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Congratulations to Eugenio Ynión, Jr., and to his brother Rommel Ynión, for their death threats to me and my family

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I eat death threats for breakfast.

—Míriam Defensor Santiago—

One scene from The Godfather which leaves an indelible mark in the viewers’ minds is the brutal assassination of Sonny Corleone at the toll booth.

I saw this horrible scene only once many years ago, but I still couldn’t forget it. I’m sure that many fans of that now classic film will agree with me that it is the most memorable slaughter clip from the movie.

And it was the only scene which came to mind when Mr. Eugenio Ynión, Jr. —CEO of shady Ynión General Holdings and frequent absentee barrio captain of San Antonio in San Pedro Tunasán City, La Laguna Province— issued me a death threat last April 30. He sent it via private message to a decoy Facebook account during a filthy word war which he instigated (I admit to starting arguments most of the time in online forums, but I don’t start fights). Here’s his first threat, and it’s rather creepy:

It may mean nothing harmful at first reading. But check out the second one below. It’s rather cryptic, but becoming all the more ominous when connected to the first threat above:

Kapitan Ynión mentioning “The Godfather” is an obvious reference to that classic film’s infamous and memorable toll booth assassination scene (see video above). Do the math, friends. :-)

Never mind that this millionaire has fag issues (attention: LGBT community). What matters the most is why he threatened to harm me. My sin? I took sides in our young city‘s political landscape. I defended his twisted and malicious tirades against our mayor, Lourdes Catáquiz. But I did it respectfully, and he knows this. And so I instantly became his number one critic on his Facebook account (whose settings used to be public for everybody to see his wall posts that are filled with lies, lies, and more lies).

True colors

For most part of our summer word war on Facebook, Kapitan Ynión has been accusing me as city hall’s PR man because he knew that I am cognizant of a lot of issues concerning him (my exposé about the LIES he’s been spreading about our city’s fire brigade really blew his top, much to my amusement) While I do not deny my ties with and loyalty towards Mayor Catáquiz —for Pete’s sake, she and her husband (former Mayor Calixto Catáquiz) stood as our wedding sponsors!— I vehemently contest being tagged as such.  I’d rather declare that I’m a PR guy for the whole of San Pedro which he calumnied.

Before we go to how he defamed San Pedro, let me explain first how I made Kapitan Ynión fidgety and livid the whole summer. I first criticized him over a libelous video he posted on his Facebook account wherein he accused city hall of expropriating his land. At first, our exchanges were polite. But bit by bit, he was getting annoyed when he couldn’t get me to side with him. The polite exchanges turned sour. And when he could no longer beat me to the punch, he resorted to childish remarks and ad hominems, surprising me and many others of his behavior. We never thought he’d go down that low, especially since he boasts of being the youngest shipping magnate in the country. And he’s a politician, for crying out loud.

In the end, he deleted his libelous accusations, but not without blocking me (fortunately, some friends of mine who were observing our exchanges were able to make screenshots of his hilarious video and unprofessional remarks towards me). After the confrontation, I began receiving messages from various residents of San Antonio, some of whom I haven’t even met before, congratulating me for standing up to Kapitan Ynión. It seems to me that many people there do not like him. So how did he win last year’s elections? Your guess is as good as mine (and it’s interesting to note that he won by only 885 votes against his rival, Jamie Ambayec, a native San Pedrense).

Anyway, I thought that his blocking me on Facebook would have ended the squabble. But something about his posts bothered me. That is why I thought it best to “troll” him all the more by “hiring” the services of a decoy Facebook account by the name of Fil Acayan. This decoy account added Kapitan Ynión as a friend, signed all his posts as “Pepe Alas”, and the word war was on again. Since then, Kapitan Ynión never had a single day without me inside his head.

Included in that deleted Ynión video, by the way, was an unbecoming comment of his that was meant to taunt the Catáquiz administration but which also became a big insult to the city as a whole. Says Ynión: “the only thing that San Pedro could be proud of is its dumpsite”. Thus the need for me to hire Fil Acayan, the decoy Facebook account. Because I had to avenge our city’s name that was calumnied.

