Posts Tagged ‘Baclaran Church’


2017 Visita Iglesia

April 15, 2017

It is Black Saturday today. Last Thursday, we visited seven churches, one of the traditional customs that is still being observed here in the Philippines. We first went to San Sebastian Church in Manila, and glided down to Baclaran Shrine in Paranaque City where we attended the 6 pm Mass. The priest washed the feet of the relatives of the victims of extrajudicial killings. “The biblical story of the feet-washing ceremony is mainly interpreted as an act of humility and service, a recurring message in the observance of the Holy Week.” [from Rappler News]



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Visita Iglesia is a Holy Week practice where devotees visit and pray in at least 7 churches. It was introduced to the Philippines by Augustinian missionaries. [To read about its origin, click


ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST! Ash Wednesday 2015

February 21, 2015

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February 18. The first day of the season of Lent this year. Pastors and nuns applied ashes to the foreheads of Catholics, said to be signifying inner repentance.

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Behind this is the wishing water fountain, or a wishing well[?] where the love padlocks can be seen on the fence.

Inside the compound of the National Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, people lined up for the cross sign to be applied on their foreheads. It was kind’a festive, falling as it was on Baclaran Day, or the day of the Mother of Perpetual Help. Nevertheless, it wasn’t as crowded as I expected because the Mass was still on-going at the time I went there.

What caught my attention was seeing for the first time the padlocks— a la love lock or love padlocks in Paris bridges — on the fence protecting the wishing font placed behind the statue of Mother Theresa. Symbol of the lover’s love as in the West? Well, I am sure they got the idea from there.

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However, the act by now is being seen as littering and vandalism by the authorities in the West. What will the Redemptorist Fathers do when padlocks totally cover the whole fence? Abangan!

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On the 40th Day or the end of the Lenten season, I will most probably check how it will look like…


POPE FRANCIS – A la Super Typhoon in the Philippines

January 15, 2015
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T-Shirt that I chose with our flag design and Rizal Monument as background

Pope Francis is arriving in Manila from Sri Lanka this evening at 5.45 for a five day visit here starting today January 15 up to January 19. The preparations for his coming is akin to the preparations made before the coming of recent super typhoon Ruby. The government agencies concerned, and the citizens readied for the typhoon’s onslaught to avoid the same outcome as when Typhoon Yolanda “visited” the country. Media had special coverages. Similarly, preparations for the coming of the Pope were lined up but this time the Church and State are working together to welcome the Pope. The media is playing an important role in giving information to the people. Radio is observably turning to be more reliable since schedules shift from time to time. For ex., an earlier radio report says that Mass at the Cathedral will start at 12.15; in an hour or so, the same station says it will be at 11.15am.

As almost all sectors are affected by Pope Francis’ coming, it can be said that he is like a super typhoon. But unlike typhoons that bring devastation to life and properties, the Pope restores lost hope and faith to Man. Thus, hundredfold activities to welcome him are being prepared by all concerned including ordinary citizens, with his security and protection against lawless elements topmost in the list of “to do’s.” Understandably, visiting us is Christ’s representative, Shepherd to over 80 million Catholic Filipinos, and head of state of Vatican City as well.

Ordinary citizens in Manila and Tacloban, places the Pope are visiting are quite excited to see him. It is also like preparing for the coming of Superman. Though the Pope already said that focus should be on Christ not on him, still it seems that he is seen as a hero. For many who are looking for someone to lift their spirit up from feeling of distress perhaps, or from poverty – either of spirit and economic lack, the Pope with his enchanting and charismatic personality loom large as figure of hope. With so much news on corruption, drug lords living as kings, leaders who think of themselves more that the country and the people that they should serve, the Pope’s coming serve as a breather… a rest…He is seen as Light, as Hope for renewal, for change. He brings Christ.

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Pope “fever” is high: radio stations promise mega and non-stop report from his arrival; on newspapers and on television the Pope is headline. As I live in Pasay, the first city where he is arriving tonight – in between Villamor Airbase where the Pope would disembark and the Mall of Asia where his Mass with selected families is to be held on Sunday — it has become common to hear and see helicopters hovering around the area; part of the authorities’ dry run possibly on the routes the Pope would take from the airport to the Nuncio’s house in Manila. For several days now, priests are daily being interviewed about him by different radio stations. Like them, I heard Cardinal Tagle sounding very “high” and happy when he recounted his experiences with Pope Francis. His coming is most anticipated.

