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Category Archives: The Mysterious and the Strange

How was Simbáng Gabí celebrated during the Spanish times?

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Have you ever wondered how the Misa de Gallo or Simbáng Gabí was celebrated during the Spanish times? Then come and visit the Holy Family Church in Roxas District, Cubáo, Quezon City from December 15 to 23 at 10:00 PM to witness this historic Filipino-Catholic ritual that is filled with so much “sense of the sacred“! And hey, don’t forget to bring your candles or lanterns (farol with light), OK? You’ll find out later on. 😉

See you there!

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. 😀

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!”

Was super typhoon Yolanda man-made?

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Admittedly, I do pay attention to conspiracy theories but only those which concern my country. Go ahead and kill me.

Nowadays, people usually think of conspiracy theorists as ingenious loonies locked for hours inside their dingy rooms crammed with books, documents, and Elvis Presley photos scattered all over the floor, seated in front of their computers while feasting on oily burgers and sugary coffee. Holier-than-thou keyboard warriors often make fun of such people due to the seeming hilarity of their pronouncements as opposed to an already accepted political dogma. But a friend of mine said that not too long ago, conspiracy theory was not categorized as a “science of screwballs”. Most, if not all, of these people are highly respected individuals. Pure geniuses and not just smarter than the average bear. But due to the polemics brought about by their discoveries, the powers that be are compelled to marginalize them just to remain in control of the weak. So there you have it, in a jiffy.

Anyway, if conspiracy theorists claim that super typhoon Yolanda originated from the U.S. military as implied in the scientifically articulate video above, then I believe them. After all, it is already common knowledge that the U.S. Government is power-hungry. Now THAT is no conspiracy theory.

Because if cloud seeding and birth control are made possible, why not artificial typhoons?

You be the judge.

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)

The Seven Lakes of San Pablo City, La Laguna

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San Pablo City is famously known as “The City of Seven Lakes”. And for good reason. Because it really has seven lakes, though not as large as nearby Laguna de Bay. And definitely NOT artificial like the one in Nuvali (in Santa Rosa City). These seven lakes are not ordinary water formations since they have a subterranean background with a “volcanic touch”.

Scientifically, the seven lakes of San Pablo are classified as “maars” or low-relief volcanic craters. Maars were formed by what volcanologists call a phreatomagmatic eruption (heck knows how it’s pronounced; I might be able to do it with a mouthful of polvorón). Such eruptions are rare; they occur only when groundwater comes into contact with magma.

The lakes have queer native names, some of which are familiar to Tagalog speakers. Nobody knows who gave them their names. But as is the usual case in our culture, legends have been passed on from generation to generation. And since hundreds of years ago, nobody knew the difference between a phreatomagmatic eruption from a scorned lady, people really had to come up with stories about their origins.

Here are the brief profiles of each lake as well as their legends.

1) Lake Bunót (30.50 hectares; 23 meters average depth)

Lago Bunót


Bunót was named after —you got it— that whatnot cleaning item that you use to make the floor as shiny and sparkling as your high school classmate’s oily face. Its origin comes from the never-ending Spanish-indio– miscommunication story. Spanish soldiers who were new to the place inquired the name of the lake from a man who was husking coconuts by the lakeshore. Thinking that the soldiers were asking for the native name of the coconut husk, the man, probably Raymart Santiago’s ancestor, innocently replied bunót.

2) Lake Calibató (42 hectares, 135 meters average depth)

Lago Calibató


Calibató was said to be the turf of a nature spirit locally known as a diwatà. The place was once a rich valley filled with wild game and fruit-bearing trees. But she was angered when natives constructed rocky pathways which criss-crossed her haven. She must have turned green and big like the Incredible Hulk because she caused an earthquake. Afterwards, she must have transformed into Ororo Munro of the X-Men to cause a severe storm that transformed the valley into what it is today: a lake, but which provides abundant fish (probably those who constructed the pathway, just a crazy guess). It is believed that the name Calibató was a combination of “Cali”, a corruption of the Spanish word “calle” or street, and “bató”, Tagalog for “rock” (sorry, no crystal meth jokes allowed).

3) Lake Mojicap (14.50 hectares; 80 meters average depth)

Lago Mojicap


The story of Mojicap (spelled nowadays as Mohicap) is about a religious couple who had a very sickly daughter named Mónica. They made a promise to do anything if God heals her. God granted their prayer on condition that the child should only stay inside their elevated hut and must never set foot on mother earth. One day, while Mónica was sewing her dress, the ball of thread that she was using fell on the bamboo slat floor and slid towards the earthen ground. Her parents were out on a date so they were not around to retrieve it. The poor child had to recover the ball of thread by herself. Reminiscent of nighttime TV soaps, it was apparent that the parents were too secretive towards their daughter regarding their pre-natal deal with God, because the girl didn’t wait for her parents to retrieve the ball of thread. So upon stepping on the ground for the first time in her life, she immediately collapsed, then water spewed forth from the earth, drowning her and the entire neighborhood. Voila, a new lake emerged. For some reason, the name Mónica eventually became Mojicap (this means that actress Danica Sotto has a fair chance of having her name changed to Dajicap Sotto pretty soon). Mojicap, by the way, is my wife’s favorite lake among the rest. She finds its turquoise-colored waters fascinating.

