End of the Month Roundup - April 2014

Ishmael Ahab is back from the depths
(Source: YoYo Games)

And from the great depth of hiatus a Pinoy Blogger emerges!

There are so many things that happened to me these past months. One thing is when I tied the knot with My Beloved Wife. What followed is the period of adjustment to a married life. I’m glad to say that I’m returning, albeit slowly, to my old blogging habits.

Since April has the holiest season for Catholics, I made sure that I will not miss doing my blog tradition every Holy Week. I successfully published blog posts about 7 churches for my virtual Visita Iglesia. These are the churches that I “visited”:

1. Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Grace Park, Caloocan City

Shrine of Our Lady of Grace

2. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Chapel in Philippine Marines Barrack, Fort Bonifacio

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Marine Barracks, Taguig

3. Malate Church in Manila

Malate Church

4. Our Lady of the Airways Church in Pasay City

Our Lady of the Airways

5. Saint Dominic Savio Church in Mandaluyong City

Altar of Saint Dominic Savio Church in Mandaluyong

6. Don Bosco Church in Makati City

Don Bosco Church Altar

7. Quiapo Church in Manila

Quiapo Church Altar

The virtual Visita Iglesia is not only the activity that I did for the Holy Week. I experienced for the first time going to a church for the Siete Palabras.

I also posted about the yummy ginataang kalabasa cooked by My Beloved Wife and also our dinner at King Sisig.

Expect more posts from me in the month of May because I’m back. I’m finally back.

My Beloved Wife Cooked Ginataang Kalabasa

During my stay in Thailand, I was forced to learn cooking because no one was there to cook for me and eating Thai instant noodles for 6 months is not good. I cooked the failed tortang talong, carbonara-style spaghetti, weird afritada, and my favorite pork adobo.

Now that I’m a married man, it is My Beloved Wife who does much of the cooking. Last Sunday she cooked her own version of Ginataang Kalabasa and Sitaw. Our guide for this cookery is the recipe in Panlasang Pinoy website.

Her ingredients are:

Shrimp, already cooked by boiling and the shell removed
Pieces of chicken meat
Kalabasa (squash), diced
Sitaw (string beans), cut to bite-size
Bell pepper
Gata (coconut milk)
Tomatoes, sliced
Bagoong (shrimp paste)
Cooking oil
Ingredients of ginataang kalabasa

She started the cookery by preparing the ingredients. She squeezed out the coconut milk; diced the kalabasa; sliced the sitaw, onions and bell pepper; and cut pieces of chicken meat.

Slicing chicken meat for ginataang kalabasa

You might be wondering what I’m doing while she’s doing all the hard work. Well, I just took the photos. I left the cooking to the expert. :-)

Next is she sautéed the garlic and onion, followed by tomatoes, then the chicken meat and the bagoong. Then she placed the shrimps.

Cooking ginataang kalabasa

Then she poured the gata. The diced kalabasa was then placed when the gata started boiling. The sitaw followed the fray. The last to join the pot is the bell pepper. My Beloved Wife waited for the last two veggies to be cooked before placing salt and pepper, according to her taste.

And the result is…

Ginataang Kalabasa

…a yummy ginataang kalabasa.

And I’m not the only one who said that My Beloved Wife’s ginataang kalabasa is delicious. Her office mates, even her boss, praised her ginataang kalabasa.


My Beloved Wife said that the first squeeze of gata should be placed last (maybe after placing the kalabasa and the sitaw) to make the ginataang kalabasa more creamy. The second squeeze of gata is the one that should be placed after the sauté.

King Sisig the Second Time Around

Shopping in Divisoria is an exhausting activity. Taking the long walks, haggling with the vendors and bumping other shoppers along the way always drain our energy. That’s why after one of our Divisoria shopping spree, My Beloved Wife pulled me to a restaurant where she previously had a good-tasting sisig.

That restaurant is King Sisig in Isetann Recto.

