My Beloved Wife is Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
(Source: AskMen)

"Paano mo nakakaya ito? "

I exclaimed this after one exhausting Saturday. I was tired because of our hyper and super kukulit babies. 

My son, Samuel, is 2 years old and my daughter, Samantha, is now 1 year old and it is hard to keep them still.

My son runs around the house. He climbs up the sofa, the stairs and even the windows! My little daughter, who is already more ten kilos, always wanted to be carried up.

And it is more exhausting when we are in a shopping mall. Samuel runs and pulls things around. I have no choice but to run after him for fear of kidnappers. Also, I always keep an eye on him so that he will not break anything while we are in SM.

Eating out is also a messy affair since a lot of food drops to the floor because of Samuel and Samantha’s messy eating.

Samuel and Samantha are the reasons why I do not find rest during the weekends. Sometimes I even felt more tired on those days. 

That's why I am amazed that My Beloved Wife manages to take care of our children every single day. Aside from that, Lei wake up early to prepare by lunch box and my breakfast. She also does chores like cleaning the house and washing our dirty clothes.

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This a Daddy's Corner post!

Daddy's Corner is where I post my thoughts on my life as a Daddy to two wonderful kids and Husband to a very loving wife, and my journey in raising a family.
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SCAM ALERT! One Tagaytay Place Scam

"If it is too good to be true then it is probably untrue."

This is what I learned when I almost fell for the Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel scam.

Last year, I received a call from an unknown number. The caller said that I won a free overnight stay in Crown Regency Hotel in Cebu. I can claim the gift certificate by just watching a 90-minute presentation.

I smell something fishy so I didn't take the bait.

I thought that's the end of it.

I was wrong.

Last April, I received a call from a certain Andrea Madrigal. She told me that I won a free overnight stay in One Tagaytay Place Hotel. She also told me that I have to attend a 90-minute presentation to get the free gift certificate. She also promised that there will a free lunch buffet.

I was suspicious because she used the same script as in the Club Ultima /Crown Regency Hotel Scam but I confirmed my attendance, nonetheless.

Andrea Madrigal then texted me these messages:

One Tagaytay Place Scam
One Tagaytay Place Scam
One Tagaytay Place Scam

Her message says:

INVITATION TO: MR. and MRS. AHAB: You are receiving this text message to confirm our invitation to you as a selected recipient of Complimentary Room Night Gift Certificate at One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites. In order to claim the Gift Certificate with a free Lunch Buffet for two at around 11:30am Tomorrow.There is no financial obligation recipients are only required to bring 1 valid ID each with spouse and kindly finish the minimum of 90mins. hotel presentation to see our rooms/facilities and amenities of our h0tel in claiming the GC as this is part of our promotion. Our office is located in G/f aguinaldo agoncillo function Room Barrio Sungay Tagaytay City. before Picnic Groove we are in left side along the hi-way. Infront of our hotel we have 7-11 & PR Bank. Kindly look for me Ms. Andrea Madrigal or our receptionist Ms. Ana Mallari. Thank you
Andrea is quite because she sent two more text messages. One text message says:

CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected by our company to receive a COMPLIMENTARY GIFT CERTIFICATE which is an OVERNIGHT STAY IN OUR PREMIER HOTEL-ONE TAGAYTAY PLACE HOTEL SUITES. The accommodation is good for 2adults & 2kids. Valid for 3months upon claiming the gift. It's Transferrable.  Have a blessed day...:-)
Another of her message says:

Hi! Andrea here kindly reply us back once you received the details/invitations. You will be reserve at V.I.P Table #8 for the Free Lunch Buffet for two and FREE PARKING RESERVED. It will be our pleasure to see you both here tomorrow. God bless and have a nice day ahead..:-)
It will be their pleasure to us indeed since they reeled in another victim.

My gut tells me that there is something wrong with the so-called "free" overnight hotel stay so I decided not to attend the 90-minute presentation.

Andrea called again the next morning so I apologized and told her that I will not come.

Her reply was, "Ano pa ang magagawa ng sorry mo?!"

Then she suddenly dropped the call.

Her attitude just confirmed that she's a scammer. A true hotel employee will not act the way she did.

I bet that she was mad that she will not get a commission  because her victim got away.

It seems that my name is still in their database so I will not be surprised if I will get another call or text message from another scammer.

