Wednesday, February 6, 2019

San Roque de Caloocan - The Patron of Caloocan City

San Roque de Caloocan
The modern and progressive city of Caloocan is very fortunate for the city was dedicated to two powerful intercessors, the Nuestra Señora de la Nieva de Caloocan and the famed Patron against sickness and pestilence - St. Roch of Montpelier.

Of all the images of San Roque in the country, arguably that of San Roque in Kalookan Cathedral is one of the most recognizable in the country in modern times. Due to the popularity and importance of San Roque to the people of Caloocan, the Holy See chose his humble abode to be the Seat of the Diocese of Kalookan where he became the watchful patron of the diocese.

The image 

The image of San Roque is that of a middle aged man from the medieval period wearing his pilgrim attire. The image of San Roque de Caloocan is that of a serene bearded face that capture the attention of its beholder. Although the image was done in de-tallado style of carving, he is presented to the faithful vested in fine clothing given by his devotees over the years. 

San Roque de Caloocan
The life of St. Roch of Montpelier

St. Roch of Montpelier was born in Montpelier, France to a wealthy parents where his father is the governor of the place. He was orphaned when he was twenty and he went on pilgrimage to Rome and devoted himself to caring for the victims of a plague that was ravaging Italy. He became a victim himself at Piacenza but recovered and was reputed to have performed many miracles of healing. On his return to Montpellier, he was imprisoned for five years for he was suspected as a spy in pilgrim's disguise by his uncle, who was governor. (His uncle failed to recognize him, and Roch failed to identify himself.) Roch died in prison and was only then identified as the former governor's son by a birthmark in the form of a cross on his chest. When miracles were reported at his intercession after his death, a popular cult developed and he is invoked against pestilence and plague. He is also the patron of invalids. His feast day is August 16.

San Roque de Caloocan
The origin of the image and its home

Much like its co-patron, the Nuestra Señora de la Nieva, the origins of the image was said began in 1765 where it is said that Rev. Fr. Manuel Vanquero, Parochial Vicar of Santo Niño de Tondo Parish, gave the community two statues, that of San Roque and the Nuestra Señora de la Nieva from Talavera, Spain. During that year, the chapel was being built to nourish the faith in Libis Aromahan (now part of Caloocan). 

On April 8, 1815, the Archbishop of Manila, Most Rev. Antonio de Zulaivar, canonically erected the San Roque Parish, separating them from the Santo Niño de Tondo Parish. Rev. Fr. Manuel de San Miguel was their first parish priest, as the building was transfered from Libis Aromahan to Paltok, the church’s present site. In 1819, Rev. Fr. Vicente de San Francisco Xavier paved the way for the construction of a bigger church, which was completed in the administration of Rev. Fr. Cipriano Garcia.

San Roque Cathedral, Caloocan City
San Roque Parish also played an essential piece during the Revolution against the Spanish regime, the American rule, and later on, the Japanese occupation. The parish’s church yard served as a meeting place for members of the Katipunan who marched to Balintawak and launched their attacks against the guardia civil. In 1899, General Antonio Luna sought refuge inside the church at the peak of the Filipino–American Revolution. It was also used in the Second World War when Col. Frederick Funston Regiment made the church in kabalyerisa.

After the war that harmed several communities, Rev. Fr. Victor Raymundo initiated the reconstruction of the church, with the Confradia de Sagrado de Corazon de Jesus leading the way. After Fr. Raymundo’s term, several parish priests, namely Rev. Frs. Eusebio Carreon, Pedro Abad, and Pedro Vicedo contributed to the task of revitalizing the old building. In 1977, Rev. Msgr. Augurio Juta planned for a bigger church, it was only in the mid–1980, in the tenure of Rev. Msgr. Boanerges Lechuga’s term that the renovations and restorations were completed.

Dalaw Patron of San Roque de Caloocan
Amidst all the pain that has stormed the San Roque Parish, God had a special way of rewarding His church. During the year 2000, a year of joy for the whole Roman Catholic Church, the parish was declared as one of the Jubilee Churches in the Archdiocese of Manila by the Archbishop, His Eminence Jaime L. Cardinal Sin. On June 28, 2003, three years after, the greatest gift yet was given as His Holiness Pope John Paul II, through his Apostolic Letter “Quoniam Quaelibet”, created the Diocese of Kalookan, consisting of Kalookan City (South), Malabon City, and Navotas City, which elevated San Roque Parish into “the level and dignity of a cathedral.”

The Devotion

The devotion to San Roque of Caloocan flourished over the past centuries up to the present. Aside from the annual fiesta of San Roque every August 16, the "Dalaw Patron" tradition began during the Bicentennial Jubilee of San Roque Cathedral. The image that was used for this tradition is a smaller image of San Roque de Caloocan found at the back of the cathedral was brought to the different chapels in the area within the territories of Caloocan Cathedral that would culminate with a Traslacion from Libis Espina, the original site of the visita to it's present site.

It is only fit for a community beset with political, social, economical and environmental woes to have San Roque as a patron. In perilous times, we can always ask him to pray for us to the God.


Pirlo, Paolo, SHMI (2001), A Year with the Saints, Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate, Isabella de Rosis St., Multinational Village, Paranaque City.
San Roque: Brief History, Retrieved from on August 1, 2018.

Special thanks to Mr. Jose Miguel "Mico" Pacheco for documents and photos of San Roque de Caloocan that were utilized for this blogpost. +AM+DG+

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Our Lady of China of Iloio - The Mother of Iloilo's Filipino Chinese Community

Our Lady of China of Iloilo City
In the progressive Iloilo City in Iloilo, with a long historical link with the Chinese community since the early years in our history, it wasn't until the 1950's that Virgin of their homeland would arrive, under difficult circumstances, that was proven to be providential to the Filipino-Chinese community of the Hiligaynon City. Under the mantle of Our Lady of China of Iloilo, she guided her children, regardless of race, for she is the Mother of all nations, as His Son is the King of All Nations.

The image

Though her robes be pagan, she belongs to every age, to all people and to every race. The image of Our Lady of China in Iloilo is a standing figure of Madonna and Child wearing the Oriental style of clothing from the Imperial Chinese Court, the yellow traditional dress with colorful trimmings, the diagnostic hairdo of a Chinese noblewoman, the bald Child Jesus, and the sinitic eyes of both Mother and Child which gives with a mixture of a strong willed yet motherly impression.

