa Ana, Manila last May 12, 2014, when a man recklessly tried to video me for reasons unknown. This is a shout of foul over my privacy during the celebration, as they were looking around during the incident.

With a few or no words at all, I watched as they continually try to lambaste my name and dignity on the sight of other people. I put all these things into prayer, and longed for the day these people would be sorry for their deeds.

That day indeed came on July 13, 2014, when Mr. Ryan Mariano talked to my friend asking for my forgiveness on everything they did. He pointed out that this is because of Mr. Marc Anthony Pascua, who forced him to ridicule me online as a way of helping him get back on me. Mr. Mariano wanted to seek my forgiveness and help me teach Mr. Pascua a lesson. Since I blocked these people on Facebook, Mr. Mariano persuaded my friend to relay this message to me and seek my response.

After a period of constant prayer and reflection, I only have this to say. 

I FORGIVE YOU. I will not provide any more passages from Scripture to explain this. I think it is enough for me to say these three words, despite the pain you and your acts brought on my person, to show what a real Christian must be, forgiving others and continually showing concern for them.

With these things said, I would now like to ask everyone, especially those people involved in the incidents of the past, to please respect my privacy with regards to the same. I wish to let go of all the pain as it continues to dwell inside me. I long to move on with my life, and continue my ministry as a servant of God and His Church. Wounded as I am, in the midst of challenges and sickness I'm facing, I know the Lord will provide us with the grace to move forward and live grace after grace.

I pray for enlightenment, not only for everyone, but most especially, for myself. Even if the marks of the past would be carried over forever, we can still start anew with God's grace hovering over all of us.

May God bless us!

15 July 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Independence Day with Our Lady

June 12, 2014. 

As some of you may know, I and my mom visited Lipa Carmel today. After some errands, we went up the viewing area, where we could see the Apparition Site of Our Lady. We prayed the Rosary together, afterwards I went forward to have a moment of contemplation with Mama Mediatrix.

I thought of offering a song for Mary, and the song which entered my mind was the "Ave Maria ng Lipa," composed by Migs. This might not be the first time the song reached Carmel, but I believe this is the very first time that this song is played publicly near the Site of the Apparitions.

I was singing along with the vocals of the song, when all of a sudden, at the first "Ave," a gentle wind blew over the area. The scent of roses was evident. Above all, the bells rang, as if heaven was singing along with me and the vocals (though I checked on the clock and it's the 11:00 AM bell; I wasn't aware of the time, so to speak).

At that, we committed ourselves to continue spreading the love and the messages of Mama Mediatrix, especially in the Malabon-Navotas area. It's a wonderful and empowering moment for both of us. And we want to share this with everyone who loves Mary and wants to help us spread devotion to her.

Me and my mom at the Site of the Apparitions at Lipa.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

iTUNE: Grand Eucharistic Adoration 2014

It seems that this year would be filled with pilgrimages. Travels left and right occupy my once-vague weekends nowadays, and so I return to my blog to have them all recorded.

January 11, 2013

It was an exciting day, not because I can take a rest from the heavy week that was, but because I can go around again. Today, I went to Dom Bosco Technoligical Institute in Makati for the Second Grand Eucharistic Adoration. This program, under the Don Bosco Days with the Lord Movement, aims to bring Christ to the youth in a very authentic manner: that of adoring His Body in the Blessed sacrament.

It was preceded by a Youth Festival, featuring different youth groups. Like a cellphone app, the Festival was divided into different 'apps' which any pilgrim could 'download,' that is, experience and learn with.

Youth listen to the songs by the Bukas Palad Music Ministry

Youth serving youth: A volunteer shares the life of the saints
whose relics were exposed prior to the Adoration.

Leaving my own mark at the YouthPinoy! booth
At nighttime, the youth gathered around the Sacred Host, singing hymns and reciting prayers. It was like a special moment for everyone who wished to come HOME.

The Lord enthroned for adoration of his faithful.

One of the main highlights of the adoration is the activity,
'touching of the cloak.' Like the woman with hemorrhage who
touched the Lord's clothes and was healed, the people were given the rare chance
to touch the Lord's cloth and entrust to him the desires of their hearts.

In our society in dire need of comfort and solace, activities like this remind us of the One which we really need to provide us peace: Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!

Kudos to the Salesian Community for such a remarkable experience!