I am truly thankful that I was victimized by this One Tagaytay Place Scam.

UPDATE

I recently received another text message from Andrea Madrigal, which reads:

Hi! Andrea here from One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites. This  is regarding to your UNCLAIMED COMPLIMENTARY GIFT CERTIFICATE for an OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION at ONE TAGAYTAY PLACE HOTEL SUITES good for 2 Adults and 2 Kids at the Deluxe Room and Valid for 3 Months upon claiming. Were inviting you again for the special batch of claiming on Saturday or Sunday  in between 11:30am-1pm (MAY 20,and 21, 2017) here in our HOTEL at ONE TAGAYTAY PLACE with Free Lunch Buffet for two. Again dont worry just bring 1 valid id together  with your spouse. Please txt us back if you are still interested or not. Were preparing po kasi everything and were finalizing our guestlist. Thanks and God bless:-)
This Andrea think that I will deal with her again after her rudeness. Bah! I didn't reply to her text message. Bahala sila mag-aksaya ng load.

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I did a Google search about One Tagaytay Place Scam and I discovered that they been doing this for a very long time now. Some says that this is valid but the problem is that these people are exaggerating their claims just to make their prospective client say "yes". That's the problem and that makes it a scam. 

Don't be a victim of scams. Read about other scams that I encounter:


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SCAM ALERT! Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam

I received a call from an unknown number one busy day at work. The caller introduced himself as Lester Chua and immediately said that we won a free overnight stay at the 5-star hotel called Crown Regency Hotel. He mentioned that we can opt to stay in Crown Regency Hotel located in Cebu or in other branches of that hotel.

Sensing my disbelief about winning a raffle, Lester reminded me of the raffle entry that I filled-up during the Travel Mart Expo last year. I told him that I already threw away the raffle stub so I am no longer eligible to win. He brushed that aside and said that I can still win the free overnight stay if I can confirm my personal information. I admit that I was driven by emotions that time so I foolishly provided all the personal details that he asked for. 

I suddenly imagined me, My Beloved Wife Lei and the kids enjoying by the pool beside a 5-star hotel. I also imagined us strolling along the beach and touring to the historical places of the Queen City of the South.  Finally, I can bring the kids to Cebu and make them enjoy a 5-star hotel.

Lester said that I had to attend their 90-minutes audio-visual presentation about the Crown Regency Hotel to claim the gift certificate for the free overnight stay. He insisted that I have to bring my wife. He kept on mentioning that there will be free buffet lunch and there will be no financial obligation on claiming the gift certificate.

I believed that there’s no harm attending an audio-visual presentation so I told him that I will go to their office to claim the gift certificate.

After our conversation, Lester Chua sent the following messages:

Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam
Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam
Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam
Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam

The message reads:

INVITATION:
Mr. Ishmael Ahab & Mrs. Lei Ahab, 
CROWN REGENCY HOTEL Office: Unit 102 G/F LE METROPOLE BLDG. corner Tordesillas St. along Sen. Gil Puyat/Buendia (Inline of RCBC Plaza Gil Puyat, opposite PAG-IBIG FUND/BIR.in between Ministop & PhilTrust Bank) 
SCHEDULE: see you on SATURDAY, Sept. 10, 2016 at around 1:30pm to 3:30pm will wait. 
REQUIREMENTS: 
-Kindly bring 1 valid ID with your SPOUSE for proper identification and should watch the 90mins. video clippings & graphic display for you to  choose your best choice for your family vacation preferences & also for us to provide you all the important details raegarding your Gift Certificate. 
-NO Financial obligation upon claiming. 
Just look for me Mr. Lester Chua the Reservation Officer or Jenny Quintero our receptionist. 
In behalf of the management
CONGRATULATIONS!
GOD BLESS & SEE YOU!
I received that text message from mobile phone no. 09228825659.

Their group is quite persistent because they sent a lot of text messages. Another message that I received was from Pia Esguerra (mobile phone no. 09228825709) and it says:

A blessed day! Mr. Ishmael & Mrs. Lei Ahab This is Ms. Pia Esguerra Reservations Manager of Club Ultima/Crown Regency Hotel i would like to remind for the claiming of your gift certificate and that would set Tommorow , Saturday Sept.10 at around 1:30pm tn 3:00pm here at Le Metropole bldg. Makati corner TORDESILLAS along BUENDIA, inline of RCBC PLAZA. Please advise for the final confirmation if your coming for me to reserve a seat for the FREE REFRESHMENT Godbless you. See you!
This is the last message I received from someone with mobile phone no. 09228825731:

I just want to remind you for the claiming of your gft certificte today around 1:30pm at Club Ultima/Crown Regency Makati and kindly txt us your confrmation bcoz we are going to prepare a free snack for all selectd recipient and stay for the presentation that last for 90mins. kindly txt us if you are coming bcoz if your name is not on the guest list you can not enter the bldg. Congratulations!