The Original image of Our Lady of Dong Lu,
Empress of China
The origins of the devotion

The devotion to Our Lady of China began during the dark times of Chinese history. In April 1900, When the Boxer Rebellion broke out, nearly 10,000 hostile soldiers attacked the small impoverished mission village of Dong Lu (near Peiping), home of 700 - 1,000 Christians and founded by Vicentian fathers. The Virgin Mary appeared as a beautiful lady in white in the sky surrounded by light. The soldiers, in senseless rage, started to shoot into the sky. Then suddenly they fled, frightened, and never came back again when a fiery horsemen - perhaps St. Michael - chased the attackers out of the village. The Chinese pastor of the village, Father Wu, had prayed for Our Lady's intercession.

In thanksgiving for Our Lady’s protection, a beautiful church was built in her honor. It was meant to serve as a constant reminder to the people of Mary’s loving and motherly protection.

The modern painting of Our Lady of China
The priest secured a painting of the Dowager Empress Ci Xi, the long time ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, dressed in imperial robes.He commissioned an artist to use it as the background for the image of Our Lady holding the Christ Child. The picture was hung above the altar in the Church of Dong Lu, which eventually became a famous place of pilgrimage starting in 1924. That same year, Shanghai Synod of Bishops in China, the first national conference of bishops in the country, chose this image to be denoted as "Our Lady of China" or "Our Lady Queen of China". People began coming to the shrine. Following the event, Archbishop Celso Costantini, Apostolic Delegate in China, along with all the bishops of China, declared the Chinese people dedicated to Our Lady of China, using the official image.

The Church has not issued an official judgment of the apparition at Dong Lu. Pope Pius XI's establishment of the church as an official Marian Shrine constitutes implicit approval. In 1941, Pope Pius XII designated the feast day as an official feast of the Catholic liturgical calendar. Following the Second Vatican Council, the Chinese Bishops conference, upon approval from the Holy See, placed the feast day on the vigil (day preceding) of Mothers Day (the second Sunday of May).

Santa Maria Parish, Iloilo City
The devotion in Iloilo

The Santa Maria, Our Lady of China Parish in Iloilo City is by far, the only Chinese Catholic Parish in Iloilo City. It started way back in 1953 when the Chinese Jesuits first arrived from mainland China. The Chinese Jesuits were expelled from China due to the Communist takeover. Since their arrival, they began their apostolic work among the local ethnic Chinese community as a continuation of their missionary work in Mainland China. With the relentless support of the Iloilo Filipino and Chinese communities, the Santa Maria Parish under the patronage of Our Lady of China was established by Rev. Fr. Guerrino Marsecano, SJ, an Italian Jesuit Missionary.

As the parish grew, the Jesuits began accepting students for kindergarten until it grew to become Ateneo de Iloilo - Santa Maria Catholic School. While the school was relocated to its current site, the parish has remained and became a center of pilgrimages in Iloilo.

The devotion
Our Lady of China of Iloilo City

The devotion to Our Lady of China in Iloilo grew over the past decades since it's  establishment. The Jesuits continued to administer the needs of the Chinese and Filipino-Chinese community in the city. Masses in the Parish is said in English and Chinese pin yin. The feast of the Virgin of China is celebrated every Second Sunday of September.

As we conclude this blogpost dedicated to the Virgin of China, here a prayer dedicated to her for the conversion of the Chinese people to the true faith.

Hail, Holy Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ,Mother of all nations and all people.You are the special heavenly Mother of the Chinese people. Teach us your way of total obedience to God's will.Help us to live our lives true to our faith. Fill our hearts with burning love for God and each other.Stir up in our youth an unconditional giving of self to the service of God.

We call on your powerful intercession for peace, reconciliation and unity among believersand the conversion of the unbelievers in China and throughout the world, for God's mercy is our only hope.

Our Lady of China, Mother of Jesus, hear our petitions and pray for us. Amen.


Our Lady of China, Retrieved from http:/ / on February 4, 2019.
Santa Maria Parish, Retrieved from on February 4, 2019.

Galera, Carl of Pitik Ilongo
Santa Maria Parish Facebook page

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Ever Royal Santo Niño de Malolos

Santo Niño de Malolos

In the ever historic city of Malolos, the capital of Bulacan province, is known for it's famed Barasoain Church - an important landmark of the First Philippine Republic and other known devotions of the province from Santisima Trinidad of Barihan, Sta. Maria Salome of Caniogan, La Inmaculada Concepcion of Malolos Cathedral, La Niña Maria of Santa Isabel among others.

During the month of January, Malolos became an important center of pilgrimages because of the strong devotion to arguably to the most important Patron of the city, the ever Royal Santo Niño de Malolos. The poised image of Santo Niño de Malolos gained much popularity over the years and became part of the pious life of the people within and outside Malolos, Bulacan.

Santo Niño de Malolos
The image

The image of Santo Niño de Malolos is the image of the Child  Jesus presented as a young royal patterned after King Louis XV of France. The face of the Child is that of innocence yet royalty with dreamy eyes, a smile, rosy cheeks which would later gain the reputation as one of the most handsome image of the Santo Niño in the Philippines. Standing on a base, the Child wears a royal shirt, shorts, velvet cape, bib, golden boots, a crown and the diagnostic scepter and globus cruciger - symbols of power and dominion.

The Origins

The origins of the image of the Santo Niño de Malolos is somehow linked to the rich history of Malolos, Bulacan for the image is said to be commissioned by Francisca Tantoco, who along with the ladies from the Tiongsons, Uitangcoys and the rest of the 20 women who pushed for the foundation of an evening school for women who wished to be taught of Spanish language in 1888, despite of the disapproval of the Spanish friars of the area. This is where Dr. Jose Rizal wrote his famous letter for the brave women of Malolos where he praised the bravery of these women who sought for quality education for women that was elusive during that time.

Santo Niño de Malolos circa 1913
Francisca had a special devotion to the Santo Niño that she realized that it would be better if there would be a bigger image of the Sto. Niño aside from the small ivory image of the Sto. Niño venerated at the chapel. Thus, she commissioned the processional image which is now known as the Santo Niño de Malolos.

The task as the recamadero of the Santo Niño was transferred to Felisa Tantoco and then later to Dr. Angel Tantoco Sr. During the time of Dr. Tantoco, his son, Angel ‘Ulay’ Tantoco Jr. and it's heirs assumed this responsibility as of this writing. A chapel dedicated to the Santo Niño de Malolos was established known as the "Templete de Santo Niño de Malolos" and became one of the most frequently visited chapels in Malolos City.