I had to be that PR guy for San Pedro Tunasán and not for the Catáquiz administration.

Kapitan Jun Ynión insulted the whole city of San Pedro

The only thing that San Pedro could be proud of is its dumpsite? Truly, these are the words of a hateful outsider (Ynión’s from Bacólod), an uncouth Filipino skilfully pretending to be a gentleman who has zero knowledge of San Pedro’s beauty and worth and heritage, words of a desperate man who is hell-bent of doing anything he can to achieve his ambition of becoming mayor at all costs, including the pretense of loving a place he is really unfamiliar with, detached even.

The only thing our city could be proud of is its dumpsite? Really? Me and my family have been living in Tagalog San Pedro far longer than this Visayan fellow, but we haven’t even seen nor have been hearing much about this dumpsite, which means its overall impact to our city is next to nil. Now, this fellow currently lives in La Marea, just a stone’s throw away from posh KC Filipinas Golf Resort Club, Inc. Has he even heard of the place? KC Filipinas is not something to be proud of? How about San Pedro’s time-honored tradition that is the sampaguita trade? The prevalence of the national flower gave San Pedro the honorable distinction of being the country’s sampaguita capital. Heck, we even earned a Guinness World Record back in 2009 for having created a 2.1-kilometer sampaguita lei! Hasn’t he heard of this incredible feat? Or maybe his mind was somewhere else? So, our city’s affinity to the national flower is not something to be proud of? We have historical and miraculous churches such as San Pedro Apóstol (home of the iconic Cross of Tunasán), the Shrine of Santo Sepulcro (home of the miraculous image of Lolo Uweng), and Santo Rosario (the first church in the entire Docese of San Pablo to have been consecrated); we’re not to be proud of? And do I even have to mention how this garbage remark of his has insulted the memory of former Vice President Salvador H. Laurel? Because it seems to me that Kapitan Ynión’s beloved dumpsite weighs more than the heritage that is the Salvador H. Laurel Museum and Library found in Holiday Hills.

And how about the awfully friendly people of San Pedro? Shouldn’t we be proud of them, too? So to follow Kapitan Jun Ynión’s crazed rhetoric, the city’s dumpsite is far more worthy than the people of San Pedro?

Why Ynión hates Catáquiz

The real reason why Kapitan Ynión is bitter over this dumpsite issue is because when he befriended former mayor Calixto Catáquiz (a much-loved living legend in our place, if I may add) a few years ago, he asked for favors if he could manage San Pedro’s dumpsite located in Barrio San Antonio, a favor that is not that easy to grant as there are laws and procedures to follow in order to do that. Much later,  Kapitan Ynión requested if he could manage San Pedro’s water distribution facilities.

When both weren’t given to him, bitterness engulfed his mind. And so he started plotting the downfall of the Catáquiz administration. As a matter of fact, he has been plotting this as early as 2008! Check this out:

One problem with Millionaire Ynión is that he’s the type who doesn’t think before he clicks. He’s too talkative (and we San Pedrenses are thankful for it). Other than that, what kind of a CEO and “public servant” stays on Facebook from the wee hours of the morning to the ungodly hours of nightfall? Does this guy even work? Wow.

What was that quote again from David Duchovny? Oh, yeah. I remember now: “In this age of media and Internet access, we are much more talkative than ever before”. :D

Whack job bros?

My golly. The only people I know who receive death threats are politicians, political activists, controversial celebrities, and the like. So just imagine my amusement when a mere Facebook troll such as myself received one from a self-proclaimed public servant who, in apparent fashion, uses his Facebook account primarily to discredit his political rival in as many twisted ways possible. I have to give him credit, though, because Kapitan Ynión’s lies are so believable that even some natives of San Pedro are starting to believe him.

If I may digress for a while. For the past two years, there have been persisting rumors that Kapitan Ynión was behind the assassination of Barrio San Antonio’s former chairman, the much-loved and very popular Art Hatulan (may he rest in peace). I’m not the type who pays much attention to rumors. But after this incident with this mafioso político, I no longer doubt that rumor myself.