My gut tells me that there is something wrong with the offer. I am a loser when it comes to raffle and this sudden win without the need for a raffle stub signaled some irregularities.

A Google search brought me to Julienne’s blog post about Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel, which was posted 5 years ago. The information I read there confirmed my suspicions. The offer made by Lester Chua is a sham.

Julienne also received a phone call who said that she won a free stay in Crown Regency Hotel. She was not tricked by the Club Ultima agent. However, the commenters to that blog post have different stories. Some commenters were tricked and gave large sums of money for a membership at Club Ultima. Others said that they couldn’t use the gift certificate because the hotel is always “fully-booked”.

Those who attended the 90-minute presentation said that the agents will try to convince you to join Club Ultima. They felt the pressure and some were hypnotized by the sales talk. Many gave in. In the end, they paid cash for a bad deal.

What actually  prompted me to be suspicious about the offer is that the address indicated in Lester Chua's text message is different from the address of Crown Regency Hotel in Makati. Isn’t it logical that a promotional event of a hotel be done inside the hotel?

The warning signs are very clear so I cancelled my attendance to their event. 

Looking back now, I believe that I might fall for their marketing ploy. I might give in especially if our babies are crying after the exhausting 90-minute presentation. 

My little Google search saved us from trouble. I am grateful to Julienne and other people who shared their experiences with the Club Ultima / Crown Regency Hotel Scam.

Lessons Learned

I learned a lot of things after my close call with Club Ultima / Crown Regency Scam. I am glad that I didn't learned these lessons the hard way:

1. Never give your personal information to the strangers and that includes the participants of travel mart or any travel expo. Their usual gimmick is that they will ask you to sign their gust book or fill-up a raffle coupon. This is just a way for them collect data that will be used for scams or, worse, for hacking your bank accounts, email, and social media accounts.

2. Be suspicious of offers that is too good to be true because there is no such thing as free hotel stays. There is always a catch.

3. Check with DTI if the raffle that you joined is legitimate. Real raffle or contest are registered with DTI.

4. Do an Internet search whenever you encounter offers like this. Always keep in mind that information is power.

I do hope that none of you, Dear Reader, will fall prey to these scammers. Be vigilant and never believe any too-good-to-be-true offer especially when there is money involved.
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Pizza Hut in SM Sta. Rosa is NOT Baby Friendly

Pizza Hut Philippines is Not Baby Friendly


My Beloved Wife Lei is craving for pizza so we went to our favorite pizza joint: Pizza Hut. 

Lei was lured by Pizza Hut’s Pizza Panalo Promo that's why she chose that restaurant over Greenwich, which is another pizza restaurant that we frequents.

Everything is fine until I asked the waitress:

"Meron kayong high chair?"

She answered, "Wala po." 

I felt disappointed! Why does a family restaurant does not have a seat for toddlers? Didn't they know that it is VERY difficult to eat with a hyperactive child? What's more difficult is that we have to makulit babies.

The Pizza Hut in SM Sta. Rosa had high chairs in the past. I didn’t know why they removed them without any replacement. I also noticed mommies and daddies in the other tables having diffulty eating while taking care of their babies and toddlers.

Pizza Hut's pizza is yummy as usual but I did not enjoy it that much because of the makukulits.

I do hope that they will have high chairs the next time we dine in their restaurant. We will not patronize this restaurant until then.
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Visita Iglesia: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of the Caracol Church (Rosario, Cavite)

A batel was plying its usual route from Mindoro to Manila when it encountered a strong typhoon. The big merchant’s boat was battered by strong winds and tossed around by giant waves. Great terror engulfed the crewmen as water entered their boat. Their only recourse is to tie themselves to the boat to avoid being thrown overboard. Their captain, as he checked the goods that could be saved from the terrible storm, saw the image of the Virgin Mary. The sight of Our Mother moved him to pray for her help. He promised that he will build a chapel in her honor as soon as they landed safely to the shore.

