Visita Iglesia (2021): St. Michael the Archangel Chapel (Taguig City)

Of the three angels named in the Holy Bible, Michael is considered as the warrior since most of his "screen time" is him fighting some demons. In the Book of Daniel he fought the Prince of Persia, who is a demon who rule over the Persian Empire. In the Book of Revelations, Michael led the faithful angels against Satan and the fallen angels.

As the leader of the heavenly host, many Filipino soldiers consider him as their protector and patron saint. Because of this, the chapel located within the grounds of the headquarters of Philippine Army Support Group along Bayani Road in Taguig City is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.

St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

The facade of this chapel is unremarkable with a facade that is plain and forming the shape of a quonset hut, which are temporary structures popularized by the military.

Just outside of this chapel is an armored personnel carrier.

Armored personnel carrier at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

So far, this is the only church that I encountered that has a war vehicle parked in front of it.

Despite being a chapel, the interior of St. Michael the Archangel Chapel is quite spacious.

Interior of St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

I finally saw this chapel's altar. I was disappointed during my last visit because a tarp covered the crucifix.

Altar of St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

In front of the altar is the image of the chapel's patron saint.

Icon of St. Michael the Archangel in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

The church is under the care of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, which provides pastoral care to the members of the military, police, and coast guard.

Catholic military chaplains are a unique group of priests because they have military ranks and can be deployed to a battlefield. They minister to the wounded and the dying.

One striking scene in the movie Saving Private Ryan is of a military chaplain, possibly a Catholic, ministering to a dying soldier while under fire.

Catholic Military Chaplain in Saving Private Ryan
(Source: Quora)


In fact, the story of Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on the story of a military chaplain of an airborne regiment.

Military chaplains were also present during the 2017 Battle of Marawi. A military chaplain was the first priest to celebrate mass in Marawi Cathedral after it was retaken from terrorists.

First Mass in Marawi Cathedral during the 2017 Battle of Marawi
(Source: Rappler)

The Holy Mass was held while the sounds of war still rang all around Marawi. The dismembered image of a saint and the desecrated image of Christ is still around while the mass is ongoing.

Water Font in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

I attended a couple of masses in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel and the celebrant is a military chaplain and the servers are members of the military. It is an unusual sight for a civilian like me.

St. Michael crushing the Devil at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

Angels are classified into nine choirs or ranks. St. Michael is an archangel, which is the second lowest choir. Lucifer, who led the third of angels in rebellion against God, is a member of the cherubim, which is the second highest choir.

It is interesting to note that St. Michael of the low rank led the faithful angels and defeated Lucifer of the second highest rank. Revelation 12:7-9 tells us the story of that great battle:


And there was a great battle in heaven. Michael and his Angels were battling with the dragon, and the dragon was fighting, and so were his angels.

But they did not prevail, and a place for them was no longer found in heaven.

And he was thrown out, that great dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world. And he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.


This story of St. Michael tells us that being in a lowly rank or humble situation in life is not a hindrance to serve God. All we need is to be faithful to Him so that we can away the evil dragons that imperil our soul.

- - -

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

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, I was only able to visit three churches. So, for this year's virtual Visita Iglesia I can only feature 3 churches, namely:

Palm Sunday: St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City

Holy Monday: St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong


- - -

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Visita Iglesia (2021): St. Francis of Assisi Church - My Refuge in Ortigas

In the midst of high buildings and commercial complexes stands my refuge whenever I go to Ortigas for a business. That refuge is named as St. Francis Church.

St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

I discovered this church while walking from SM Megamall to San Miguel Ave. The cross fronting it is big and quite imposing.

St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

The parish of St. Francis of Assisi was founded in 19581 and was placed under the care of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, who are also known as the Franciscan Capuchins. These friars are the followers of the strict rule laid by St. Francis of Assisi. For this reason, the Capuchin's church in Ortigas is dedicated to St. Francis.

St. Francis of Assisi on Stained Glass at St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

At the entrance to the church, I was welcomed by the stained-glass image of St. Francis. On the floor are the words "Pax et Bonum", which is said to be the welcoming and parting phrase of St. Francis.

Pax et Bonum

"Pax et Bonum" is Latin for "Peace and Goodness".

The doors of the church are quite simple…

Doors of St. Francis Church

...that it betrays the fact that its interior is huge.

I never expected that this church that looks small from the outside is quite spacious inside.

The lights were off during my visit so I was not able to have a good shot of the church's altar, which depicts St. Francis standing beside the crucified Jesus.

Altar of St. Francis Church

I can only visit St. Francis Church on weekdays so I can only attend the mass with a much smaller crowd than Sunday masses. So the masses that I attended were held at the side altar.