And hey, let’s not forget Kap Ynión’s dear brother Rommel who joined the online fracas to rescue him from my online beating. Before the death threats even happened, he once challenged me to a fisticuff in defense of his brother. Now, this Rommel character wishes to outdo his bro by swearing to kill each and every member of my family.

As if one death threat is not enough. What an idiot and a coward.

Such lovely brothers these two are, always looking out for each other. But to Rommel’s credit, I understand his anger. Because the decoy account attacking his “saintly bro” was really mean. But to Kapitan Eugenio “Jun” Ynión’s fans: ever wondered what made that now legendary Fil Acayan account angrily lose his mind and blurt out invectives against your idol? Here’s why — and this is something which Kap Jun didn’t want you to see:

So there’s your public servant. His true colors exposed. Cagalang galang, ¿’di po ba?

And to those who do not know who this funny man Rommel Ynión is, please visit Adobo Ilonggo for more information. But for starters, Rommel ran for mayor in Iloílo City last year but lost in shameful fashion against fan favorite Jed Patrick Mabílog. Even before the elections began, Rommel was arrested due to tax evasion. And according to the grapevine, he’s currently somewhere in Metro Manila (hiding from eventual imprisonment?) and has become a delinquent unit owner of an expensive small office – home office condominium near Asian Hospital and Medical Center (where he is reportedly treated for manic depression). The poor guy reportedly owes the condominium around ₱400,000!

If this is true (and I don’t doubt that it is not), then shame on millionaire Kapitan Ynión. We see how his brother Rommel loves him dearly by unabashedly announcing to the public that the latter will kill each and every member of my family, yet the  former couldn’t seem to pay for his bro’s measly debts. What kind of brotherly circus is this? :D

Doing the right thing

Nick Joaquín once wrote that “some people can rise very high only because they have fallen very low”. Such is the sad, sad case with the Ynión brothers, whose source of wealth is highly questionable

Because of the danger posed by the Ynión brothers against me and my family, pleas from relatives and friends for me to stop criticizing them have been pouring out for the past month, that is why I have not been active in socia media recently. But I cannot remain silent for long. Because “silence in the face of evil is evil itself; God will not hold us guiltless”, says German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And so I’m back.

Sadly, though, we’re not in San Pedro anymore; concerned officials have already pulled us out from our home for the sake of our safety. Nevertheless, even if we are no longer there, San Pedro will forever be a part of us. It is where our four kids grew up. It is where we have built friendships. It is where we have taken root for the past decade. It is there where I have fully recognized the significance of Filipino township identity which contributes to the general Filipino national identity. My love for the whole province of La Laguna sprang from San Pedro. So wherever we go, we will always tell everyone, with our heads held up high, that we are San Pedrenses, that we come from the blessed City of San Pedro Tunasán.

For practical reasons, confronting Jun Ynión and his brother on his FB account, making him lose his mind every single day, may be deemed stupid because I did not even think of my family’s security with my brash actions. But on hindsight, who will stand up against these devils?

So, a hearty congratulations are in the offing for Kap Eugenio and his equally psychotic brother Rommel for their cowardly death threats to me and my family. They may have succeeded in (inadvertently) driving us out of San Pedro…

…but they have practically destroyed themselves in the process. :-)

So just in case me and my family don’t get to join you all the way to the 22nd century, you know who to blame.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

Special thanks to Superintendent Fernando Ortega, San Pedro City Police officer-in-charge, for personally assisting me in filing a blotter report against the evil-minded Ynión brothers of Bacólod.

Three Kings 2014

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It’s that time of the year again, for gift giving. And since it’s the first day of school this year, we just had fast food early this morning. Healthy.

Here’s hoping that this Filipino tradition —the gift giving every January 6, not the Jollibee Breakfast Meals— would be followed by more Filipino families in the future. Not just us. We kinda feel alone and “Jurassic” whenever we think that we’re the only ones doing this today. Sana hindí lang camí. :-)

Happy Three Kings, everyone!

My Filipiniana wedding!