The stormy night was followed by a sunny morning and calm sea. The crew found themselves along the shores of Sitio Mojon (now called as Barrio Muzon) of Barrio Salinas-Marsella. Knowing that their prayers were answered, the boat crew built a makeshift chapel out of bamboo and the altar was made from the lumber of their boat. The crew entrusted the chapel and the image of Virgen del Rosario to the people of Mojon.

Miraculous image of Nuestra Seῆora del Santisimo Rosario de Caracol

I didn’t know that image of Mama Mary at the altar of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of the Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite has a very interesting story. That image came to the people out of the storm and it served as the beacon of faith and hope to the people.

Since the makeshift chapel is not a good place for a miraculous image, the townspeople built a new church for it. That church is fittingly placed under the patronage of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

Salinas-Marsella was once part of the town of San Francisco de Malabon (now known as General Trias). Salinas means salt beds while Marsella is the Spanish word for the seaside French town of Merseille. Salinas-Marsella is famous for its salt beds that lined up it shore. The barrio produces clean salt that were traded in the province of Cavite and Manila.

Salinas-Marsella became a separate town in 1845 by the order of Governor General Don Narciso Claveria y Zaldua. The new town was named as Rosario, which fits the townspeople’s deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Undated old photo of Caracol Church in Rosario Cavite
Old photo of Rosario Church. (Source: Rosario Church website)

The age of the church is obvious. Its walls made of adobe blocks and the façade harks back to the Spanish period. However, based on the old photos the church, the porch and the bell tower were later additions.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

According to historical accounts, the first parish priest of Rosario is a native Filipino. He is Don Mamerto Ner Mariano. Unfortunately, he was later on replaced by a Spanish priest from the order of Augustinian Recollects. The change was made under a royal decree and was meant to stem the tide of nationalism that is sweeping through the whole Philippines. It was a futile decree since it alienated the natives and illustrados because they considered it as proof of unfair treatment by the Spanish government against native Filipinos. The move, in fact, resulted to the creation of a schismatic sect called the Aglipayans.

Ancient bell in Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

Just like old churches in the Philippines, the church in Rosario became witness to the historical events of the town. During the height of oppression by the friars, many Caviteños turned to banditry and ransacked the church and even the houses of the poor people of Rosario. On April 1, 1987 the members of Katipunan burned the church. During the Filipino-American War, the convent of the church was used as camp of the Filipino soldiers. Fortunately, this church was spared during the Second World War.

Inside Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

I found the church of Rosario to be quite narrow but with a long aisle. The lack of space was compensated by side pews that are outside of the main body of the church. The side pews were not only meant for additional seats but also a space where devotees can do homage to the miraculous image of the Virgen del Rosario, who is also called as the Queen of the Snail.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol image in Rosario, Cavite

Actually, the Virgin Mary’s title in Rosario is Nuestra Seῆora del Santisimo Rosario de Caracol. Mary was given this title because of the snail paced procession held by the townspeople in her honor.

Fiesta of Reina de Caracol in Rosario, Cavite
People celebrating the feast Reina de Caracol (Source: Rosario Church website).

The Caracol begins at the church wherein the Virgin Mary’s miraculous image is borne on the shoulders of her devotees. Hundreds of people from Rosario and neighboring towns participate by dancing to the tune of fandango. The image is later on boarded on a beautifully decorated boat that will pass along the shores of the town. The fluvial procession ends at Barrio Muzon, as if to commemorate the first landing of the Marian image on that very site.

Altar of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

I was awed the first time that I saw Virgin Mary’s image in Rosario Church. I didn’t know the history of that church that time but I know that there is something worth knowing about her image at the altar. I just found it weird that the altar was covered during my visit. Old photos show that Rosario Church’s altar is beautiful.
The side pews to the left of the main church faces directly to the tabernacle. I was disappointed when I saw this. The tabernacle should be placed at the altar and not at the sides.

Tabernacle of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

Well, I guess placing the tabernacle at the side is a common practice in Cavite. I have seen the church in Noveleta where the tabernacle was also placed at the side.