Side Altar of St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

The side altar is also spacious and looks good despite being at the side. It's altar features the major events of Jesus' life: His birth, baptism, death, and resurrection.

My favorite place for prayers is the Adoration Chapel at the ground floor (the main church is on the second floor).

Adoration Chapel of St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

The Adoration Chapel is a better place for praying and meditation because it is much smaller and has less distraction.

Our Crucified Lord in St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

Also, the chapel has the relic of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who is the famous Capuchin saint. The adoration chapel of St. Francis Church is the best place to pray to God and then ask for the intercession of Padre Pio.

Relic of Padre Pio in St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

St. Francis Church is a good discovery because it serves as my refuge whenever I happen to be around Ortigas. It is like the Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, & The Life at SM Mall of Asia, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord in SM Megamall, and the Sto. Niño de Paz Chapel in Greenbelt.

- - -

Francis of Assisi was born in a wealthy family and lived a carefree life as a young man. Jesus touched his heart and brought him to conversion. He became an instrument for the conversion of many by shedding off his wealth and living a life of poverty.

Francis emulated Jesus Christ in rejecting material wealth. Let us then emulate St. Francis so that like him we will earn enormous spiritual wealth in Heaven.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; 

Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 

Where there is injury, pardon; 

Where there is doubt, faith; 

Where there is despair, hope; 

Where there is darkness, light; 

And where there is sadness, joy. 


O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console; 

To be understood, as to understand; 

To be loved, as to love; 

For it is in giving that we receive, 

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. 

Amen.

- - -

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

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, I was only able to visit three churches. So, for this year's virtual Visita Iglesia I can only feature 3 churches, namely:

Palm Sunday: St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City

Holy Monday: St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

- - - 

Sources:

1. Info on the founding year of St. Francis Church from FederalLand

2. St. Francis Church official Facebook page

3. Prayer of St. Francis from Our Catholic Prayer

Visita Iglesia (2021): Revisiting Cabuyao's Oldest Church - St. Polycarp Church

(Souurce: Wikipedia)

The "inutil" government did it again! Malacañang recently declared ECQ over the so-called NCR+. This means that we Catholics are barred again from celebrating the holiest week of the year. Making only the Holy Week as ECQ is obviously a revenge from the Man in the Palace, whose ego was bruised by the comment from Bishops Pabillo and Bishop David on the illogical protocols directed against the Church and her celebration of the Holy Week.

Anyways, let us go back to the topic of this post. Today is Palm Sunday and on this day I begin my Virtual Visita Iglesia. The visita iglesia or "church visit" is a Filipino tradition of visiting 7 or 14 churches every Holy Thursday. It is a form of penance, traditionally, with some penitents walking barefoot from church to another. For some, visita iglesia is treated as a tour of churches. Now in the years of lockdowns, no one is allowed to do this tradition.

For Palm Sunday, let me revisit the church in Cabuyao, Laguna that I featured in the Virtual Visita Iglesia in 2017. That Church is St. Polycarp Church of Cabuyao.

It was dusk when I attended mass in St. Polycarp Church in 2017. So the photos that I took of the church's facade and exteriors are dark. This time I visited the church in the afternoon and got a very good view of the church's exteriors.

It is disheartening that the door of Cabuyao Church is closed and no one can enter to pray. The pandemic and the government's addiction to lockdowns took many things from us. It is as if they are denying us to gaze at the real presence of our Lord.

The church's facade features Cabuyao's patron saint, St. Polycarp.

Hearing the name Polycarp reminds me of the Pokemon Magikarp. There's no connection of course. The truth is his name means "many fruits", which is a testament to the many spiritual fruits that he brought to the Church.

St. Polycarp is considered a Church Father, disciple of St. John the Apostle, and the bishop of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey). He was executed by the Romans when he refused to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.

St. Polycarp's icon, which features his execution, is on the left side of the church. St. Polycarp was executed by being burned at stake. The fire, however, did not even touch the holy man. Some accounts even say that the fire made an arch over St. Polycarp. Seeing that fire is not working, the executioners stabbed him and that's when he died.

According to the marker below the image of the burning St. Polycarp, Cabuyao Church is the first church in the Philippines that was dedicated to St. Polycarp as its patron saint.

Aside from St. Polycarp, the church's facade also features the icons of St. Vincent Ferrer and Sto. Domingo.

Near the icon of the burning St. Polycarp is the icon of St. Clare of Assisi. The image of St. Clare is more fitting to the history of Cabuyao Church since it was under the care of the Franciscans for a long time. Also, near the church is the Poor Clare Monastery.

In front of the church is the image of Mama Mary, standing on the "Tomb of the Unborn".