King Sisig in Isetann Recto

We can’t recall the sisig meal that she had eaten earlier. So, we just ordered Pork Sizzling Sisig with unlimited rice and sunny-side up egg.

Pork sizzling sisig of King Sisig

My Beloved Wife ordered the Seafood Sisig Rice.

Seafood sisig rice of King Sisig

I had no qualms with the sisig that we ordered. The Pork Sizzling Sisig, at 99 pesos, is reasonably priced because it is the normal price for meals with unlimited rice. The Seafood Sisig Rice is priced at 59 pesos.

Anghang meter of King Sisig
(Source: King Sisig website)

King Sisig is challenging their customers because they have their so-called anghang meter. We enjoy eating sisig if it has a pinch of spiciness. I think that our sisig  are just at the medium to hot level. We’re not up to the challenge of eating the super hot sisig.

Kiwi greent tea of http://kingsisig.com/

For our drinks, we ordered Incredible Hulk’s blood the Kiwi Green Tea.

Lumpia of King Sisig

The lumpia that came with our King Sisig meal is the weakest link because My Beloved Wife like it. She said that it tasted stale.

Sisig is one of My Beloved Wife’s favourite dish. With My Beloved Wife craving for King Sisig’s sisig, I can say that this restaurant is good.

My rating for King Sisig is: 3.1 out of 5

Food Quality (50%) – Food tastes OK – 3 out of 5
Ambience (10%) – Acceptable for fast food restaurant but some improvements will make the place look better. The central lighting made of recycled jars takes the cake – 4 out of 5
Customer Service (20%) – King Sisig Crew are polite and they immediately respond to my requests of unli rice – 3 out of 5
Waiting Time (20%) -  We didn’t get bored waiting for our food – 3 out of 5


Note: Ratings here are very subjective and only applicable to our experiences mentioned in this blog post. Ratings for King Sisig – Recto Isetann Branch may change in the future blog posts.

Semana Santa Experience: Siete Palabras

We didn’t had an exciting “vacation” last Holy Week. We didn’t spend it at the beach or in the province. My Beloved Wife and I spent our holidays in the house and, in Good Friday, in the church.

It is the usual practice of My Beloved Wife, when she was still in the province, to go the church with her parents on Good Friday to hear the Siete Palabras (seven last words) of our Lord before he died on the cross. As for me, it was my first time to go to a church during Good Friday.

We went to Santa Cruz Church but we have to pass through a big crowd of Black Nazarene devotees before we got there.

Devotees of the Black Nazarene at Quiapo Church

Friday is the so-called Quiapo Day. Being a Good Friday made it special. That’s why many devotees flocked to Quiapo Church and made our walk more difficult. Well, it was another penance for us.

Our goal, aside from going to the Siete Palabras, is to avail of the Sacrament of Confession. I was glad that the priests of Santa Cruz Church value the importance of Confession. They had confessions every day of the Holy Week. Other parishes allotted only one day, which fell on a work day, for Kumpisalang Bayan or Mass Confession.

Siete Palabras in Santa Cruz Church

I especially like itwhen it is the priest who speaks during the Siete Palabras because I learn a lot of Church doctrines and even history. Lay people were also allowed to speak but theirs are more emotional and sharing of their personal experiences.

The Siete Palabras lasted for 3 hours, from 12 noon to the hour of death of our Lord which is 3 in the afternoon. We haven’t eaten breakfast and lunch as our penance for that day. And yes, we’re so hungry when 3 PM came.

Image of the crucified Christ

My Beloved Wife told me that we still have to wait for the Pahalik or the kissing of the image of the crucified Christ. She said they do this usually do this in their province every Good Friday. Again, this is the first time for me to do the Pahalik.


We also joined the last part of Siete Palabras of Santa Cruz Church, which is the prusisyon (procession) of the Santo Entierro. Filipinos traditionally do this procession every Good Friday wherein the images of the dead body of Jesus Christ and other saints connected to the passion and death of our Lord are processed on the streets.