Image of the Crucified Jesus in Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite

Rev. Fr. Virgilio Saenz Mendoza, former assistant parish priest of Rosario, lamented that the old values and tradition of the town are dying. The rapid industrialization of the town and the entry of people from various parts of the Philippines, and the emigration of native residents of Rosario to other countries caused the change of values of the town. The devotion to Nuestra Seῆora del Santisimo Rosario de Caracol is getting weak and the town’s feast is no longer as festive as in the past. The younger generation are no longer interested with the Caracol.

It is sad that centuries old tradition is doomed to extinction. But I guess the whole Philippines is experiencing this. It is a challenge to the Church to make the faith valued again. I do hope that Catholics will move faster than a caracol to achieve this.

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Information about the Rosario Church came from the website of the The Most Holy Rosary Parish (Rosario, Cavite)
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Visita Iglesia: Saint Polycarp Church, the Oldest in Western Laguna

The City of Cabuyao is the second smallest city in the western section of the province of Laguna in terms of land area. The largest city in the area is Calamba, followed by Santa Rosa, and then Biñan. Cabuyao is just almost 2,000 hectares bigger than San Pedro.

However, in the past, Cabuyao is the biggest town in the western part of Laguna. In fact, Cabuyao is the western part of Laguna because the cities of Calamba, Santa Rosa, Biñan, and San Pedro were its former barangays.

In 1570, the conquistador of Manila Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sent his grandson, Juan de Salcedo, to conquer the territories along the lakeshore of Ba-i (now known as Laguna Lake). Salcedo conquered the indio settlements of Taytay and Cainta along the north lakeshore. He then crossed the river and landed in Pagsanjan and conquered the settlements of Nagcarlan and Majayjay. The mountainous terrain in Majayjay forced Salcedo to just attack the lakeshore until he reached the settlement of Tabuco.

Miguel Lopez de Legazpi declared Tabuco as an encomienda or town under Gaspar Ramirez. The Augustinian Recollects were the first missionaries to arrive in Tabuco but they handed their jurisdiction to the Franciscans later on.

Cabuyao got its name when the Franciscans asked the women near port about the name of the place. The women answered “kabuyaw” thinking that the missionaries were asking about the kabuyaw trees growing near the lake. From then on, Tabuco was started to be called as Cabuyao.

According to Reginald Batalla Salcedo in his comment on Pepe Alas’ post, the first church in Cabuyao is located in Barrio North Marinig. This church was destroyed by floods and only the flooring was visible during low tide.


The current church of Cabuyao, which is located at the poblacion, was finished in 1771 and was placed under the patronage of the Saint Polycarp.

St. Polycarp on the church's facade.

St. Polycarp is a disciple of Saint John the Apostle and was a bishop of Smyrna in the 2nd Century. He was martyred in the arena at full view of the crowd, who demands death to the atheists (according to what I read, Christians were considered atheists by Greeks in the past because they refused to worship the Greek gods).

Image of the martyred St. Polycarp at church grounds.

St. Polycarp faced his martyrdom calmly. In fact, when the soldiers arrested him, he offered them food in exchange for an hour of prayer. The proconsul of Smyrna tried to make St. Polycarp deny Christ but the holy man just answered: 

"How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? You threaten me with a fire that burns for a season, and after a little while is quenched; but you are ignorant of the fire of everlasting punishment that is prepared for the wicked."

He was tied at stake and was burned. Miraculously, the fire refused to touch St. Polycarp. There were accounts that the fire just formed an arch and the saint glowed like gold. He was finally killed by a spear thrust to his chest.


Aside from St. Polycarp, the parish of Cabuyao has other minor patrons such as Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Clare of Assisi.


It was night when I visited the church so the image of St. Clare looks a little scary.

The church is also dedicated to Our Mother.


I can feel the age of Cabuyao Church just by looking at the old adobe blocks comprising its walls. I thought that it was just a simple old church. Little I know that it is an important part of history.


I read in Pepe Alas’ post that the Cabuyao Church had Father Mariano Gómez as its parish priest from 1848 to 1862. Father Gómez is part the famous GomBurZa, who were executed by the Spanish authorities due to their alleged link with the 1872 Cavite Mutiny.


Cabuyao Church was also witness to the Sakdalista uprising during the American Period. The Sakdalista is a movement founded by Senate employee Benigno Ramos that demanded Philippines’ immediate independence from the USA. Cabuyao and thirteen other towns were attacked by the Sakdalistas at the passing of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which mandated the independence of the Philippines after a ten-year period.