Due to the popularity of the devotion to Santo Niño de Malolos, the name of his dominion Barrio Kamistisuhan (the place was the enclave of the mestizos de Sangley merchants grouped after the British invasion of 1762) changed it named to "Barrio Santo Niño".

Santo Niño de Malolos
The Festivities of old and it's present form

The festivities in honor of the Santo Niño de Malolos was already one of the most anticipated during the pre-war years yet it was halted during the ravages of the Second World War. It is said that the Santo Niño would accompany the image of Immaculate Concepcion of Malolos Cathedral on her feast day. In 1966, the fiesta of the Santo Niño de Malolos as revived through the efforts of Dr. Luis Santos and a few years later, the Santo Niño de Malolos foundation was established in 1975 which aims to further propagate the devotion to the Santo Niño. Aside from the propagation of the devotion to the Holy Child, the Sto. Nino de Malolos Foundation Inc., also organizes and runs noteworthy charity and advocacy projects for the needy.

One of the means of the foundation to propagate the devotion is the nationally renowned Santo Niño Exhibit that is held during the novena days at the Museo Diocesano at the Barasoain Church which showcases different images of the Santo Niño from different families, devotees and members of the foundation that are carefully curated and became a benchmark to all exhibits of holy images in the country.

Santo Niño de Malolos during Dapit
The festivities of the Santo Niño de Malolos begins with Panaog where the original image of Santo Niño de Malolos will come out from the Tantoco residence and a procession with bands and devotees going to the Templete to begin the novena then two days later, the Santo Niño Exhibit will open at the Barasoain Museum. On the last day of the novena, the Dapit procession will take place where the some of the participating images from the exhibit will go on procession that will come from different residences and selected locations until it reached the Chapel, this time with the Santo Niño de Malolos decked in his carozza then the last day novena Mass follows and the Solemn Traslacion to Malolos Cathedral will take place in preparation for his grand feast day.

The fiesta of the Santo Niño, held every fourth or last Sunday of January, is one of the most celebrated and much awaited in the city of Malolos for the two processions took place on that day, the Morning procession with children as the main participants and the Grand Procession with almost 250 carozzas accompanying the image of the Santo Niño through the historic streets of Malolos.

Santo Niño de Malolos on his Fiesta procession
The devotion

The devotion to the Santo Niño de Malolos made a significant impact in an already established culture of Malolos, Bulacan and the faithful in the country that it inspired some devotees outside of Malolos to have their own group that was patterned to that of Malolos like the Congregacion del Santisimo Nombre del Niño Jesus of Manila, the Congregacion del Santo Niño de Santa Maria Bulacan among others. Devotees, among them those who attribute to him numerous miraculous cures, women unable to wear children, actors, businessmen, fashion designers, and other devotees from different social classes, would continue to make pilgrimage to Malolos, most especially during the January festivities.

The Santo Niño de Malolos and it's enduring devotion is became the symbol of Malolos City because of it's colorful history, curated by time and its ever evolving culture and stands proudly to face the world with God guiding the people to it's brighter future.


Castro, Alex, The Santo Niño de Malolos, ca. 1979, Retrieved from on January 19, 2019.
Catanghal, Arthur, The King of Pariancillo, Retrieved from on January 23, 2019.
Santo Niño de Malolos Fiesta 2016 (Souvenir program), Santo Niño de Malolos Foundation Inc, Malolos, Bulacan, 2016.
Santo Niño de Malolos Fiesta 2017 (Souvenir program), Santo Niño de Malolos Foundation Inc, Malolos, Bulacan, 2017.


Mr. Christopher Cunanan


Dr. Angel "Ulay" V. Tantoco Jr. - Chairman, Santo Niño de Malolos Foundation Inc.

Special thanks to. Dr. Angel "Ulay" V. Tantoco Jr., Chairman, Santo Niño de Malolos Foundation Inc. +AM+DG+

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Meek Santo Niño de Marikina

Santo Niño de Marikina
In the shoe capital of the country, Marikina City, aside from the devotion to Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Marikina that continued to flourished in the city, another local devotion that is kept alive in the city - the devotion to Santo Niño de Marikina. The miraculous image of Santo Niño de Marikina that is currently enshrined in his own chapel in J.P. Rizal, Marikina City is one of the most treasured in the city that became one of the silent witness to the history of the city.

The image

The ivory image of Santo Niño de Marikina is presented as a regal prince ready to take his dominion. The image has a archaic face that adds a certain charm to it's  beholder. He sports long curly hair with the diagnostic Tres Potencias,  vested with an array of vestments given by his devotees for years and holds a globus cruciger and a scepter - the standard symbols of rulership.

Santo Niño de Marikina
The origins

As of this writing there were no existing documents to determine the origin of this miraculous image and how the devotion to the Holy Child started in Marikina. On the other hand, a pastoral report written in 1905 that was kept in "Parroquia de Marikina" that would later be known as the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned of Marikina that gave an early mention of the existence of the Santo Nino. In this particular report, the existence of the Chapel or "Visitas" in the area were mentioned explicitly: Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion (now a Parish), Santo Niño, San Roque and San Antonio de Padua.

In connection with these records, it also noteworthy that in the parish's fiesta program in 1960, one of the "Patron de Barangay" images that joined the procession is that of the Santo Niño along with the images of San Antonio de Padua, San Roque, Santa Elena, Santo Niño de Pasion, San Isidro Labrador and Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Marikina.

Santo Niño de Marikina
According to the Mrs. Paulina “Lola Poleng” Guevarra-de Asis, one of the caretakers of the first chapel, she mentioned that  chapel was first located at the corner of J.P. Rizal and Sumulong Highway yet it was later demolished due to the fact that a new chapel was built on it's present location.

The devotion

The Feast of Santo Niño de Marikina are held twice during the month of January - first during January 1 as the Barangay fiesta and Third Sunday of January, the Liturgical feast of the Child Jesus in the Philippines. On his liturgical feast day, the image is brought out to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina for it's fiesta mass and procession. During the last day of May, the image also comes out in procession along with other patrons of different barangays under the jurisdiction of the Shrine for the Panapos procession - the closing procession of the festivies in honor of Our Lady of the Abandoned, Patroness of Marikina City.

The devotion to the Santo Niño de Marikina grew in the recent years and locals continued to flock his chapel to seek his divine guidance. In His quiet presence in the city of Marikina, he continued to guide the city as it progress over the years and never ceases to grant favors to his devotees every time someone needs His help.