We only have two images for the prusisyon, which are the Santo Entierro and the Mater Dolorosa. The priests were in their white garb and it looked good on them. The problem, however, is that we merely walked. It was not even orderly. There were some people praying the Holy Rosary but most who joined the prusisyon merely walked and talked like it was not a holy activity.

The Siete Palabras, the pahalik and the prusisyon are three traditional activities that My Beloved Wife and I experienced last Good Friday. We can say that it was a day well spent even though we got tired and hungry.

My only wish though is that Santa Cruz Parish makes these events more holy. One thing that they can do is to make the prusisyon an event for prayers and penance. Another thing is that they use Siete Palabras as a means to teach the people of the Catholic Faith. Let the knowledgeable priests talk more and reduce emotionally driven talks and shallow homilies.


The Resurrection by Sebastiano Ricci

Rejoice brethren for the Lord had risen,
Death and Devil were defeated,
The promised salvation finally given.

Play the harp and ring the bell,
Throw away that mourning sack,
Holy souls were finally saved from hell.

The lamb is here,
The king is here,
Our God is finally here.


The Resurrection by Sebastiano Ricci.

The image was obtained from Wikimedia.

Visita Iglesia: Quiapo Church

Yesterday, My Beloved Wife and I went to Santa Cruz Church for the Siete Palabras. I was appalled on our way to the church because of the crowd blocking the every path to our destination.

Black Nazarene Devotees at Quiapo Church

It was like mini-Fiesta of the Black Nazarene. Devotees walked barefoot and many of them brought their replicas of the Black Nazarene.

Young devotees of the Black Nazarene

I suddenly remembered that it was FRIDAY, which meant it was Quiapo Day. It was also Good Friday, making it a more special day for the Black Nazarene devotees.

Quiapo Church, officially known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, is one of the popular churches in the Philippines and the most popular church in Manila. Millions of people from different parts of the world go to Quiapo Church to join the Translacion every 9th day of January.

Quiapo Church

Quiapo Church is a memorable place for me. This is where I brought Foong, a Malaysian friend and fellow blogger, to eat the much dreaded balut. This is where I received kumpil or the Sacrament of Confirmation. I see Quiapo Church, almost every day, that’s why it became a part of my life.

The district of Quiapo was established in 1586 by the Governor General Santiago de Vera. The first structure of Quiapo Church, built by Franciscan missionaries, was made of bamboo and nipa and was destroyed by fire in 1639. It was replaced by a stronger structure that was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1863.

The next structure of Quiapo Church was completed in 1899 through the efforts of Reverends Manuel Roxas and Eusebio de Leon. Sadly, Quiapo Church was again destroyed by fire in 1929.

Images of saints at the side of Quiapo Church

The current structure of Quiapo Church was planned by the National Artist, Juan Nakpil. The church is colored cream white. Two belfry flank the main structure of the church. Each side of the church has statues of saints, my favorite of whom is the one holding a cross.

Images of saints at the side of Quiapo Church

Many people go to Quiapo Church just to see and touch the image of the Black Nazarene. Some patiently wait the long queue for the pahalik, or kissing the image. Some visitors of Quiapo Church are just contented in touching the replica of the Black Nazarene in front of the church.

Devotees touching the replica of the Black Nazarene

Many devotees testify that our God answered their prayers after theur prayed to the Black Nazarene. Those who are ill were healed. Those who had problems with their family, finances and faith were also solved. In fact, many of the Black Nazarene devotees are people who are giving thanks to our God because of the blessings that He gave to them. 

Interior of Quiapo Church

The church’s interior is beautiful. Its ceiling and walls are not fully decorated with images and symbols. These parts of the church were simple and almost bare. What’s packed with decorations is the altar, the center of which is the image of the Black Nazarene.

