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Category Archives: Provincia de La Laguna

To those MORONS who wanted to kill me: molotov cocktails are supposed to be hurled!

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A few minutes before nine in the morning, our nextdoor neighbor told me that two improvised bombs were found near the entrance to our apartment. The first one was already lit up when the “barangay tanod” arrived. Good thing it was drizzling, so the bottles got drenched. The bombs were then taken by our barangay tanods to their office.

Upon hearing this, the death threats that my family received from Eugenio Ynión, Jr. and his brother Rommel came to mind in an instant. Could it have been their men who had those bombs planted? I’m not the type who immediately draws up a careless conclusion, so I had to make sure. I immediately went to our barrio hall to investigate.

It turned out that those improvised bombs were molotov cocktails. They were actually found in front of our neighbor’s front gate, right beside our apartment entrance where I usually drop off from a trike ride.

Popularly known in our country as molotov bombs, these are homemade incendiary weapons consisting of a glass bottle filled with flammable liquid, usually gasoline or alcohol (either methanol or ethanol). The mouth of the bottle is tightly sealed with a cork or other type of airtight bung (rubber, glass, or plastic). A cloth rag is then fixed securely around the mouth. The bottle is used by first soaking the rag in a flammable liquid immediately prior to using it. Upon lighting the rag, the bottle can then be hurled towards the target. The bottle then shatters on impact, throwing away shards of glass and spilling the flammable liquid over the target which is then ignited by the burning rag. The result: street pandemonium.

These were the molotov bombs that were recovered near the entrance to our apartment. And no, they’re not cherry flavored.

 

The molotov cocktail was named after Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986), not really to honor him but to spite his name. Today, the molotov is a “favorite” weapon during violent mass protests and gang wars.

But our neighborhood is not known for gang wars. No mass protests ever occur here. Our community is an untidy neighborhood, unkempt, and noisy because of hulking vehicles sharing a very small barrio road. Truly, a terrible place for a writer. Nevertheless, our place is a peaceful community where everybody knows everyone. Nobody here has a serious dispute with anyone within or without our community. And to top it all, this molotov incident is a first, at least in our barrio.

After filing a report to our barangay hall, I was escorted by the police and some tanod folks who recovered the deadly bottles to our local police station to personally present them to Superintendent Fernando Ortega who was already waiting for us. On our way to the station, we passed by our place again to investigate further. Reaching our place, I then asked some neighbors who were there if they had any dispute with other people. They confirmed to me that virtually nobody in our vicinity had a dispute with anyone. Nobody… except me. :-)

I really couldn’t think of anyone else who is capable of doing me and my family harm. The Ynión Brothers, especially “Kapitan” Eugenio, are the only enemies I know. And if my suspicions are correct that it was really them, did they intentionally leave those bottles just to intimidate us? Or they hired pure buffoons who failed to get the job done?

So to the morons who want me killed, a piece of advice: the next time you use a molotov cocktail, hurl it towards me and don’t just leave it exposed to the elements. It’s not a weapon to intimidate — it’s a weapon. Idiotas.

Friendly advice: when you’re fuming mad, stay away from social media

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That’s one lesson I learned… the hard way. And embarrassingly, too.

Two Sundays ago, just a few minutes before going to late afternoon Mass in Barrio Landayan, I was engaged in a filthy word war with a troll account in Twitter (yeah, I know… not a spiritual way to prepare for Mass, mea culpa). The troll account is a supporter of Barrio San Antonio Chairman Eugenio Ynión, Jr., the man who sent me a death threat last summer, and a rabid hater of Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz and her husband, former Mayor Calixto Catáquiz.

The troll account won the word war simply because I fed its trolling. We are reminded of that well-known online adage: don’t feed the troll. But in a rage, I completely forgot all about it. The troll account I was up against is an expert roaster, a veteran even (in real life, this troll —whose identity is not a secret among San Pedrense netizens— is actually already a veteran, agewise). And since my family was hurrying me up to get dressed and my mind was blackened with spite, my replies got too clumsy, giving the troll account  the upper hand. Boy, did it give me some serious a$s-whooping.