Facial detail of Santo Niño de Marikina
As we conclude this blog dedicated to Santo Niño de Marikina, here is a prayer that is prayed by his devotees to seek his intercession.

Mahal naming Santo Niño de Marikina, Panginoong Hesus at aming Tagapagligtas. Ikaw ang masunuring anak ng Diyos Ama. Ikaw ang aming buhay at pag asa. Nagpapasalamat kami sa lahat ng pagpapala at walang hanggang biyaya Mo sa amin. Pinupuri Ka namin dahil Ikaw ang tunay na Diyos naming mahihina at dukha.

Mahal naming Santo Niño de Marikina, sa tulong ng Iyong ina at amin ding Inang si Maria, patuloy Mo kaming buklurin at pag kaisahin bilang isang Simbahang Katoliko dito sa Marikina. Pagpalain Mo po ang aming pamilya at iligtas Mo kami sa masama at anumang sakuna. Bilang isang deboto gawin Mo po akong tapat at banal. 

Mahal naming Santo Niño, kahabagan Mo po kami.


Parroquia de Marikina (pastoral report), Parroquia de la Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, Marikina, 1905.
Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Fiesta Souvenir Program, Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish, Marikina, 1960.


Rodel Enriquez of the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned, Marikina City

Monday, January 14, 2019

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay - The Queen of Ilocandia

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay

In the historic town of Bantay in Ilocos Sur, famous for its Tower, is one of the most frequented pilgrimage site for centuries because of the town's miraculous Patroness - Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay, or more popularly known as "Apo Caridad". Since her enthronement in Bantay, she had showered her devotees with numerous miracles that she merited the title as the "Queen of Ilocandia".

The Visage of the Queen
Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay
at present

The miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay is said to be the first image of Our Lady in Ilocandia. The image of the Virgin is that of Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion y Correa since the she wears the Augustinian Chord and her shrine is one of many Augustinian founded churches in Ilocos region.

The Virgin is represented theding the Child Jesus, the source of all consolation and charity, in one hand and in one hand and with the other hand open, as I'd to shower favors upon her devotees. The image is that of a de vestir image that is intended to be vested with a wooden bastidor body, head and hands of the Virgin and the Child Jesus made of ivory.  The Mother and Child wears a set of crowns while the Virgin wears the diagnostic Doce Estrellas and a rostrillo on her face.

What was interesting to this image that the the Virgin's head and hands were that of a Polynesian style of carving with an elongated neck and disproportionately large eyes. (It is said that the original eyes of the image is made of black diamonds). The Image also has a distinct piece of clothing which is a delantar, an apron-like piece, which is placed on her waist along with the Augustinian Correa.

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay
with its original head
The origins

According to local history, the image was said to be found inside a wooden box floating in Bantoay River in Ilocos Sur and many attempted to fetch the image but to no avail until the folks of Bantay were able to fetch the image easily. The image was later enthroned by Rev. Fray Juan Bautista de Montoya of the Augustinian Order in the Parish of St. Augustine in Bantay "with his own hands."

During the Easter Salubong, the image of Apo Caridad becomes the Virgen de Alegria that will meet the image of the Resurrected Christ and the image of the Child Jesus was kept for some time. This was the reason that why for some replicas and photographs of the Virgin, she was solitary.

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay
as a solitary image
The Virgin of Charity of Bantay celebrates two feast days, first is every January 12, to commemorate her Canonical Coronation in 1956 and every First Sunday of September known as the "Fiesta de la Correa" since she was after all an image of Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion y Correa, the Mother of the Augustinian Order. The feast of the coronation of Our Lady of Charity is one of the most awaited and equally important feast for the Catholic Ilocanos because this Lady was considered as the Mother of Ilocandia.

Apo Caridad de Bantay with the
original head that was stolen in 1973
The sacrilegious theft

An unforseen tragedy would take place years later when the original ivory head of the Virgin was stolen on November 4, 1968 and her ivory hand was later stolen on June 15, 1973. As of this writing, the stolen parts were not yet recovered yet in 1994, the Archdiocesan Museum donated an old unfinished head of the Virgin to the Church of Bantay and it was later reconstructed and presently serves as it's appropriate replacement.

The miracles

Since the enthronement of the Virgin in Bantay, numerous miracles were attributed through her intercession that would later be a key factor to name her as Our Lady of Charity or "Apo Caridad."

Apo Caridad became the "Guardian of the Fields" of Ilocos due to her constant assistance to the farmers and protection from pests that would harm the crops. It is also said that devotees would place an image or photograph of Apo Caridad in front of the fields to ask for her help and they would testify that there were no pests that are infiltrating their fields. Devotees would recount that there were amorseco burs stuck to the lower hem of the dress of the Virgin and they would speculated that Apo Caridad went out for a walk to the fields.

The ex votos that are pinned to the
Correa of the Virgin
Apo Caridad also became known as healer of the sick due to the numerous reported and duly recorded cures of her supplicants from numerous diseases up the present. Those that were cured would give numerous ex votos to the Virgin from vestments, set of crowns and accessories among others. It is also interesting to note that if we are going to look closely to the Correa of the Virgin, there were ex votos of pins of different body parts that are attached to the Correa which tells which ailment of the body that were cured bwcause of Apo Caridad's help.

Some of the known and recorded miracles of the Virgin made an impact to the history of Ilocandia. In 1660, Andres Malong, a Pangasinan chieftain, led an army of 3,000 men consisting of Calansans, Tingguans and Aetas of Zambales that invaded Ilocos and Cagayan. The following year, they sacked the town of Bantay, leaving 800 dead. The Zambals attempted to set fire to the church for three times. But fortunately, the fire would not start even if the cogon roof was very dry. This incident was well documented by Rev. Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde, SJ in his book "Historia de Filipina de la Compania de Jesus" which he vividly recounts: "They (the rebels) burned Bantay, and though they set the fire three times to the Church, it was delivered by the Nuestra Señora de la Caridad through her special protection."

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay
During the revolt of Diego Silang from 1762 - 1763, he imprisoned Bishop Bernardo Ustariz of Nueva Segovia and all the priests of the diocese were imprisoned in the Church of Bantay and threatened them with execution. Out of desperation, they sought the intercession of the Virgin of Bantay to save them and promised to compose a novena in her honor. When Silang ordered one of his men to kill the bishop, they held back and opted to consult the spirits of the jar and await the flowering of the adaan tree. On the third day of the novena in May 1763, Silang was assassinated by Miguel Vicos.