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Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
—2 Thessalonians 2:15—

Jennifer “Yeyette” Perey and I have been together for 14 years. She was my college classmate (the prettiest in class, if I may add), my barcada, my “ate” (she’s three years my senior), my partner in crime, my best friend. Hindí man niyá acó lubusang naiintíndihan, tacbuhan co siyá palagui sa touíng bad trip acó sa cung anó mang bagay sa buhay. And vice versa. She had no fondness for almost everything that interests me. Books and politics bore her to death. And she couldn’t care less for the difference between nationalism and birthday parties. In the same vein, I dislike her diversions: showbiz and fashion, and the usual girl talk.

But as children of the 90s, perhaps the only thing which drew us towards each other is our susceptibility to the frivolities of our youth. It was an era of youth itself, when youth in the history of Time was at its happiest, when “happy-go-luckiedness” was basic canon, an age when democracy in our country was having the time of its life, when hip hop and metal were waging war against each other, and when primetime cartoons and sitcoms were the subject of next-days idle talk inside classrooms. It was a time when rebelling was no longer dangerous but fun, a time when pop culture has reached its zenith to the point of being making itself stale (and it did).

When Yeyette and I met, it was a time when euphoria made itself blatant as the most sought-after objective of man.

We never ignored the future, but we cared less for responsibilities. Unselfishness was but a precipitation on a windowpane on which we merely used to write down our names. Youth was all there was. We thought it was immortal. Although it never lorded us over, it never commanded us to do anything, it, however, tolerated our every whim, blinding us with the “truth” about pleasure.

Fortunately for me, I was not your average petty bourgeois. I was also an observant SOB and a worshipper of books dealing with various subjects. And even before me and Yeyette were already an item, I was already in pursuit of truth. Religious truth, that is. And so: growing up with a non-religious Catholic mom, I freely received various books and pamphlets from her JW cousins; as a teen, I showed interest with my maternal grandmother’s UCCP; I then spent several months with the MMCC; a couple of weeks with the INC; was a fanatic Ang Dating Daan fan for about two years, etc. Becoming more adventurous, I then joined DeMolay.

Looking back, I believe that listening to all those sects led to my disenchantment with organized religion which was further augmented with my activities as a young socialist activist. Imagine just what kind of existential angst I had to go through.

During my training with De Molay, my friendship with Yeyette ended up with her getting pregnant. Then Krystal followed. Then life in its most ostentatious color.

Our frosty windowpane was shattered with just a snap of a finger. All of youth’s promises, lost (I imagine José García Villa mockingly slapping our faces with yellowing rough drafts of his “Footnote to Youth”).

Youth betrayed us. Pop culture popped rather hard in front of us, stinging our faces painfully.

Our first photo together taken at Bacoor, Cavite (circa 1999).

In the difficult events that followed (and being unable to make a compromise with my dad regarding Yeyette’s pregnancy), I resigned myself to the notion that life’s a bitch, so it’s better to love myself. I gave up the idea of God. But not my family.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

My apologies; it’s not my intention to write a pathos-incensed story of our love life in one blogpost, so never mind the —if you may— kick-a$s intro, hehehe! It might take me forever to write about it. So let me just fast-forward things up to the time when me and Yeyette were already proud and happy parents of four kids: Krystal, Momay, Jefe, and Juanito. It took a family of my own to make me realize that God is real, God is true, God is within us, that family is the covenant He speaks of.

Yes, I became a Christian again, but only after torturous months of joblessness and defeat, reawakenings due to a rereading of Philippine History and philosophy (particularly metaphysics and theology), and wrestling against myself if I was to abort my second child or not. In the end, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) won over me. Life became clearer then. And I didn’t even have to read The Purpose Driven Life (as a matter of fact, I haven’t even read it yet).

And since me and Yeyette didn’t want to live a life filled with guilt over what we did (hooking up together much to our respective parents’ disappointment and heartbreak), neither did we intend to continue our lives in “fornication”. Although we were wed civilly, we are not yet married in God’s eyes. A couple of years from now, we’ll be in our 40s. We didn’t have any plans of going beyond that age limit before officially tying the knot.

