03/16/16

Parañaque Cathedral: The Catholic Bastion of South Metro Manila

Whenever one talks about the Catholic heritage of Metropolitan Manila, the focus is always on the Catholic Churches of the City of Manila. That should not come as a surprise as the city itself has been the center of activity for centuries while those outside Manila were then just considered as rural outbacks. In that context, while it is nice to see these towns progress to the cities they are now, it is unfortunate that in the process, some of that old town flavor got lost in the midst of urbanization and, sadly mostly unchecked, planning.

Nevertheless, some vestiges of heritage remain throughout the metropolis beyond the City of Manila itself, especially when it comes to churches. Some are well-known already like the St. Joseph Church in Las Piñas which is home to the famous Bamboo Organ. Then there is this church which we will talk about today, the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Barangay La Huerta in Parañaque.

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05/26/15

The Saga of Malate Church

Malate district in Manila has gone through so much in the last 100 years or so. From being once part of the city’s so-called “Millionaire’s Row” in the prewar years to the district’s destruction as well as much of the city during World War II into becoming a beloved evening hangout that’s had its share of ups and downs.

Regardless of those transformations and the changing fate of this fabled district, there is one constant that has managed to weather them, becoming a beloved Malate landmark in its own right. Today, the Urban Roamer checks out this storied structure that is the Our Lady of Remedies Church, also known as the Malate Catholic Church.

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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