In another recorded rebellion of December 24, 1772, the rebels, in their blindness, committed many atrocious acts to the people of Bantay and the rest of Ilocandia until May 1773. However, out of reverence to Apo Caridad, they desisted from harming the ministers of God who had taken refuge in the sanctuary.

During the Second World War, three bombs fell on the roof of the church but not one of them exploded. When other bombs exploded, the walls were distructed and in the middle of it, found the statue of the Virgin, unscathed as if nothing happened.

The Canonical Coronation of Nuestra Señora
de la Caridad de Bantay in 1956
Church Recognition

The Virgen de Caridad de Bantay became the source of hope and charity to the people of Ilocos region due to numerous miracles that were attributed to her that she was Canonically Crowned on January 12, 1956 by then Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Egidio Vagnozzi and was declared as the Queen of Ilocandia.

The devotion

The devotion to Apo Caridad de Bantay continues to be stronger in the recent years with more miracles that were reported through her intercession. Despite of the ups and downs in the history of Apo Caridad of Bantay, she became an integral part of the lives of every Ilocano and she continued to nurture the region with graces from her Son, the source of all Consolation.


Aviado, Lutgarda, Madonnas of the Philippines, Manlapaz Press, Quezon City, 1972.
Barcelona, Mary Anne, Ynang Maria: a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines. Ed. Consuelo B. Estampa, P.D. Pasig City, Anvil Publishing Inc., 2004.
Our Lady of Charity (Mother of Ilocandia), Retrieved from on January 3, 2019.
Sanchez, Francisco, La Virgen Maria Venerada en sus Imagenes Filipinas, Manila: Imp. De Santos y  Bernal, 1904.


Kenneth Adrian dela Cruz of the Parish of St. Martin of Tours, Diocesan Shrine of Mahal na Krus ng Wawa, Bocaue, Bulacan.

Special thanks to Mr. Kenneth Adrian de la Cruz for the photographs of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad de Bantay that were utilized for this blog. +AM+DG+

Friday, January 11, 2019

Santo Niño de Batangan - The Black Santo Niño of Batangas

Santo Niño de Batangan
In the busy yet historic City of Batangas, there one can find the historic Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception which became one of the most visited pilgrim sites in the province. The Minor Basilica enshrines two of the most important miraculous images of the city: the ivory image of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the City and the famed black image of Santo Niño de Batangan. The dark image of the Child Jesus became one of the most well known focal points of devotion in the City and province of Batangas and enjoyed much devotion for centuries.

The image

The famed black image of Santo Niño de Batangan is that of black image of the Child Jesus which is said to be a replica of the famed image of Santo Niño de Cebu. The image is standing on a base, wears a set of metal vestments: a metal dress and a butterfly-styled cape. The image also sports a crown, holding a globus cruciger and his left hand is in gesture of blessing.

The origins
The original image of Santo Niño
de Batangan

It is said that the image arrived through a galleon voyage going to Manila from Cebu. It is believed that the image was said to be a hundred years old, was a faithful replica of the Santo Niño de Cebu. Old folks say that it was washed ashore from the wreckage of a ship that had caught fire at sea; thus, it is said, its dark color. The image was rescued and it was enthroned in the old church of Batangas City.

Another story would recount that a few months later after  a deaf-mute child who was playing along the shores when he saw the image floating in Calumpang River. It said that during this time that the replica image of Santo Niño de Cebu was said to be missing and it was washed ashore back in Batangas. Several attempts were made to retrieve the image but on each attempt, a storm or a big wave would happen and it was taken as a sign that the image wanted to stay in Batangas City.

The new image of Santo Niño
de Batangan
The tragic fire

The ancient image, which the people fondly called "Santo Niñong Sunog", lived up to it's name when a fire in the convent completely destroyed the image in 1999. A replica was soon made, painted in a blackish burnt color, to take the original's place. The ashes and the original boots of the original image was kept in the new image's base. Despite of what happened, the devotees would refer the new image as the "original" as of the incident did not happened and showed that the incident did not dampen the devotion of the people.

The devotion
The image of Santo Niño de Batangan in procession

The devotion to the dark skinned image of the Child Jesus of Batangas continued to flourish and develop as the years passed by. The Feast of the Santo Niño de Batangan is celebated every January 16, the date which is believed to be the day the image first arrived in Batangas City. The festivities will begin with a fluvial procession of the image that took place every January 7, the first day of the novena.

Pilgrims continued to flock the Basilica Minore to give homage to the Black Child Jesus of the City. Despite of the tragic incident of the original image, the devotion continued which showed the resilience of the Batangueño on everyday hardships and the devotion cemented this trait.


Nobena sa Karangalan ng Santo Niño de Batangan, Basilica Minore de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Batangas City, 2000.


Patt Laurence Delizo


Dela Cruz, Erico
Daquioag, Michael Angelo
Delizo, Patt Laurence

Special thanks to Patt Laurence Delizo +AM+DG+

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Si Maria at ang Nazareno - The Marian Meeting Rites of the Black Nazarene's Traslacion

The Patrons of Quiapo: Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno and Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian

Whenever the New Year starts, aside from the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God every January 1st, the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord and the national festivities dedicated to the Santo Niño, the Traslacion fiesta of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno of Quiapo, Manila is one of the most anticipated festivals in the early part of the year. Although it met some controversy and resistance from some bishops, priests, lay people and heavy criticism from other "Christian sects", due to it's rowdy nature, the devotion to the dark skinned image of Our Lord carrying the Cross became one of the most distinct and enduring Filipino devotion that transcended all social classes, minted though time and made a stamp to the conciousness of the Filipino nation. 

In the recent years, we have seen a gradual rise of incorporation of Marian elements of the Traslacion. Keeping in mind that the Philippines is widely recognized as the "Pueblo Amante de Maria" (The People in love with Mary) for centuries, it is not a surprise that the Marian incorporation to the famed Traslación rites would happen and it did gave a the so-called rowdy procession a "Motherly touch" given that the Filipino culture is known to be matriarchal one.
Before we delved to this study of the rise of three distinct Marian meeting rites that were incorporated to the Traslacion, let us have quick glimpse of the beginnings of the Black Nazarene and it's famed Traslación.

Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno
of Quiapo, Manila
The Nazareno and his Traslacion

The image of Black Nazarene became a focal point of devotion in Quiapo, Manila for centuries. The origins of the image is still unknown due to scant records available to pinpoint it's exact date of the image's arrival. It is said that the image of the Señor of Quiapo was a replica, made from Mexico carved from dark wood, of an earlier image of the Nazareno enshrined in the Old San Nicolas de Tolentino Church of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects in Intramuros, Manila. The "other Nazareno" image in Intramuros is said to be the Nazareno of the elites (the image was later destroyed during the Second World War) while the the Nazareno of Quiapo is known as the Nazareno of the Masses. The Quiapo image is said to be enshrined in San Nicolas of Intramuros and it for years, the image gained fame and a reputation to be miraculous. Due to security of the Walled City, Manila Archbishop Basilio Sancho de Santas Justa y Rufina mandated the transfer of the image from Intramuros to the Parish of St. John the Baptist in Quiapo, Manila in the late 1787 where it has rested on its altar ever since.

Every January 9, the famed Traslación of the Black Nazarene makes its way along the streets of the Quiapo district, with attendees reaching up to 12 million. In recent years, the processional route was altered due to a rise in vehicular and stampede accidents, to afford other neighborhoods off the traditional route a chance to participate, and because of structural deficiencies in bridges along the route. In 2014, Former President turned Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada declared the fiesta as a special non-working holiday in the City of Manila due to the impassibility of some thoroughfares and projected congestion in others.

As per custom, the statue of the Nazarene leaves the Minor Basilica a day or two before, either in a public fashion or clandestinely. Since 2016, the procession begins early in the morning after a Solemn Midnight Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, near where the image was supposeldy first enshrined, and ends in Quiapo early the following morning or at late night the same day, depending on how long the image is traveling. Some participants choose to wait for the image inside the Minor Basilica to greet it, while most devotees walk throughout the whole processional route.

The Mater Dolorosa of Susing Reyes family ioining the Traslacion
Mary and the Nazarene

In the traditional Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross), the fourth station and the fourth sorrow of the Blessed Virgin recounts the painful meeting of Jesus Christ and his afflicted Mother, Mary while he was trudging his way to Mount Calvary for his Crucifixion and death. This particular scene in the lives of Jesus and Mary sets the mood of the Marian rites that were incorporated in the Traslacion. It can be noted for some years, there was an image of the Mater Dolorosa of the Susing Reyes family that was imported from Spain that once accompanied the Black Nazarene during its so-called rowdy procession.

Although the Dolorosa no longer join the Traslacion, in the recent years, three different meeting rites emerged during the 2010's that somehow continued the Marian element of the Traslacion: the Sungaw of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Manila, the Pagtatagpo of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Manila and the historic Dungaw of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian. The emergence of these meeting rites led to the formation of prayer stations where the Nazareno would stop in a certain location to meet the three reknown images of the Blessed Mother in the district of Camba, Santa Cruz and Quiapo.

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
de Manila during Sungaw
The "Sungaw" of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Manila

The image of the mourning icon of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Manila is the center of devotion to the people of Camba, located between Tondo and Binondo, Manila. Though not much is known of the image due to the scant records of her origin, it is said to have been honored since 1884. Yet is believed that the image already existed even before 1884 and it is also believed that it was brought by the navigators from Manila - Acapulco Galleon Trade since the chapel was built near the port area of Pasig River and a spot near its banks, called "Postigo de Nuestra Señora de Soledad".  The Feast of the Virgin is celebrated every January 1 and the Manto Festival is held on the eve of the Feast. The image received Episcopal Coronation on July 8, 2017 officiated by the Archbishop of Manila, Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

Aerial view of the Sungaw rites at Jones Bridge
In the recent years, the devotees of the Virgin began to put out one of the replicas of the Virgin that will emerge from the crowds to meet the Senor Nazareno of Quiapo and this rite was known as "Sungaw", a combination of two Filipino words "Sulyap" and "Dungaw", a clear reference to the meeting of the Mother and Son on the Way of the Cross. The Sungaw rites became officially part of the Traslacion in the later part of 2018. The Sungaw sets the tone of setting the Marian elements of the Traslacion where this clearly showed a mother's grief seeing her Son suffering and also a painful collaboration to save the world from sin.

Nuestra Señora del Pilar de
Manila during Pagtatagpo
The "Pagtatagpo" of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Manila

The resplendent image of Nuestra Señora del Pilar of Santa Cruz, Manila is one of the most revered Marian images of Old Manila. The image of La Pilarica de Manila was brought to the Philippines by the Jesuits sometime before 1743. During that time, a confraternity dedicated to the Virgin of the Pillar already existed in the district, thus the arrival of image made the devotion official. As a patroness of the Sta. Cruz district, she was the object of prayers, mid-day Saturday Masses, Rosary prayers and novenas and many miracles were reported through her intercession for centuries. The opulence of the people of then one of the most aristocratic arrabal of Manila is strongly evident on the appearance of the Virgin. The devotees lavished the Virgin with such gifts as an act of thanksgiving to all the miracles that she wrought to the people and for the thriving of trade and commerce of that district that was once called "The Cradle of Tagalog Aristocracy". The Virgen del Pilar celebrates two Feast days, the Liturgical Feast of October 12 and the Traditional Patronal Feast that is celebrated every Third Sunday of October. The image of La Pilarica of Manila was Canonically Crowned on December 7, 2017.

The Pagtatagpo Meeting Rites in front of
Sta. Cruz 
The "Pagtatagpo" rites began in 2016 where the image of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Manila is placed on special platform where the Virgin and her devotees would wait until the procession stops over the facade of Santa Cruz Church and it's bells will toll at the same time. The Pagtatagpo rites became official part of the Traslacion in 2019. The meeting of the La Pilarica and the Nazareno cements the permanent link between two historical districts that were once known as two of the most opulent and busy districts of Manila together with Binondo and Intramuros.

Nuestra Señora del Carmen de
San Sebastian during Dungaw
The "Dungaw" of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian

The "Dungaw" rites is probably the main highlight of the three Marian rites of the Traslacion. The Image of Nuestra Senora del Carmen of San Sebastián Minor Basilica of Quiapo, Manila is the first image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Philippines. The venerable image was brought to the Philippines in 1618, by Spanish Recoletos, on their 3rd mission to the country, led by Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel. The sacred statue was a gift presented by the Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Mexico while their ship was anchored there, en route to Manila. The crew elected the Virgen del Carmen the ‘capitana’ of their ship in their voyage to the Pacific. Prior to the arrival of the Carmelites in the country, it was the Augustinian Recollects who first propagated the devotion to the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and miracles were proven to be numerous over the years that with the permission of the Carmelite Order, both the Carmelites of Ancient Observance (OCarm) and the Discalced Carmelites (OCD), a Confraternity was formed to propagate the devotion to the Virgin of Carmel and the Brown Scapular. The Queen of Quiapo was Canonically Crowned on August 18, 1991.

