Saturday, April 30, 2011

Manggagawang Pinoy

Our country will always be a nation of the working class. Throughout history, the fate of the Philippines depend on the masa. Well, actually, the truth is the fate depends on who could muster and mobilize the working class.

Spanish occupation. Our farmers and laborers said enough. An uprising of sticks and bolos ensued, we got our independence.

EDSA. The working class said enough, and the most important road in the country filled with people. A dictator got ousted...peacefully.

It is the working class who make a country move, a business run, a home built, make clothes to be worn. It is the working class who should be protected, loved and esteemed. It is in the working class that the survival of a family, the survival of the future generation depend on.
If the country depends on them greatly then why are they rewarded poorly? Why OFWs say kung sa Pinas ako maghahanapbuhay, magugutom ang pamilya ko." There is something wrong. It has been wrong for a long time already. Generations of leaders have gone and passed, many still say they are poor. Although others say mayaman ako sa utang.

May 1, Labor Day. In honor and celebration of the Manggagawang Pinoy, and then everyone else forgets almost immediately. A sad amnesia.

This is a tribute to the Filipino Workers, both here and abroad. Each is a warrior fighting for a living, for the survival of their families. Too bad, Labor Day of 2011 comes on a holiday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bulacan Visita Iglesia

The province of Bulacan, home of many old churches and a lot of history. This is became the destination of my Visita Iglesia for 2011. The Visita Iglesia or church visit, goes way back when the early Christians visit the 7 great basilicas in Rome for the adoration of the blessed sacrament. For convenience, usually one goes to churches within the immediate vicinities. This is my attempt to go out of convenience.

First stop, the Barasoain Church in Malolos. This church housed the first Philippine Republic and the site of the Constitutional Convention. It is a popular tourist destination, and one of the most beautiful churches in the province.

The second church on the list is the Santiago de Apostol in Paombong, Bulacan or St. James and it was along the way to Brgy. Kapitangan, Paombong. The attempt to go to the Bisita(chapel) at Kapitangan was cut short because of the narrow roads and no parking space. This is where the Hampas Dugo are and a reenactment of the crucifixion takes place. Unfortunately, these penitents all go out during Good Friday.

So after abandoning the search for the Hampas Dugo penitents, Hagonoy is next where the National Shrine for St. Anne stood. This century-old church is the only place in the Philippines where the relics of St. Anne and St. Joachim, parents of the blessed Virgin Mary, are kept.

Here is a shot of the beautiful interior of the Shrine of St. Anne. The ceiling is made of real wood and the local artisan's artworks are impressive.

After the shrine, we head back to a church we skipped. The seat of the Diocese of Malolos, The Basilica Minore of the Immaculate Concepcion. Located at the center of Malolos, this was the seat of executive power of Emilio Aguinaldo for a few years.

Sta. Isabel was the next stop. Partially hidden from the high volume roads of Malolos and not as big as Barasoain and the Basilica, this church boasts of a greener patio and courtyard.

A view of the interior of Sta. Isabel.
After Sta. Isabel, the next stop was Sta. Rita de Cascia. It wasn't a church that might get awarded with heritage benefits, but the church is known for its unique design during the Holy Week. Arriving at the church, the design is still being put up, yet in its assembly stage, it already looks good. I skipped the part of taking photos of this church, since its setup wasn't completely done yet.

The seventh stop of the Visita Iglesia ended in the oldest church in Plaridel, the Santiago de Apostol. According to records, this church had stood for 400 years.

Altar of Santiago de Apostol in Plaridel

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Visita Iglesia de Bulacan

Bulacan. Once the seat of the first republic in Asia, this province holds a lot of history in its soil. Cradle of heroes and artists, the province is proud of its glories. On its ground stands the old churches of the country. And these will be the destination for this Maundy Thursday.

First stop will be the place of the former headquarters of the Philippine Republic, the Barasoain Church. From there next will be the churches of Paombong where the Hampas Dugo penitents will hopefully be, then back to Malolos passing through the Minor Basilica towards the churches of Guiguinto.