I have joined a couple of online forums even before social media became in vogue. The forums that I join usually engage in topics which tackle Philippine History and other related subjects (my forte, I’d like to think). Throughout the years of my online existence, I’ve been a commenter, an observer, a moderator, and even a troll myself, haha. Whenever I am engaged in a heated real-time or live debate, and I am already on the verge of losing my cool, the opponent more often than not gets the better of me. Yes, I confess that I am a slow thinker.

But when I think slowly, I think surely.

Anyway, I already noticed this turtle-paced mental process of mine way back in college when my alma mater, mistakenly thinking that they have at last discovered a new JB Lazarte, entered me in an impromptu essay writing contest. When the topic was revealed, and the moment the timer started ticking, all the contestants were already jotting hurriedly. Me? I was paralyzed with anxiety, sweating profusely on my seat, helplessly watching the rest scribble it out like there’s no tomorrow. Nothing came out from my ink because that tension-filled moment was squeezing my brain. I only started writing when I decided to just give it up — and that was about half past the allotted time.

Now, going back to that online a$s-whooping I received. Nothing comes close to trolling than this Catáquiz hater who has found an ally in the person of one Manuel Mejorada, an Ynión attack dog based in Iloílo City disguised as a respectable a journalist. The troll account got the better of me, especially when I made a major boo-boo: when I referred to the Court of Appeals as “the court of last resort”, haha. And when Mejorada found out about my carelessness later on, he was so overjoyed that he even took time to make a screenshot of it then posted it on his Facebook account…

Thanks for the appeal for forgiveness, Boy Remedio. I appreciate it. I owe you one for your show of sympathy.

 

Before becoming a PR guy for Jun Ynión (and the mentally unstable Rommel Ynión), Mejorada was a former provincial administrator of Iloílo; if I’m not mistaken, he served under the term of former Governor Niel Tupás, Sr. So just imagine my amused surprise that this “VIP”, a self-proclaimed defender of the truth, took time to give me special space on that bastion of justice that is his Facebook account. For Mejorada and that Twitter troller, my “court of last resort” slip up was a huge event complete with fireworks and lechón and marching bands. They were having such a grand time as if it mattered all the world. It’s like, hey, who the heck am I to deserve such attention from a political and journalistic figure in Panay Island? In one comment of his, Mejorada himself even said that I’m just a mere “butete” compared to the others he usually defames… err, attacks rather.

Of course I got annoyed. However, the underlying sentiment I had was that of flattery. To make it more simple, and to Manuel Mejorada’s credit, who in blue blazes am I when made to stand side by side with a giant? (“wow, pinatulan ang isáng tulad có, haha.“) :D Yes sir. Make no mistake. Manuel Mejorada is a giant (figuratively AND literally speaking). That is why inspite of all the insults I received from his august Facebook account, I couldn’t help but feel being a little bit special… I must have surely made a mark to deserve this kind of attention! :-)

Be that as it may, this blogpost, of course, will be deemed by those two Ynión attack dogs as nothing more but a deodorant to hide the stench of my “ignorance” (Mejorada’s words). Rest assured, dear reader, that I am and have always been cognizant of the fact about which institution is the court of last resort. Proof? Why, even those idiotic attack dogs know about it.

So there, dear friends. Let this be a lesson to you, most especially to slow-thinkers such as myself: never ever touch that mouse or keyboard when you are angry and/or in a hurry during an online argument. You might not like what you’ve been typing. When you feel like you are already losing your temper, better leave your opponent for a while. Breathe, take a break, then return to the battlefield once you’ve gone back to a relaxed demeanor. Besides, online arguments are not formal ones, especially with what had transpired between me and that troll two Sundays ago.

Speaking of a relaxed demeanor, I’m now wondering if Mejorada was in that particular state of mind and body when he posted this idiocy on Facebook:

Please forgive his ignorance too. Por favor. Have mercy on this travesty brought about by senility…

As mentioned earlier, Manuel Mejorada, aside from being a seasoned (yellow) journalist in Iloílo Province, is no stranger to politics, as he was once a provincial administrator (I learned that he also used to be the Twitter handler of Senator Franklin Drilón but there was a falling out). Having said that, didn’t it even occur to him that the incumbent leadership in a local government unit incurs advances from a previous administration? At capág may mg̃a dadaúsing eventos, programas, etc., ang mg̃a organizador ang cumucuha ng cash advance, hindî ang alcalde o ang alcaldesa. Naturally, only those who request cash advances are tasked to have them liquidated, and an order is issued to have those advances liquidated within a certain period of time.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon that unliquidated cash advances are handed down from a previous administration to the present one. Besides, even if Mejorada doesn’t do any pestering, these matters are under the watch of a city or municipal hall’s resident auditor from the Commission on Audit (COA).