Altar of Quiapo Church

The image of the Black Nazarene came from Mexico, through the Galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco. It was alleged that the image became black because of the fire on the galleon that burned the image.

Image of the Black Nazarene at the altar of Quiapo Church

Unknown to many, the image of the Black Nazarene at the altar of Quiapo Church is not wholly original. It is a combination of original head and replica body sculpted by Gener Manlaqui. The original body and replica head is the one that travels during the Translacion.

Dome of Quiapo Church

I always look up at the dome every time I visit Quiapo Church. My favourite part are the sculpted images of the four symbols of the four evangelists; namely; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Symbols of Saint John and Saint Matthew

I like the design of Quiapo Church’s tabernacle. The image of lamb on the top of it perfectly signifies Christ who is the lamb sacrificed for the salvation of all. Unfortunately, the tabernacle was placed at the side.

Tabernacle of Quiapo Church

I have plenty of memories in this church and I know that more memories will be added. I do wish to join the next Translacion so I can experience what the devotees experience during that day. I do hope that my next blog post will be about that holy event.

Quiapo Church is the last church to be featured for this year’s virtual Visita Iglesia. This signals the end of our waiting because tomorrow we will commemorate the victory of our Lord against death. Jesus is ALIVE. Hallelujah!


Some the information that I posted here were obtained from the following:

1. Phiippine Historical Committee marker at Quiapo Church
2. Quiapo Church and Black Nazarene articles in Wikipedia.
3. History of Quiapo Church article in Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene website.


Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

Visita Iglesia: Don Bosco Church

About two years ago, before I went to Thailand, I posted about my last first Friday in the Philippines. I spent that Friday by going to a Holy Mass with My Beloved Wife. The church in the post is the Don Bosco Church in Makati City.

Don Bosco Church in Makati City

Yesterday, I talked about a parish church dedicated to a student of Saint John Bosco, or more popularly known as Don Bosco. The church for the 6th day of the virtual Visita Iglesia was dedicated to the so called Teacher of the Youth.

Statues of Don Bosco and Dominic Savio at Don Bosco Church
Don Bosco & Dominic Savio, teacher and student.

Don Bosco Church in Makati is one of the few modern-styled churches in the Philippines that is not terrible. Its interior echoed the native Filipino design elements. Its ceiling looks like woven nipa.

Interior of Don Bosco Church

The altar looks like palm leaves radiating from the tabernacle.

Altar of Don Bosco Church

The word inculturation is one of the big words often mouthed by modernists in the Church. They use it to justify every new thing that they want to inject in the Church like new (and often false) teachings and the irreverent ways of celebrating the Holy Mass.

But inculturation is actually not a bad thing. Inculturation can enrich the heritage of the Church and may be a way to bring to Christ people of various cultures. Don Bosco Church’s interior design style is one good fruit of inculturation.

Replica of Don Bosco's House

At the side is the replica of Don Bosco’s house in Italy. The replica shows that Don Bosco lived a simple life. His house only has wooden doors and windows. And I bet that its furnishings are not luxurious. Displayed at the replica is a piece of brick from the original house of Don Bosco.

A piece of brick from the house of Dom Bosco in Italy

Don Bosco’s apostolate focused on caring for the youth, especially those who are poor and rejected by society. I think that this is the reason why Salesians has plenty of schools because they are continuing the works of Don Bosco.

Don Bosco’s work with the youth bore much fruit. That’s why it is not surprising that at least two young persons under his care became saints.

Statues of Don Bosco, Dominic Savio and Laura Vicuña at Don Bosco Church


Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

Visita Iglesia: Saint Dominic Savio Church

Saint John Bosco, who is popularly known as Don Bosco, inspired many people during his lifetime. The creation of the Salesian Order is a testament to this fact. Don Bosco's apostolate is caring and educating the youth while leading them to our Lord.

One person who were very much influenced by Don Bosco is the little child named Dominic Savio.