The "Tomb of the Unborn" is dedicated to the babies killed through abortion. It is the Church's public denunciation of abortion.

What I like about Cabuyao Church is the big tree in its front yard. It is massive and its leaves provide the much needed shade.

I bet that this tree is much older than the many inhabitants of Cabuyao.

What astounds me about this church is its old bell tower with trees or shrubs growing on it.

The scene of plants growing on the massive adobe blocks has some beauty in it. It is like a silent struggle between nature and man's creation.

Below the old bell tower is the old bell of Cabuyao Church.

The bell is broken and bears the text "REYNA DE SMO ROSARIO" and "CURA PARROCO …"

The old bell of Cabuyao was restored through the help of Parlatone Club of Cabuyao and was installed beside the bell tower on April 17, 2019.;'

The bell is an important part of Cabuyao's history. So, it was placed as the central element of the seal of Cabuyao City.

There is a legend in Cabuyao that claims that Cabuyao Church once had a golden bell. One day, the bell suddenly went missing. Most probably it was stolen. People believe that the bell was thrown in a river or in Laguna de Bay and is now lost to the people of Cabuyao.

Incidents about missing treasures and precious things are somewhat common in Cabuyao Church. One of such incidents is the diggings made by the members of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) in 1972, which was the year when Marcos declared Martial Law. The diggings in and around the church were conducted for two month and the townsfolk claimed that the PC unearthed treasures hidden by the Japs during the war. It is not surprising that Cabuyao Church caught the attention of the greedy elements of PC since this church because it was used by the Japanese as infirmary for wounded soldiers and stable for horses during the War.

Another missing treasures are its antique images and baroque accouterments that went missing during the renovation of the church. Some towns folks say that the antique images were taken to some homes for "safekeeping".

It is unfortunate that I was not able to enter Cabuyao Church this time. Well, at least this latest visit gave me a new perspective about this church.

- - -

Collect Prayer for St. Polycarp

God of all creation, who were pleased to give the Bishop Saint Polycarp a place in the company of the Martyrs, grant, through his intercession, that sharing with him in the chalice of Christ, we may rise through the Holy Spirit to eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

- - -

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

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, I was only able to visit three churches. So, for this year's virtual Visita Iglesia I can only feature 3 churches, namely:

Palm Sunday: St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City

Holy Monday: St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

- - -

Read about my previous visit to Cabuyao Church in 2017.

- - -

References:

1. St. Polycarp Parish - Cabuyao official website

2. Catholic Culture for Collect Prayer for St. Polycarp

I Blog because I Want to Tell Stories

El Fuerte de San Pedro (Fort San Pedro) in Cebu City

 A visit to El Fuerte de San Pedro reminded of the reason why I write or blog. The reason is not to earn money (although it would be good to have earnings from my blogs). The real reason why I write blog posts is to tell stories.

I revisited Fort San Pedro in Cebu and this second visit made me realize that there are more stories to be told about this historic structure.

I posted this in Facebook during my latest visit to Cebu City in February 2020. 

Read more about this Spanish fort by checking my post about my first visit to the Fort San Pedro in Cebu

Read more of visit to Cebu by checking out my blog posts about my adventures in the Province of Cebu.

My 2020 in Hindsight (Unfinished Post)

NOTE: Just like many of my tasks, this blog post is currently unfinished. I know that half of January 2021 has passed and it is too late now for a post looking back at my experiences in 2020. BUT I dedicated plenty time on this and I realize that this is a good way for me to remember all the topsy-turvy events that I underwent for the first year of the terrible decade. Hopefully, I will able to finish in the first half of this year. 

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 As the world counts down the hours, minutes, and seconds to the new year; this is the opportune time to look back to the year that was and how it upended my life.

JANUARY

Taal Volcano 2020 Eruption (Source: Wikipedia)


After the firecrackers, loud noises, and explosions when we said good bye to 2019 and welcomed 2020, Taal Volcano followed up with it's own explosion on the 12th of January. 

I still remember how puzzled I was when I saw a weird looking sky that afternoon when Taal Volcano spewed its fury. I saw half of the sky covered with dark clouds and the other half still blue with white clouds. "Will it rain?" I wondered.

My parents, who live in Metro Manila, called and asked how we were doing. They were worried because Taal Volcano erupted. That's the only time when I knew of the explosion. A few minutes later, ashes started falling and covered everything with dark grey color.

As the ash fell through the night, I considered evacuating to my parents house for the sake of the kids and my pregnant wife. Fortunately, the ash stopped falling the next morning so we decided to stay home. I then spent the whole day cleaning the ashes on the road and in our backyard. It was a back breaking task but must be done to avoid respiratory illnesses for me and my love ones. 