I reiterate: this yellow journalist-turned-PR guy for the Ynión Brothers was a former “public servant” himself. That is why it is now puzzling as to why Mejorada should “pester” the COA about something which COA is very cognizant about.

So, should we also forgive Manuel Mejorada’s IGNORANCE on LGU state of affairs, something he is supposed to know about?

Eugenio Ynión, Jr. appears to be gearing up for murder

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San Pedro Tunasán’s favorite barangáy chairman, Eugenio “Jun” Ynión of Barrio San Antonio, is at it again.

Is Eugenio Ynión, Jr. preparing to murder me and my family?

Those six targets look so familiar – two adults, four kids. Who could they be? (video uploaded on June 6).

Watch him on this Facebook video… if he hasn’t deleted it yet (because the guy’s got a penchant for deleting posts).

Of course it is not a coincidence that Barrio San Antonio Chairman Eugenio Ynión, Jr. chose six human coreflutes —two adults and four kids— as his civilian targets. At first glance, I might have had ignored it. But on another video, this time with a shotgun, he really insisted on shooting at two adults and four kids. Other than that, what kind of a brute would even think of practising his shooting skills on kiddie-sized civilian targets? Indeed, this poor soul is one of a kind.

In the light of Eugenio Ynión’s death threats against me (coupled with his mentally unstable brother Rommel’s threats against my family), there is no shadow of a doubt that this pathetic target practice of his is meant to intimidate and threaten me and my family once more. Besides, since he is online most of the time, I’m sure that he is already aware that I filed a blotter against him and his brother for threatening our lives. Our city police chief himself, Superintendent Fernando Ortega, even took time to assist me on that matter. Heck, many people in San Pedro, even those who have no social media accounts, are already aware of this death threat issue (San Pedro’s just a small city, in fact the smallest in the whole province of La Laguna). But because of this video, Ynión has shown his impudence and imprudence towards the blotter case. Nagháhamon talagá. Palibhasa maraming pera.

Captioning the video, Ynión wrote:

Rusty but what the heck! In the real world of violence, you don’t get to prepare for your enemies. They won’t say, “be ready, here I come”. It’s always a surprise attack be it an ambush or a stab behind the back. So these shooting exercises are just about de stressing and bonding with friends…

When Ynión says something about surprise attacks, backstabbing, and ambush, trust him on this, for he seems to be an expert himself. Remember when he promised that he will get to see me the least I expect it?

But with his several armed goons surrounding him all the time, who would even dare ambush him in the first place? And as far as I can remember, I don’t recall any politician brandishing his or her shooting skills on social media. What for, really? Yes, Ynión and his trigger-happy minions (and one of them is a complete INGRATO, by the way) have the right to do some target practice, if that’s what their “trip” is. But is it proper for him to post it on Facebook especially since his threats to me (and his brother’s to my family) have been made public already? Speaking of which, Ynión got so rattled when I exposed his evil side on Facebook that he even added as friend those who shared that “death threat” post of mine.

So, to all those living in the City of San Pedro: is this the kind of man you want to lead you? At this early, he’s already starting to intimidate people. What more if he becomes mayor? He threatened to kill me just because I kept on answering back at his backstabbing antics on Facebook against the more popular and effective Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz.

But no, me and my family are not threatened at all. Because his bullets, like his pathetic display of “courage” in his videos, are mere rubber. And if he ever succeeds in killing me and my family, he’s the unlucky one, not us.

Trust me on this, Eugenio. Evil men like you are not forever.

Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.
—Che Guevara—

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:

LA FAMILIA VIAJERA

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:

LA FAMILIA VIAJERA 2

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.

LA FAMILIA VIAJERA

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.

Palm Sunday 2014

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Iglesia de San Pedro Apóstol.