Saint Dominic Savio

It's rare for me to enter churches run by the Salesians. Aside from their Don Bosco Church in Makati, the only other Salesian-run church that I entered is the Saint Dominic Savio Church in Mandaluyong City.

Saint Dominic Savio Church

It is not easy to find Saint Dominic Savio Church because it is located away from the main highway. Those who want to visit the church had to few meters and avoid the pesky tricycles. Also, this church is unlike the usual parish church because it has no wide grounds and it is not facing the road.

Interior of Saint Dominic Savio Church

Since it is a church dedicated to Saint Dominic Savio, many things inside the church are about him including the bread being sold by the parish bakery. The bread's name is Pan de Savio.

Altar of Saint Dominic Savio Church

I like the altar of this church. The tabernacle is at the center and the priest's chair is at the side. The altar features the image of both Jesus crucified and  resurrected. My Beloved Wife, on the other hand, didn't like the altar. She complained about the very big image of Saint Dominic Savio.

Altar of Saint Dominic Savio Church

Another big tarp at the altar shows the resolutions made by Saint Dominic Savio. Of the four resolutions, the one that have the big impact is this:
“Death rather than sin.”

Saint Dominic Savio made this resolution at the age of seven. This is amazing because he is already advanced in the Faith at that young age. When I was 7 years old, I only think of playing and doing childish thing. Things about God are not my concern back then.

Saint Dominic Savio Church - Ascension

Don Bosco taught this child well. The virtue of Saint Dominic Savio is worth emulating not only of the parishioners of the Saint Dominic Savio Parish Church but also by every person in the world.


More information may be read at the website of the Saint Dominic Savio Church (Mandaluyong City).


Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

Visita Iglesia: Our Lady of the Airways Church

Catholics believe that Mary is the most powerful intercessor. No other saint, or even angels, can come closer to our Lord Jesus Christ than Mary did. She didn’t just stood beside Jesus, she actually bore Jesus in her womb! This is the reason why Mary was given many titles and appointed intercessor for many concerns.

On first three days of this year’s virtual Visita Iglesia, we read Mary as intercessor for grace and good remedy and patroness of the whole Philippine Navy. Now, you'll read about the Virgin Mary as the patroness of the airways.

Our Lady of the Airways Church in Pasay City

I first saw this red-colored church 5 years ago when I had an errand with the Civil Aviation Authority. What caught my eye is the lone statue of Mary with a curly hair, which reminded me of a very close friend who has kulot (curly) hair.

Our Lady of the Airways icon in front of the church

Airmen, pilots, flight stewards and those who are working in the aviation industry desire for a safe sky. I think this is the reason why this church, which is located near Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), is dedicated to Our Lady of the Airways.

Altar of Our Lady of the Airways Church

The altar of this church is very simple. There is no other icon than that of the crucified Christ at the center and the peculiar icon of Mama Mary at the side.

Icon of Our Lady of the Airways in the church

It was the first time I saw an icon that shows Mama Mary with a propeller. She really is the Lady of the Airways. Her icon at the church's bell tower looks better:

Icon of Our Lady of the Airways at the bell tower

I like the airplane on her dress.

I think that this title of the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Airways is not popular. I found only one church, other than that in Pasay City, named for Our Lady of the Airways and that is located in Ontario, Canada.

Now that I know that Mama Mary may be called upon as Our Lady of the Airways, I will ask for her intercession whenever I fly.

I found this prayer for Our Lady of the Airways.

Our Lady of the Airways
(Source: Our Lady of the Airways Parish (Ontario))

O Mary, Our Lady of the Airways, my Heavenly Mother, I place myself under your guidance and protection upon this journey which I am about to undertake, and I ask that with your heavenly aid and upon the Wings of the Winds that this earthly journey may be brought to a safe landing.

May I also ask that upon the Wings of Prayer, and through your heavenly intercession that my last journey in this life may end at the Eternal Airport of Life Everlasting with you and your Divine Son in Heaven. Amen.


Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.