The Dungaw meetings rites
The origins of the "Dungaw" rites were unknown due to scant of records available, yet some of the old programs for the festivities of the Virgen del Carmen were discovered in the archives of the Augustinian Recollects stated such tradition existed. The rite, which was discontinued in the early 1900s for still-unknown reasons and revived on January 9, 2014, involves the Black Nazarene, coming from R. Hidalgo Street, being made to stop briefly at Plaza del Carmen, a square along the southwest flank of the neo-gothic Basílica Menor de San Sebastián, before proceeding towards Bilibid Viejo Street.

After the recitation of the rosary by congregation inside San Sebastián, the resident Recollect priests remove the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from her altar and place the image on a special platform at one of the Basilica's balconies.  There, it is lifted up by several priests to "see" and "meet" the Black Nazarene as devotees fall silent, with several prayers, being chanted fervently. Shortly thereafter, the priests slowly turn the Virgin's image so that it "watches" the Black Nazarene and its procession depart the vicinity of Plaza del Carmen as the Basilica’s bells are rung. The image of Our Lady is then returned to her high altar.

The "Reverse" Dungaw of the Nazareno and
Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian during
the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival
of the Virgin of Carmel of San Sebastian in 2018.
The nature of the Dungaw is quite unique for the meeting of the two of the most venerable images of Quiapo, Manila is more of a religious courtesy where it was in this rite that the King and Queen of Quiapo sees each other in a glorious manner, not the meeting of the Sorrowing Virgin and her Son as some of the faithful might think as it was already done with the "Sungaw" rites,  and leading the faithful to prayer. It can be theorized that the "Dungaw" rites might have another  clandestine connection between the two images since it is interesting to note that the original Traditional feast of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian was celebrated every January 29, nine days after the feast of St. Sebastian, the Titular Patron of the Basilica on the strength of the Papal decree granting this indult in the 1700's. It can be said that the "Dungaw" rites is also a transitional rite for it invites the faithful to celebrate the January del Carmen festivities after that of the Nazareno - both great legacies of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines.

A synthesis

What is the significance of these Marian meeting rites that were incorporated in the famed Traslación of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno of Quiapo, Manila? One may notice that in these three Marian meeting rites, there is a feeling of joy meeting Mary along the way that would eventually lead to silence to pray and reflect on the meeting of the Mother and Son. These three meeting rites of Our Lady to showed us, in a way, her maternal love to her Son and to all of us the faithful. Our Lady will be waiting for us to meet her in our own "Sungaw" whenever we are suffering a great deal and needed comfort so she can strengthen us in our own "Pagtatagpo" along our long journey in life so we can have our glorious "Dungaw" of her and her Son as an inspiration to go further until we reached our own destination, to be with her and her Son, the Nazarene.


Aviado, Lutgarda, (1972), Madonnas of the Philippines, Manlapaz Press, Quezon City.
Barcelona, Mary Anne.(2004) Ynang Maria: a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the    Philippines. Ed. Consuelo B. Estampa, P.D. Pasig City, Anvil Publishing Inc.
Cruz, Joan Carroll (1989), Prayers and Heavenly Promises; Imprimatur: Most Rev. Francis B. Schulte, TAN Books, United States of America.
Kasaysayan ng Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Manila.
Virgen de la Soledad in the Philippines, Retreived from
Rubia, Rommel, OAR, (2013) Del Carmen de San Sebastian, Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila.
Sanchez, Francisco (1904). La Virgen Maria Venerada en sus Imagenes Filipinas, Manila: Imp. De Santos y  Bernal.
Devotional materials:
Nobena sa Karangalan ng Mahal na Poong Hesus Nazareno (1980), Aklatang Lunas Publishing, Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Novena in honor of Nuestra Señora del Carmen de San Sebastian (2017), Minor Basilica of San Sebastian, Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila, Third edition.
The Devotion of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1999), The Fatima Center, 17000 State Route 30, Constable, New York, United States of America.
The Way of the Cross (2007), Congregation of the Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate, Don Bosco Press, Makati City.


Mr. Robin Joy Cantos of the Parish of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Manila, Camba, Manila.
Mr. Christopher Palabay of the Sta. Cruz Parish - Archdiocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Rev. Fr. Emil Quilatan, OAR of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects.

Photo Credits:

Daquioag, Micheal Angelo
Ibañez, Cepcep
Cantos, Robin Joy

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Santo Nino de Puncan - El Milagroso Salvador del Mundo of Nueva Ecija

Santo Niño de Puncan
In a quiet yet historic place of Brgy. Puncan, Nueva Ecija, there one can find a solace in the midst of it's evergreen fields, a pilgrim site known to Nueva Ecijanos for centuries, the Shrine of Señor Santo Niño de Puncan - El Milagroso Salvador del Mundo, the oldest known image of the Child Jesus in Nueva Ecija.

This demure looking image of the Child Jesus became known throughout the province and became a center of devotion in the province.

The image

The demure image of Santo Niño de Puncan is that of an image of Child Jesus as a Boy-King - a typical depiction of the Child Jesus in the Philippines and some parts of Europe. The Child Jesus holds a globus cruciger on his right hand, a scepter on his left while his left hand is in gesture of blessing, wears a crown and vested with numerous vestments that were given by his devotees for centuries.  The image of the Child Jesus has this charming yet demure smile that gives devotees a feeling of awe and reverence at the same time with his presence.

The origins
Santo Niño de Puncan

The story of the devotion to the Holy Child of Puncan dates back in 1668 when an old man found a wooden box floating around the creek of their barrio. When the man opened the mysterious box, he found a 1.5 ft. image of the Child Jesus and it was brought to the priest of the area and recognized it as the image of the Santo Niño.

According to history, Puncan, along with Carranglan and Pantabangan were founded by the Augustinians in 1701 and this part was known as “Alta Pampanga o Pampanga delos Montes” as part of Provincia de La Pampanga. Each location was dedicated to different patrons: San Andres Apostol for Pantabangan, San Nicolas de Tolentino for Carranglan and Puncan to “Dulcisimo Nombre de Jesus” Soon after, the three visitas became towns when these locations's administration nwas transferred to the Franciscan Order since Setyembre 1, 1759.