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 35 and 38

At The Procession With Palms – Gospel MT 21:1-11

When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem
and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately you will find an ass tethered,
and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply,
‘The master has need of them.’
Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Say to daughter Zion,
“Behold, your king comes to you,
meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them,
and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
while others cut branches from the trees
and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following
kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord;
hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem
the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
And the crowds replied,
“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

At The Mass – Reading 1 IS 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

R/ (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Reading 2 PHIL 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel MT 26:14-27:66

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity
to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating,
Jesus took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and giving it to his disciples said,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink from it, all of you,
for this is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed on behalf of many
for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it with you new
in the kingdom of my Father.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
“This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken,
for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed
;
but after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Though all may have their faith in you shaken,
mine will never be.”
Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows,
you will deny me three times.”
Peter said to him,
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And all the disciples spoke likewise.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
and began to feel sorrow and distress.
Then he said to them,
“My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying,
“My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.
He said to Peter,
“So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again,
“My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass
without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open.
He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time,
saying the same thing again.
Then he returned to his disciples and said to them,
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
Behold, the hour is at hand
when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs,
who had come from the chief priests and the elders
of the people.
His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying,
“The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”
Immediately he went over to Jesus and said,
“Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.
Jesus answered him,
“Friend, do what you have come for.”
Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus
put his hand to his sword, drew it,
and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him,
“Put your sword back into its sheath,
for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father
and he will not provide me at this moment
with more than twelve legions of angels?
But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled
which say that it must come to pass in this way?”
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds,
“Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs to seize me?
Day after day I sat teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me.
But all this has come to pass
that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus led him away
to Caiaphas the high priest,
where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Peter was following him at a distance
as far as the high priest’s courtyard,
and going inside he sat down with the servants
to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death,
but they found none,
though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward who stated,
“This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God
and within three days rebuild it.’”
The high priest rose and addressed him,
“Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But Jesus was silent.
Then the high priest said to him,
“I order you to tell us under oath before the living God
whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“You have said so.
But I tell you:
From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power’
and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’”
Then the high priest tore his robes and said,
“He has blasphemed!
What further need have we of witnesses?
You have now heard the blasphemy;
what is your opinion?”
They said in reply,
“He deserves to die!”
Then they spat in his face and struck him,
while some slapped him, saying,
“Prophesy for us, Christ: who is it that struck you?”
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.
One of the maids came over to him and said,
“You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”
But he denied it in front of everyone, saying,
“I do not know what you are talking about!”
As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him
and said to those who were there,
“This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.”
Again he denied it with an oath,
“I do not know the man!”
A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter,
“Surely you too are one of them;
even your speech gives you away.”
At that he began to curse and to swear,
“I do not know the man.”
And immediately a cock crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken:
“Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.

When it was morning,
all the chief priests and the elders of the people
took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.
They bound him, led him away,
and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned,
deeply regretted what he had done.
He returned the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders, saying,
“I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.”
They said,
“What is that to us?
Look to it yourself.”
Flinging the money into the temple,
he departed and went off and hanged himself.
The chief priests gathered up the money, but said,
“It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury,
for it is the price of blood.”
After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field
as a burial place for foreigners.
That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah
the prophet,
And they took the thirty pieces of silver,
the value of a man with a price on his head,
a price set by some of the Israelites,
and they paid it out for the potter’s field
just as the Lord had commanded me.

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You say so.”
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders,
he made no answer.
Then Pilate said to him,
“Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?”
But he did not answer him one word,
so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast
the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd
one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them,
“Which one do you want me to release to you,
Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench,
his wife sent him a message,
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds
to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply,
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them,
“Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said,
“Let him be crucified!”
But he said,
“Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder,
“Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all,
but that a riot was breaking out instead,
he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd,
saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply,
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them,
but after he had Jesus scourged,
he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium
and gathered the whole cohort around him.
They stripped off his clothes
and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head,
and a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
They spat upon him and took the reed
and kept striking him on the head.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon;
this man they pressed into service
to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha
¬—which means Place of the Skull —,
they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him,
they divided his garments by casting lots;
then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him:
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him,
one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself, if you are the Son of God,
and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now,
and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God;
let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him
also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge;
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed,
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened,
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection,
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake
and all that was happening, and they said,
“Truly, this was the Son of God!”
There were many women there, looking on from a distance,
who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.
Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph,
and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When it was evening,
there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph,
who was himself a disciple of Jesus.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus;
then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.
Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen
and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock.
Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb
and departed.
But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

The next day, the one following the day of preparation,
the chief priests and the Pharisees
gathered before Pilate and said,
“Sir, we remember that this impostor while still alive said,
‘After three days I will be raised up.’
Give orders, then, that the grave be secured until the third day,
lest his disciples come and steal him and say to the people,
‘He has been raised from the dead.’
This last imposture would be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them,
“The guard is yours;
go, secure it as best you can.”
So they went and secured the tomb
by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard.

