02/25/15

A Shrine to People Power

Today, the country commemorates the anniversary of what is considered to be the one of the first nonviolent revolutions that has occurred in the history of humankind. I am referring to of course to the first People Power or EDSA Revolution, the four-day uprising which culminated this day in 1986 when the authoritarian rule of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos ended and a more democratic government was inaugurated with Pres. Corazon Aquino, widow of the assassinated anti-Marcos figure Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., at the helm.

The revolution would not have been possible without the efforts spearheaded by the Catholic Church at that time, particularly the efforts of the Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin who called on the people to support then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces vice chief Fidel Ramos who had earlier withdrawn support from the Marcos government and have barricaded themselves inside Camp Crame along EDSA. Thus, while the People Power Revolution is considered a multi-sectoral effort, it was in a way apt that it would be the Catholic Church who would spearhead the effort of building a structure to commemorate this event.

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10/17/14

The Lady of Ermita

Mention the place “Ermita” and you will probably get many responses that dwell on the district’s not-so-positive reputation, thanks to it being known before as a haven of the so-called “girly bars” that has tainted this old district’s heritage, never mind the fact that these bars are no longer as prevalent as they were before the 1990s.

Nevertheless, for the old Catholic faithful in the district, they have their affections lie on one lady whose presence there predates the bars, going as far back at least to the time when the Spaniards set foot in Manila in 1571. The lady of Ermita that is the Marian image known as the Nuestra Señora de Guia. (Our Lady of Guidance)

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11/5/09

a shrine for a “forgotten” saint

On regular days, this part of the district of San Miguel in Manila stands in guarded silence, as human and steel sentinels have been assigned here to protect the district’s most important structure, as well as its most important occupant.

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Thursdays here though are a different story, as these sentinels greet a somewhat greater crowd of people from all walks of life. They are Catholics and devotees who make their way every Thursday as a sign of their devotion to their patron, St. Jude Thaddeus. Continue reading