However, since Puncan was not as progressive as expected, it was relagated as a barrio of Carranglan up to the present.  It is also said that in 1661, Puncan was already a barrio when it was still part of Pangasinan.

The abode of the Boy-King
St. Niño de Puncan Quasi-Parish

The chapel of the Child Jesus was soon built upon the finding of the image, yet the chapel was completed in 1785. It is said that Aetas were captured by the locals of Puncan to speed up the construction of the chapel and during the process, the Aetas developed a special devotion to the Child Jesus that is still evident up to the present. Other records would show that the visita was constructed in 1801 during the time of Rev. Fr. Fr. Jose Cordero, OFM.

The shrine was one of the casualties of the Second World War and the last remains of the old edifice were destroyed during the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1990. A new shrine was constructed after the great disaster and it was soon declared as a Quasi-Parish under the Diocese of San Jose de Nueva Ecija.

Procession of Santo Niño de Puncan
The devotion

The devotion to Santo Niño de Puncan continued to flourished up to this day. Devotees from all over Nueva Ecija continued to flock his shrine to fulfill their devotions to this beloved Holy Child of the province. His Feast day was originally celebrated every January 14, yet years later, the feast is currently celebrated every Third Sunday of January - the Liturgical feast of the Santo Niño in the Philippines.

The love of the Nueva Ecijanos to the Santo Niño de Puncan was surely proven to be strong after all these years despite the difficulties that the barrio faced and just like a child, they confided to everything to the Child Jesus with confidence and he rewarded them with great graces.

Viva El Milagroso Sto. Niño, Salvador del Mundo!


Estado Geografico, Tofografico, Estadistico, Historico – Religioso de la Santa y Apostolica Provincia de San Gregorio Magno de Religiosos Menores Descalzos de la Regular y Mas Estrencha Observancia de N. S. P. S. Francisco en las Islas Filipinas, Binondo, Manila, 1863.


Martin, Erizz Kevin

Special thanks to Mr. Erizz Kevin Martin for the narrative and photos of Señor Santo Niño de Puncan of Nueva Ecija.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Mary, Mother of God of Bayanan - The Serene Mother of Bayanan, Muntinlupa City

Maria, Ina ng Diyos of Bayanan,
Muntinlupa City
In the busy yet simple Barangay of Bayanan, Muntinlupa City, known to for it's laidback yet simple residents, the faith of the barangay is evident for the people have developed for decades a special devotion to Mary, Mother of God.

In this special devotion to Mary in her greatest role as the Mother of God, she became the source of peace and tranquility of the people of Bayanan, Muntinlupa City.

The Image

The unique image of Mary, Mother of God (or Maria, Ina ng Diyos to the locals) of Bayanan is that of an image of Our Lady, very serene, sitting on a rock nursing the Child Jesus in a Filipina native attire which is one of the most unique in the country. There were two versions of this image that are venerated by the faithful of Bayanan, the original painting and it's statue version that is used for Processions.

Mary as the Mother of God
The statue version of Maria,
Ina ng Diyos of Bayanan, Muntinlupa City

The Church, ever associating the Blessed Virgin very closely with the work of redemption, has always the divine maternity of Mary in high esteem. During the 4th century, Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), contested her Greek title Theotokos, insisting that Mary was mother of the man-Jesus, not of God. In 431, the Council of Ephesus solemnly affirmed that Mary, being the Mother of Jesus, who was God, was also to be called as Mother of God and became the first of the Four Marian dogmas. After the Council, the people carried the bishops in triumph throughout the city and Pope Sixtus III, as a memorial of that event, built in Rome the spledid Basilica of Sancta Maria Maggiore.

In 1931, on the fifteenth centenary of this great Council, Pope Pius XI formally instituted this feast first on October 11 then it was later moved to January 1 after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Mary, Mother of God Parish of Bayanan,
Muntinlupa City
The origins

The special devotion of the people of Bayanan to Mary, as Mother of God began in the early part of the 1970's. During those early years, the faithful of Bayanan are looking for a permanent place of worship due to the proximity of the barangay to San Roque Parish in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. It was in 1976 that the Samahang Katoliko ng Bayanan was forced to take in charge to development and formation of the faith of the area. In August 1, 1977, the Samahan made an appointment with the late Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin to open up the plan to buy a lot for a proposed parish for the area. Cardinal Sin, upon learning the growing population of Bayanan, Muntinlupa City, he immediately agreed on the plan and the deed of land donation was executed on September 5, 1979 and the parish was formally founded on September 5, 1980.

The newly found parish was dedicated to Mary, Mother of God and the unique painting of the Virgin as the Theotokos was painted in 1983 by an artist named R. Tipagan and was enthroned on the same year of the establishment of the parish.

The devotion
Fiesta procession of Maria, Ina
ng Diyos of Muntinlupa City

The devotion to Mary, Mother of God developed since the early years of the parish and this was further enhanced through the help of Rev. Fr. Yulito Ignacio (then parish priest from 1989 to 1991). Saturday devotion to Mary, Mother of God is held regularly with a perpetual novena. Her feast day is celebrated every January 1 yet her annual procession took place on the eve of the feast day. Miracles soon were reported through the years from cures, financial stability, vocations, peace and unity of families and communities. Old folks would recall that there were times that during typhoon season, they would see a woman carrying her child roaming around the area and helping the people who were ravaged with the disaster. Then when the people would go the parish, they would see that the woman looks exactly like that of the painting.

Continually, Our Lady repeats her admiration and wonder at the mystery of the Incarnation which was effected in her and her joy for the message of salvation that she brought into the world by giving us her Son. The Church in thus causing us to venerate the Mother of our Savior, desires to arouse in our souls filial love for her who has become, in the life of grace, our own mother, by giving us the Author of life. "All of us who are united to Jesus Christ and are members of His Body were born of Mary, as a body is joined to its head. She is Mother of us all, spiritually but truly Mother of the members of Christ." (Pius XI, Encyclical Ad diem illum).


Mary Mother of God Parish: 35th Year anniversary souvenir program, Mary, Mother of God Parish, Bayanan, Muntinlupa City, 2015.
Pirlo, Paolo, SHMI, A Year with the Saints, 3rd Edition, Quality Catholic Publications, Isabella de Rosis St., Multinational Village, Parañaque City, 2001.