Or MT 27:11-54

Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, who questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You say so.”
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders,
he made no answer.
Then Pilate said to him,
“Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?”
But he did not answer him one word,
so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast
the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd
one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them,
“Which one do you want me to release to you,
Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench,
his wife sent him a message,
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds
to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply,
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them,
“Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said,
“Let him be crucified!”
But he said,
“Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder,
“Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all,
but that a riot was breaking out instead,
he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd,
saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply,
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them,
but after he had Jesus scourged,
he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium
and gathered the whole cohort around him.
They stripped off his clothes
and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head,
and a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
They spat upon him and took the reed
and kept striking him on the head.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon;
this man they pressed into service
to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha
— which means Place of the Skull —,
they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him,
they divided his garments by casting lots;
then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him:
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him,
one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself, if you are the Son of God,
and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now,
and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God;
let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him
also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge;
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed,
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
‘Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened,
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection,
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake
and all that was happening, and they said,
“Truly, this was the Son of God!”

My adoptive hometown’s cityhood is near

Posted on
I just saw this a few minutes ago in RAPPLER:

San Pedro in La Laguna to hold cityhood plebiscite on December 28

BY MICHAEL BUEZA
POSTED ON 12/18/2013 6:32 PM  | UPDATED 12/19/2013 8:43 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Four days before the year ends, registered voters in San Pedro, La Laguna, will either approve or reject the conversion of their town into a city.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) scheduled for Saturday, December 28, a plebiscite to ratify San Pedro’s cityhood. Voting hours will be from 7 am to 3 pm.

If majority of the 160,777 voters write “yes” on their ballots, San Pedro would become the 6th city in the province of La Laguna, after Biñán, Cabuyao, Calamba, San Pablo, and Santa Rosa.

San Pedro was converted into a component city through Republic Act 10420, signed by President Benigno Aquino III on March 27, 2013.

RA 10420 states that Comelec should conduct a plebiscite within 30 days after the law’s approval, but the poll body resolved to hold off all plebiscites until after the October 28 barangay polls.

The plebiscite period in San Pedro started on November 28, and will last until Jan 2, 2014. A gun ban is implemented throughout the plebiscite period, while a liquor ban will take place on the eve of the plebiscite and on plebiscite day. The counting of votes will be done manually.

The town’s Comelec office is gearing up for the plebiscite. “We will be putting up tarpaulins in every barangay hall to inform voters about RA 10420 and the plebiscite,” said Mario Loyola, a staff member of the Comelec-San Pedro municipal office. Rappler.com

I can still vividly remember the first time we moved in to San Pedro. It was during the Philippine presidential elections of 2004. That was almost a decade ago. No disrespect to the former mayor back then, but the place was really topsy-turvy when me and my family arrived: potholes in major roads, rowdy vendors, rugby boys, piles of garbage in sidewalks, etc. Whether or not it is the fault of San Pedrenses, command responsibility will always come to mind whenever new arrivals have a first impression of a place.

I can say that I am proud of having witnessed all the positive changes in this place throughout the years. Sana ñga lang, maquisama din ang lahát ng tagá San Pedro, maguíng tubo man dito o dayo tulad ng familia co, sa  positibong pagbabago na itunutulac ng casalucuyang pámunuan.

A hearty congratulations to Mayor Lourdes S. Catáquiz and her team. Of course, former mayor and now San Pedro’s First Gentleman Calixto R. Catáquiz shouldn’t be left out in the acknowledgments; all this was, after all, his brainchild when he was still the Sampaguita Capital’s chief magistrate.

My Filipiniana wedding!

Posted on

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!”

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