Wednesday, August 29, 2012

National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus, Manila

* an angel by the entrance

* facade of the National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus

* an image of Christ* interior views

Tucked along Jose P. Laurel Street in San Miguel, Manila is this shrine devoted to Saint Jude Thaddeus. The National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus, as it is officially called, traces its origins from the shared history of the Filipinos and Chinese in the country. When I first visited the place I thought that it might have been a recently constructed church to accommodate the nearby parishioners. The only note I could find at the time (beside the list of past sponsors and donors for the church) was a plate with the words: “ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION 1958.”

And so I searched over the internet and thankfully enough the shrine has a website where you can find a poignant narration of the church’s history. To quote some parts:

“The Chinese presence in the Philippines goes back many centuries. With the coming of the Spaniards, the evangelization and pastoral care of the Chinese in Manila came under the Dominicans. Eventually, the Chinese Parish was attached to the Binondo Parish. This arrangement lasted until 1954. In that year, Archbishop Rufino J. Santos obtained from the Roman Consistorial Congregation to the faculty to erect three more parishes for the Chinese. One of these was St. Jude Parish.” [from:]

* in the company of saints

* prayer to the Virgin of Peñafrancia* prayer requests

* Virgin of Peñafrancia

* more images inside

“On October 13, 1954, Father Provincial Hermann Kondring, SVD appointed Fr. Henry Windges, SVD as the first parish priest of the Espiritu Santo Chinese Parish, as the parish was known initially. Fr. Windges was installed by Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Santos on November 14, 1954. Fr. Peter Tsao, SVD was subsequently appointed assistant parish priest on December 7, 1954.” [from:]

* the church altar

* St. Joseph Freinademetz* San Lorenzo Luiz

* more saints inside

“In January 1955, the parish set up its first rectory by renting part of the premises of a former hospital (now St. Jude Catholic School) in San Miguel, Manila. The next month, Archbishop Rufino J. Santos made St. Jude Thaddeus the patron saint of the parish as proposed by Father Provincial Herman Kondring, SVD.

The present site of St. Jude Parish was donated by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos. The blessing and laying of the cornerstone of the church was held on September 28, 1958. The completed church was blessed on October 23, 1960.” [from:]

[How to go to the National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus, Manila: The Shrine is found along Jose P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, near the Malacañang Palace. You can ride a jeepney from the Quiapo area and ask the driver to drop you off at Laurel Street. Then you can walk the street until you reach the shrine. But I think there are also jeepneys from the Quiapo area that passes by the area of Mendiola. Drop off at Mendiola near the Chino Roces Bridge. Then walk through the street beyond the Mendiola Peach Arch, passing by the San Beda College and Centro Escolar University. Once you reach Laurel Street, just cross the street and the shrine will be in sight already.]

Flower Views: Calauan, Laguna

Small pleasures for small things. These photos were taken in one of the many afternoon trips that my mother did in connection with her work in Calauan, Laguna. Breath-taking, I daresay. The flowers are actually found on small patch of garden only. But what effect it has! Small pleasures for small things indeed.

Sky Views: Batangas

Recently dug up these photos from my largely unsorted photos files. These show different views of the sky in Batangas. I cannot help but be amazed by the sky and its different forms.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The LRT Tickets’ Makeover

I was surprised to find a few days ago a simple-looking LRT ticket. It seems that they are now replacing the old LRT tickets, removing in particular those which show photos of some high-ranking politician/s. The one I have, a stored-value card, is soothing to the eyes – no unnecessary images, graphics, texts. I am yet to find if they have replacing the MRT tickets as well.

The Interior of Nagcarlan Church

Most of my summer months were spent holing up in our house, digging into books, doing online applications, and running to and fro in Magdalena, Laguna during weekends. On some days, sidet rips were done in the town of Nagcarlan since I had to board a jeep anyway in the town to get to Magdalena.

One such trip enabled me to see finally the interior of the Nagcarlan Church (made famous recently because it has been the place of shooting of a successful teleserye about a hunchback woman). The inside still has the old, Spanish-era feel to it (please bear with my subjectiuve descriptions, dear reader) although much of the fixtures are either replaced or renovated already. The retablo, as in any other places in Laguna, is both elegant and intricately designed.

I’d like to call those in-charge of the maintenance during my particular visit as ‘cool’ as they opted to play as a background music a lively song which would have uplifted the spirit of any potential visitor.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

History Comes Alive! with Dr. Ambeth Ocampo – Before the Japayuki: Japan in Philippine History

This month Ayala Museum will host another Ambeth Ocampo lecture. Sir Ambeth is a Filipino historian whose books and articles are widely-read both here and abroad. His upcoming lecture is entitled “Before the Japayuki: Japan in Philippine History”, most likely a talk on the shared history of these two countries and their continued relations up to the present.

This new installment in the History Comes Alive! with Dr. Ambeth Ocampo will be held on August 25, 2012, 3 pm, at the Ayala Museum Ground Floor Lobby. The fee will be 350 pesos for professional adults and 200 pesos for students, teachers, and Ayala Museum members (inclusive of Sir Ambeth’s new book).

I really hope that this time I will be able to attend. Having posted several Ambeth Ocampo lectures in this blog site before, I am yet to attend one. This one will be particularly significant in relation with the book project I am currently doing.

For further details you can call 757-7117 to 21 local 24/25/35 or email

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Encountering MV Karagatan on TV

* Howie Severino explores MV Kagaratan (from

The bulk of my work as a college instructor and travel times has consumed most of my waking hours. Although I am enjoying my work immensely, that activity should not be an excuse for me not to update Back Trails. I have actually a heap of travel tales and photos to share. And so hopefully I am doing a good start by sharing my experiences of knowing MV Karagatan.

After watching the documentary program of Howie Severino last Monday, I was practically left in awe. The realization that we still have that infamous, pre-Martial Law time MV Karagatan under our seas is one solid evidence that we still have a long way to go to understand many aspects of our country’s past. What makes this discovery more thrilling is the fact that the Martial Law period was a not-so-distant point in our history. I believe the showing of the documentary program will encourage more historical researches on Martial Law.

As a brief background, MV Karagatan was suppose to deliver arms to the members of the New People’s Army or NPA in their quarters somewhere in the dense forests of the Sierra Madre in the province of Isabela. But somehow the group was ambushed by the then Philippine Constabulary and the delivery failed. Howie takes Retired General Victor Corpuz (a former NPA member and one of those who knew about the delivery) with him and explores the waters where the ship was supposed to have sunk. Along the way they got to meet people who, in one way or another, have knowledge of the coming of MV Karagatan or have witnessesed some of the portions of that historic event.

On a personal level there is no doubt that I would want to get there and see MV Karagatan in person before it totally becomes a permanent part of the under water’s landscape.