And so three months ago today, on a dreaded Friday the 13th which was also our 14th anniversary as a couple, me and Yeyette were finally married in our parish church. It was a simple ceremony, really, as it never had the grandeur similar to other weddings. However, it had the elegance, the sacredness, and the character of a true Filipino wedding…

Photo by Mao Joseph Almadrones.

…because we were married using an ancient Catholic rite: the Rito Mozárabe or the Mozarabic Rite which was the original Catholic form of worship in the Philippines from the Spanish times up to the late 1950s. The wedding took place before the entrance of the church; it lasted for about half an hour. Afterwards came the nuptial blessing using the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, also known as the Tridentine Latin Mass. The languages used during the entire ceremony were Spanish and Latin, the way it should really be.

Ours can be considered a historic wedding because it was the first time —at least in the Southern Tagalog area— that a traditional Filipino wedding occurred since the late 1950s; a similar wedding occurred earlier this year, but it was held at the Holy Family Church in Cubáo, Quezon City.

And speaking of Tridentine Masses, it was a startling coincidence to find out later on that our wedding happened on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the promulgation of the celebrated apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI! And our wedding also occurred during the final months of the Year of Faith, probably one of the most awesome things to have happened to someone who was once faithless! Friday the 13th be damned!

Really, AWESOME is all I could muster from my thoughts. :D

Invitation card designed by young Church historian Jesson Allerite.

Our wedding rings on my wife’s Filipiniana bouquet composed of sampaguita, gumamela, ylang-ylang, pandacaqui, camia, and champaca flowers. The bouquet was designed by renowned florist Serge Igonia, a native San Pedrense.

I said goodbye to my long hair on the day of my wedding, LOL! It was Ryan Panaligan, Yeyette’s friend who is a personal stylist of Jed Madela, Luis Manzano and other ABS-CBN stars, was the one who took care of our hair and make-up. And now he’s styling another hunk in this photo.

My bride and our daughter Krystal.

Our boys: Momay, Jefe, and Juanito.

The centuries-old and miraculous Cruz de Tunasán —a “victim” of José Rizal’s satire— became part of our historic wedding!

A modest string of sampaguita flowers are hanging by the church pews on either side of the carpeted nave. San Pedro Tunasán is also known as the “Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines”.

With former San Pedro Mayor Calixto Catáquiz and his wife, incumbent Mayor Lourdes “Baby” Catáquiz who served as our wedding sponsors.

The bride arrives in an elegant looking carroza.*

The Mozarabic wedding is about to begin.

Locution of the admonition and exhortation. Reverend Father Michell Joe “Jojo” Zerrudo, pastor at the Holy Family Parish in Quezon City and also a renowned exorcist, officiates the rare wedding.

Union of our right hands.

Father Jojo blesses our rings and arrhae.

Fr. Jojo places the ring on my right ring finger.

Fr. Jojo gives me Yeyette’s ring which I then insert to her right middle finger.

Fr. Jojo transmits the arrhae to my hands…

…which I then transmit to Yeyette’s hands…

…which she then transmits back to Fr. Jojo.

Done with the Mozarabic Rite wedding! And nope, I’m not doing a rendition here of John Cena’s “you can’t see me!”. I was just proudly showing off my golden ring. :-)

The nuptial blessing begins (using the extraordinary form of the Mass). Both me and Yeyette were led by Fr. Jojo towards the altar. We were holding on to the edge of his stole as he recites Psalm 127. Go figure. :-)

 

The Catáquiz couple. Behind them is Señor Guillermo Gómez, a giant in Philippine history and letters who is also one of our wedding sponsors. Accompanying Señor Gómez is Valerie Devulder, French-Filipina granddaughter of the late Francisco Coching, “Dean of Philippine Comics”.

Sampaguita and camia flowers strewn all over the carpeted nave.

Imposition of the veil as Señor Gómez looks on. Renowned Catholic apologist Carlos Antonio Pálad

Nuptial blessing.

This moment brought me to tears, for I have not received Holy Communion in years. Tita Joji Alas, one of our wedding sponsors, is seated beside Señor Gómez.

My bride’s turn to receive the Body of Christ.