Tomorrow, I will post about the churches we visited.

Update: Here is the link to my post of my Visita Iglesia 2011.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Penitence, The Pinoy Way

Holy Week. A time of reflection, a time of penance, a time of commemoration. Here in the Philippines, somehow it becomes quite festive. It is because the penitents take it to the streets. And of course, it attracts spectators.

Being a largely Roman Catholic country, the Philippine culture deeply integrates Catholicism. Since it is Semana Santa, penance is part of the practice. We Filipinos have lots of ways doing penitence. Some make it simple, some make it daunting.

The Hampas Dugo is a common practice of penitence mostly done in a few provinces of Luzon. No one knows when this tradition started, but still it is widespread. In Bulacan, it is common to see the flagellants on the streets during the Holy Week. 

In the past, the penitents will lay on the ground face down and they get flagged hard with a stick tied with strips of rubber from wheels just to draw blood. Nowadays, a razor makes an incision at the back. A clump of sticks are used by the penitents to whip their backs and they go around town for hours. After their ordeal, they traditionally will go to the nearest river and wash off the blood, believing their sins being washed away too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Kampilan

The longest sword native to our country, the Kampilan. Typically 85-100 centimeters long (I suck at numbers so don't ask me to convert to inches), this baby can slice a man in half with a good swing. Maguindanao and Maranao Warriors prefer this weapon, which is a good choice since it is powerful and decisive.

The blacksmiths of the Philippine's past are simple, yet effective in their jobs. The design of the Kampilan is very different among knives and swords common locally. It is a single-edged blade. From the hilt it is thick and narrow, going to the tip it thins down but widens. The sweet spot of the blade, is on its 3/4 part from the hilt. Put anything in its path on a swing, its as good as destroyed. The inertia of the swing, the thick edge of the sword and the extra weight on the widening blade creates a very powerful and fearful strike. You don't want to be in the sharp end of the blade once the Kampilan attack gets deployed.

The long and ornate hilt counterbalances the long blade, which is good. Like twirling a rattan stick, its easier to twirl a stick held near the middle, than one held near the base. The ornate hilt at times make it difficult to handle the sword, so a certain level of expertise is required when using this on battles.

Datu Lapu-lapu is thought to have used this sword in his battles as depicted in his many statues and paintings. Cool.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pagkain sa Kalsada

Part of being Pinoy is eating on the streets. Not dining out on a restaurant with chairs and tables out on the streets, no not something as fancy as that. Eating on the streets is standing on the "kalsada," while everyone seeing you munching something sold by an illegal vendor. The background music is the noise of charging jeepneys and revving tricycles, dust blowing around you...and your food. Pero yun ang nagpapasarap dun!

We love eating. We love eating food high in cholesterol. We eat the innards of chicken, pig and beef! We eat fried flour mixed with a little bit of fish or squid or chicken dipped in spicy sauce that probably could cause hepatitis. We eat would be ducklings, sometimes with some feathers and beaks! But man, this is the Pinoy experience!

Every Filipino knows kwek-kwek, balut, isaw, and fishballs. You are not Pinoy to the core if you haven't tasted these.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Manny Pacquiao Story Part 4

The Last Chapter. But for a Pinoy Warrior at the prime of his life, there are still more chapters to come.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Manny Pacquiao Story Part 3

Chapter 3 of 4. The Manny Pacquiao Story.

For the last part of the series, click here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Manny Pacquiao Story Part 2

Part 2 of 4 Chapters. Here is the next chapter of the life of the "Pambansang Kamao."

The next part of the story, Chapter 3 is here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Manny Pacquiao Story Part 1

Records are meant to be broken, but not in a few decades for this guy. 8 Boxing Titles in different weight divisions. We can't see anyone coming close to it. This is the story of perhaps the greatest fighter of all time, a Pinoy Warrior going by the name of Manny Pacquiao. Before you see the Pacquiao-Mosley fight, you should watch these:

This is just Chapter 1. Click here to see chapter 2 of his story.