They say that bullet marks made during the Sakdalista Uprising are still present on the church walls. I guess I have to look for the bullet marks when I visit the church again.


The church’s altar features our crucified Lord, the Virgin Mary, and St. Polycarp is his bishop robe.

Looking up the ceiling of the dome made me think of our God looking from above.


St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao is one of the oldest churches in Laguna. It was witness to the town’s rich history and the evolving life of Cabuyeños. I do wish that this church continue to be the town’s witness and a reminder of Cabuyeños’ root and faith.



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Prayer to Saint Polycarp:

God of all creation, You gave your bishop Polycarp the privilege of being counted among the saints who gave their lives in faithful witness to the gospel. May his prayers give us the courage to share with him the cup of suffering and to rise to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Visita Iglesia: Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel (Fort Bonifacio)

Saint Michael the Archangel is the most badass angel in Heaven. He slices up dragons. He slays giant serpents. And, the best of all, he KOed Satan out of Heaven.

San Miguel Arcangel

Saint Michael is so badass that he was considered by the Church as the head of the Heavenly Army and the Prince of Angels. In military parlance, we can say that Saint Michael is the Chief of Staff of the Heavenly Army. His Commander in Chief is none other than our Lord.

Saint Michael is considered as protector of Christian soldiers. Thus, it is no wonder then why Filipino soldiers venerate the archangel as their personal patron.

Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel in Fort Bonifacio

I noticed this veneration to Saint Michael the Archangel when I entered the chapel dedicated to him inside a Philippine Army camp in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Altar of Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel in Fort Bonifacio

My favorite image of the archangel welcomed me as I entered the chapel grounds.

Image of Saint Michael slaying the devil in Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel, Fort Bonifacio

This signifies that the Devil will never be victorious against the followers of Jesus Christ because Saint Michael will be there to defend them.

Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel is one of the few churches in the Philippines where the lector and the servers are members of the Military. The Mass in this chapel is being presided by a military chaplain.

Inside the Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel in Fort Bonifacio

Unfortunately, I visited this chapel after the Easter Sunday thus the crucified image of Christ was covered by an image of the Risen Lord.

Altar of Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel, Fort Bonifacio

I am not sure though if what they did was correct. The truth is that I didn’t like this change in the altar.

This is the view of the altar during the normal days:

Baptism in Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel, Fort Bonifacio
(Source: RARMartinez Fotografia)

At the side of the altar is the image of the military’s patron saint.

Image of Saint Michael the Archangel in the Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel, Fort Bonifacio

What I found weird is that the lectern bears the logo of the Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas (Philippine Army).

Philippine Army Logo in Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel, Fort Bonifacio

The pew also bears the Philippine Military logo.

Philippine Army Seal in Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel, Fort Bonifacio

Despite being called a chapel, Saint Michael the Archangel is bigger than some church structures. In fact, it is big enough to hold weddings and baptisms.

Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel is the most popular angels in Christianity and many soldiers around the world ask for his intercession. He is also considered as the protector of the Church and Catholics seek his protection by uttering this prayer:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the divine power of God,
cast into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

I always say this prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel together with the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be prayers. I especially say this prayer whenever I felt fear or if I think there are demons or evil spirits in my vicinity. I believe, like the whole Church believes, that Saint Michael will defend those who are oppressed by Satan and his minions.
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Visita Iglesia 2017

Our Lord Jesus Crucified
(Source: Catholic Lane)

Semana Santa or the Holy Week is just around the corner. Thus, it is time once again for my yearly tradition: the virtual Vista Iglesia.

Visita Iglesia is a Holy Week tradition wherein Filipino Catholics visit seven churches during Maundy Thursday. Prayers, paticularly the Stations of the Cross, is prayed for every church that was visited.

The Visita Iglesia was started by San Felipe Neri in mid-16th Century. They would visit the four major basilicas in Rome plus three more significant minor basilicas. This practice became popular that it spread to other countries. This tradition is more likely handed down to Filipinos by the Spaniards.

Now, the traditional Visita Iglesia had some modern twist. There is the Bisikleta Iglesia for bikers who prefer their bicycles than walking on foot. There is the online Visita Iglesia hosted by the CBCP for OFWs and other people who are not able to do the tradition because of illness.

My virtual Visita Iglesia will feature seven churches. One church for each day of the Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday.