Sorry, no kissing in Tridentine Mass weddings. But of course, a couple should not show an intimate moment right in front of the altar. That is what I call a Novus Ordo Mistake.

Standing behind us: my cousin Jam, Tita Joji, Mayor Baby, my maternal grandmother Norma Soriano, Yeyette’s dad Jaime Perey, my dad Josefino Alas, Mayor Calex, and Señor Gómez.

Throwing rice grains to the newlyweds is an old Filipino custom. I just treat it as tradition. And hey, what our friends and family members flung at us are organic rice grains, LOL!

❤ ❤ ❤

CLICK HERE for more photos! And for an explanation of our wedding’s symbolism or the rite as a whole, CLICK HERE.

*Special thanks to Gerald Ceñir and the rest of the “Tridentine Boys” (Jesson, Mao, Juhnar Esmeralda, Satcheil Amamangpang, Miguel Madarang, and Justin Benaldes) for making this dream wedding come true (Gerald has been helping me in planning for this wedding since 2009!). Thank you also to former Biñán councilor Rómulo “Ome” Reyes for allowing us the use of his carroza, and to Mr. Ronald Yu for sponsoring it. To all who attended our wedding: ¡muchísimas gracias!. And more importantly, THANKS BE TO GOD!

Stay tuned for more of “My Filipiniana wedding!”

La Familia Viajera — not just another travel blog

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Finally, a travel blog that I could call my own!

Actually, not just mine, but my family‘s. :-)

LA FAMILIA VIAJERA, probably the country’s first and only family travel blog (if there’s already a Filipino blog that has claimed the title first, feel free to pinch my ears when you get to see me). The blog features our very humble exploits wherever our itchy feet take us. It was soft-launched last October 21, two days after we roamed the ancient streets of Intramuros and took photos of fancy stuff there.

Fancy stuff that is our heritage.

Since LA FAMILIA VIAJERA is a family oriented blog, I will be much tamer there. I will try my best not to sound belligerent, no anti-imperialism remarks, no clenched fists raised high above the air, and no Rage Against the Machine blurting out in the background. All that indignation is reserved only for FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and ALAS FILIPINAS (I said I will try my best).

OK. I’ll shut up now and let my third blog do the talking. Please click here for my family’s first entry to its online travelogue.

And oh, did I forget to mention? My long-time nemesis Carlos Celdrán is featured there. Believe it or not. :D

PS: And since I’d be traveling with my wife and four kids in LA FAMILIA VIAJERA, there will be no more travel blogposts in ALAS FILIPINAS and FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES from now on.

 

Matrimonium 2013

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Matrimonium 2013

“I give you a companion, and not a slave; love her as Christ loves his Church.”

The authentic Filipiniana wedding of the century… coming soon! :-)

Strange Friday

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Something strange happened this afternoon.

After lunch, me and my family watched Mel Gibson’s controversial film The Passion of the Christ on VCD. At exactly 3:00 PM, the crucifixion scene was shown.

The hour of great mercy. What a coincidence.

I am sure it was a sign. But what does it mean?

The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pascuhan sa La Laguna

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Opening their gifts! This is an age-old Filipino custom that my family is conserving every 6th of January. Some far-flung barrios of La Laguna are still doing this (particularly those in the eastern part). But it appears that we’re the only ones who are celebrating this old Filipino tradition here in San Pedro.

 

Aside from the lively Three Kings festivities in Mabitac, some parts of La Laguna still celebrate the centuries-old custom of Christmas gift-giving on that date (6th of January). A few remote barrios in Liliw, Mabitac, Nagcarlán, Pagsanján, and Santa Cruz still practise the old “pascuhan” tradition wherein children visit their godparents for Christmas freebies, and parents surprise their children with gifts. This custom is obviously of Hispanic origin and is still being practised by many Spanish-speaking countries. The gift-giving commemorates the famous Nativity scene wherein the Three Wise Men from the Orient (popularly known as the Three Kings, a Catholic tradition) visited the child Jesus and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, thus recognizing Him as the newborn King of the world.

Culled from my debut book, LA LAGUNA The Heart of the Philippines. Coming very soon! Happy Three Kings everyone! :D

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