The Taal Volcano explosion caused panic among the people, including those who will not be affected by the ash fall. Chaos ensued in Luzon. People started hoarding face masks while resellers took advantage of the situation by overpricing their facemasks.

A few days after Taal's explosion, our lives returned to normal. I didn't know by that time that Taal Volcano's tantrum is the just the beginning of 2020's series of unfortunate events. In January, there were already signs of the dark days ahead.

My First Post about Wuhan Virus in FB


Photo of the Month

Final Hardware (Parang, Maguindanao)
Heto na ang final solution sa construction needs mo: FINAL HARDWARE. (Source: Google Earth)


Meme of the month

Vegan Cruelty against Carrots
(Source: Dad's Jokes)


Blog posts this Month:

Jollibee Party Package Price for 2020


Final Words:

King David's wicked plan to murder Uriah after raping Bathsheba is a proof that humans will do everything to cover up their crimes.


King David's wicked plan to murder Uriah after raping Bathsheba is a proof that humans will do everything to cover up their crimes.

FEBRUARY

February is the month when the Wuhan virus starts gaining public attention. I shared many stories about it in my social media pages. One post that strike the cord is the news about the whistle-blower doctor who warned China's government about the pandemic. That doctor was imprisoned and eventually he died due to the virus.


Chinese Doctor Imprisoned by China


This doctor is just the first of the many people silenced by Chinese government to prevent the spread of the news about the Wuhan virus.

February is also the month when Duterte and his minions commenced their operation to strip ABS-CBN of its franchise. 

This is also the month when I took my one and only travel for the year. I visited Cebu City once again and for the nth time before the government placed the whole Philippines in in lock downs (a.ka. community quarantine).


My Last Visit to Cebu

Photo of the month 

French woman pouring tea for a soldier busy in a firefight
French woman pouring tea for a soldier busy in a firefight. (Source: War History Online)

Meme of the month

Iyak si Bato Walang US Visa
Iyak ang kalbong Bato.

Blog post this month:

Playtime for the Kids in Rizal Park Children's Playground - this is about our visit to Rizal Park as a family to visit the children's playground in. It was a fun filled day, which reminded me of our visit to the playgrounds of Baguio's Burnham Park.


Final Words:

Prayer, prayer; pray for a while each day, and life will be easier and bearable. Learn to speak with God without words and, in this way, practice the prayer of meditation.

- Bl. Josefa Naval Girbes


MARCH



The major event this month is the beginning of the world's longest lockdown due to Wuhan virus. On March 16, the government declared the start of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for the whole Luzon Island. It is the start of calvary for many Filipinos, specially those who lose their jobs and livelihood, just because the inutil president who did not stop people from mainland China from entering the country.

(Source: News5)

My daily routine was suddenly changed as I find myself working from home. 

It was a great struggle for me balancing work and home concerns. There were times I tried waking up early just to finish my daily tasks. Unfortunately, it was a futile exercise. But still, I was thankful since I still have work. Countless of Filipinos lose their jobs and livelihood.

A great struggle for me this month was buying our supplies. There was no public transpo so I rode the bicycle while carrying a week's worth of food and supplies. The queue at grocery stores was long and I spent almost a day buying our supplies. Also, choosing grocery items was a pain because I had to message pictures to Mrs. Ahab to make sure that I'm buying the right brand. 



Hoarding was also rampant this month that grocery stores no longer had instant noodles, canned goods, and alcohol.



One of the realizations I had during this month is the importance of protecting our farmers and the local agriculture industry. As I said in a Facebook post, we need to protect the Filipino farmers because in times of pandemic and worldwide disasters the countries where we import rice will priorities their citizens before they export their food supply.



My greatest realization for this month is this:


No point arguing with a Dutertard
No point arguing with a Dutertard.


Another realization is that the so many meetings that I attended prior to the pandemic can be done via emails. Meetings in our office is actually a waste of time. Not attending meetings is one of the positive effect of this lockdown.

March is also the month when the powerful government people violated quarantine rules without any consequences. Koko Pimentel and Omar Duterte are some of the high profile violators. And this is also the month when Cynthia Villar once again revealed her matapobre self to the public. This time she insulted the nurses.

(Source: Facebook)

 


Image of the month 



Meme of the month


Pilate Demonstrate Hand Washing
(Source: Thomasian Crusader)

Blog post this month:

When in Marikina - We Buy Leather Shoes - this post narrates our visit to CPoint, which is one of Marikina's popular shoe store.

Final Words:

Let nothing trouble you,

Let nothing scare you,

All is fleeting,

God alone is unchanging.

Patience everything obtains.

Who possesses God

Nothing wants.

God alone suffices.


- St. Teresa of Avila


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