I will feature the follwing churches for this year:

Palm Sunday: Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City
Holy Monday: Saint Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City, Laguna
Holy Tuesday: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, the Queen of Caracol Church in Rosario, Cavite
Maundy Thursday: Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord in SM Megamall
Good Friday: National Shrine of Our Mother of Perepetual Help in Pasay City
Black Saturday: Saint Peter’s Church in Quezon City

So starting tomorrow, let us journey on toward the Sacrifice on the Cross and the our Lord’s victory against sin and death. May you find the Lenten Season as the season of your conversion. God bless you.

Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 8): Calle Colon, the Oldest Street in the Philippines

Calle Colon Sign in Cebu City


Do you know that the oldest street in the Philippines is located in Cebu? 

I discovered this trivia during one of my walks around Cebu City. The key to my discovery is this obelisk in the middle of the road:

The Obelisk Marker of Calle Colon in Cebu City

This obelisk marks the north end of Calle Colon or Colon Street.

A marker, placed by the National Historical Institute, informed me of the historical significance of this street that I always passed along during my every visit to Cebu City.

NHI marker of Calle Colon in Cebu City

Cebu City was the first capital of the Philippines and thus it was not surprising that the oldest street can be found here.

Calle Colon was named after the discoverer of America, Christopher Columbus (or Cristobal Colon in Spanish). I don't know why the street was named after that guy since he didn't visit the Philippines. Maybe the Spaniards are just proud of this world-famous Italian navigator who sailed under the Spanish flag.

A short distance from the obelisk is the Pari-an Fire Station

Pari-an Fire Station in Cebu City in 1954

I thought that Pari-an means “a place inhabited by priests” since the word pari is priest in both the Tagalog and Cebuano languages. I was wrong.

Pari-an is the Mexican (or Spanish) word for marketplace and its presence in Cebu is points to racial segregation policy initiated during Spanish Colonial Era.

The Spaniards divided Cebu City into three sections. The first section; which is the area around Fort San Pedro and Cebu Cathedral;  is the ciudad and is occupied by the Spaniards. The area west of the ciudad was named as Poblacion de Naturales and was occupied by the Cebuano natives. This poblacion is now the barrio of San Nicolas. The area north of the ciudad, on the other bank of the Estero de Parian was reserved for the Chinese immigrants.

1873 Escondrillas Plan of Cebu City by
Old plan of Cebu City dated 1873 (Source: Wikipedia)

The racial segregation policy is not unique in Cebu because it was applied by the Spaniards in other parts of country. Manila, for instance, is also divided into three sections. The Spaniards occupied the walled city of Intramuros, while the natives were given Tondo, and the Chinese were placed in Binondo.

Pari-an was so called because most of the Chinese immigrants in Cebu during the Spanish Era were merchants. Calle Colon was the first commercial district of Cebu City because the shops set up by the Chinese.

Undated photo of the old Calle Colon in Cebu City
Undated photo of Calle Colon (source: MyCebu)

The old Calle Colon is long gone. The old houses were now replaced by malls, shops, and other big buildings.

Novo Mall along Calle Colon in Cebu City

The street for kalesas and caritelas of the past is now smoky due to the great volume of multicab and cars passing through.

Polluted Calle Colon in Cebu City

The once proud commercial district of Cebu is now considered the den of thieves and snatchers.

Gaisano Capital South Mall in Calle Colon in Cebu City

It seems like the fate of Calle Colon is very similar to that of Calle Escolta. Both streets were the first commercial districts of Cebu and Manila. Both street were abandoned as big businesses moved to other areas. Now, both streets became infamous and largely forgotten by the public.

Multicab (a.k.a. Dyip to the Tagalogs) is the king of the road in Calle Colon, Cebu City

My discovery of Calle Colon brought both delight and sadness. I was delighted because I learned new things about the Queen City of the South. I was sad because I also learned of the loss heritage of that all Filipinos could have been proud of.

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A Foretaste of Cebu in Mactan Cebu International Airport

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Some information in this blog were referred from the following sources:

Colon Street, Cebu City Flooding by Atty. Abella
Source of the Word Pari-an from Google Books
Colon, oldest street in the country in MyCebu.PH
Online article from the National Library of the Philippines
Estero de Parian by Louella Eslao-Alix in Cebu Daily News

More interesting reads about Calle Colon:

CEBU, PHILIPPINES: The Old Families of Colon Street by Cecilia Brainard
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