Inside Baclaran Church yesterday afternoon –just a day before the Pope arrives, I saw a team of foreign correspondents, taking notes about the on-going Wednesday novena, perhaps having their preview of the community who would welcome the Pope. Much unlike in Europe, where Catholicism seems “dead” [I remember entering a very huge church in Belgium with not more that 10 people inside it]; here it is quite alive, especially in the Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine in Baclaran, the Catholic church located nearest to our house.

Souvenirs with his photos, T-shirts, fans and badges are also all over. Photo standees were made so that people who won’t be able to go near Pope Francis in person could at least take their photo with him. Classes are suspended until he leaves; offices are closed; roads are to be blocked; airplanes cannot plane in before and until he arrives / leaves. Prayers and petitions are being readied by people hopeful of change from within and without one’s self.

I can feel the Hope that he is bringing to our country. Stories about him abound regarding his Love, Mercy and Compassion for the poor and “the least of our brethren.” He goes to the people; he serves his flock. His simplicity and Humility is something our corrupt leaders should emulate and follow.

I am not a practicing Catholic anymore but I am as excited as any pious and religious Catholic who are waiting for “The People’s Pope.”

I am just praying that typhoon “Amang” which just entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility  dissipate, if not, completely melt away, or change its course of direction. It is currently bringing rains to Tacloban and Samar, the two most-devastated places affected by Typhoon Yolanda. So many believe in the power of prayer. That includes me! Nevertheless, in case he experiences the typhoon rains in Tacloban, it would be giving him a more complete picture and feel, even just for a fraction on what the victims of Typhoon Yolanda actually encountered.


Palm Sunday 2014_Baclaran Church

April 14, 2014

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Note: The name Baclaran came from the word “baklad”, a piece of fishing gear used by fishermen in the past. It is a rattan fence used to segregate fingerlings from the bigger fishes during the time when the Baclaran River and the Manila Bay were still used to breed fish. In the past, the place was famous for its baklads therefore people started calling it the “bakladan”, which later on became “Baclaran” [Source:].

Baclaran is well known to be a pilgrimage site of the Marian devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Every Wednesday, they flock to the church to attend the novena. It has been declared as a National Shrine or Pambansang Dambana ng Ina ng Laging Saklolo.

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[Sta. Teresita]

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I got the palm leaf from Bicol with the photo of my patron saint, Our Lady of Manaoag


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   ” HAIL THE KING!!!”

Ang Linggo ng Palaspas ay isang tradisyon na hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na isinasagawa ng mga Katoliko sa Pilipinas.



Salubungin at Samahan ang Haring Marangal 2011

April 17, 2011

It’s Palm Sunday. This afternoon at 5pm, I went to the Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran to observe the Feast of the Palm Sunday [Manang already had our palaspas blessed in the morning]. Their slogan is: “Salubungin at Samahan ang Haring Marangal, Tungo sa Daang Pinakamadangal” well, I am honestly not so sure of the second line. I forgot to bring both my camera and my celfone to record it. The church was too crowded I didn’t dare enter it anymore. I have history of collapsing because of heat in crowded places. So, I decided to go behind the church. However, it was as crowded. People holding palaspas or decorated palm fronds [which has been replaced by the easily available fresh coconut leaves nicely designed in varied forms and sizes] lined up awaiting for their blessing by the priest. I luckily found an elevated ground, stood there and waited until the priest came over after the Mass to bless the palaspas. I found it amusing to see that when someone in front waved his palaspas, the people behind followed. Amidst sort of frenzy, I saw a girl collapsing in front of me. I saw myself in her person. Felt the odd feeling of getting dizzy, the heat that caused it, etc.

The priest finally came and said a few words about the feast. He started to bless and when it was for real, the sound of waved palaspas created breezy, and magnetic sound of leaves in friction alongside the energetic synergy of people bonded by faith in Jesus. The sight was awesome!! My mind for a while traveled back in time. I imagined Jesus on a donkey as people welcomed him with palm leaves on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as mentioned in Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19.

Because of the big crowd however, going home was like inching out from a bottle’s neck—literally speaking.

To read more about the palaspas, click Palm Sunday’s Palaspas.