4) Lake Palacpaquin (43 hectares; 7.50 meters average depth)

Lago Palacpaquin


Nope, Palacpaquin has no “let’s-give-them-a-round-of-applause” (or “magpalacpacan tayo“) myth. Elders instead will tell you that it was once a river where a mysterious lady (probably a diwatà again) used to wash her long hair every full moon by the hollow trunk of an ancient tree called palacpaquin. A big fish also appears in the river every time the lady washes her hair. Hmmm… May crush yatà. Anyways, nobody dared to catch the fish, fearing that it was owned by the lady. And maybe because it was too big to be caught, if I may add. One day, a stranger suddenly thought that he’s Sherlock Holmes, so he started to investigate the mysterious lady and her queer fish pal. One moonlit night, he saw the mysterious damsel. As he approached her, thunder and lightning shook the earth, causing the river to swell. No, Thor wasn’t there (he’d rather visit a First World country). It’s just that no mortal man was allowed to go near the damsel. So in a matter of minutes, the river had become a lake. There was no more sign of the stranger, the lady, and the fish. But in their place was a large quantity of shrimp from which the popular cuisine Hipong Palacpaquin originated.

5) Lake Pandín (20.50 hectares; 63 meters average depth)

Lago Pandín


Now this lake is paradise! My personal favorite, and the most popular among travelers. And this lake has a twin: Yambó, which can be reached on the other side via raft. Or if you think you can be the next Michael Phelps, go ahead and do a butterfly stroke towards the other bank. Anyway, both Pandín and Yambó are separated by a narrow strip of elevated hill. The story of these is almost similar to that of Mojicap’s. It tells of a story of a barren couple who kept on praying for a child. One day, a diwatà (I wonder if she’s the same femme fatale from the Calibató and Palacpaquin tales) appeared to them and told them that they will be granted a daughter only if they promised not to allow her to set foot on the earth, to which the couple agreed. They named the girl Pandín who grew up to become the hottest chick in town. One day, a suitor of hers, Yambó by the name, invited her to come down from her hut while she was sewing. But Pandín, faithful to her parents’ instructions, objected. Without saying a word, Yambó immediately climbed up the hut, grabbed Pandín’s ball of thread, then threw it outside. In anger, the girl totally forgot her parents’ instructions. She angrily went down the hut to fetch her ball of thread, and to probably give Yambó a beating a la Claudine Barretto. The next thing that happened? I bet you already know — two gigantic waterfalls appeared! Joke.

6) Lake Sampáloc (104 hectares; 10 meters average depth)

Lago Sampáloc


Sampáloc, the largest of San Pablo’s seven lakes, took its name from a tamarind tree popularly known in Tagalog as champuy. Oh, I’m so nuts today. It’s sampáloc, actually. As I was about to say… a long time ago, a sampáloc tree grew in the garden of a stingy old hag who drove away a hungry old man asking for some fruit as a cure for his ailing grandson. Instead of helping him, the stingy old woman had him driven away by her ferocious dogs. Little did she know that the old man was actually a diwata in disguise (probably the first case of folkloric closet queenliness). As punishment for her selfishness, her garden and its surroundings sank into a colossal pit which was eventually filled with water. The new lake was called Sampáloc after the old tree. And thank goodness it is not called Champuy Lake.

On a side note, Sampáloc was the original name of San Pablo before the Super Spaniards came.

7) Lake Yambó (28.50 hectares; depth unclassified)

Lago Yambó


My arthritic hands are stiff and tired. But thanks to item# 5 (Lake Pandín), there’s no need to retell the Yambó story. So I am going to finish my breakfast now.

In closing, do I really have to describe in detail the prettiness of each lake? Sans the occasional eyesore (informal settlers, a couple of plastic water bottles here and there, pesky fish pens that are already stressing out Lake Bunót, etc.), even that would have been an injustice. All I can say is simply this: visiting all these lakes and reminiscing the scenes in your mind will surely make you hilariously happy that you would go nuts writing, or on whatever it is that you are doing. 🙂

*******

NOTE: All photos, except for Lake Calibató, were taken last 16 April 2012. The photo for Lake Calibató was taken the next day.

Visiting our Lady of Assumption and del Pilar’s turf (Bulacán, Bulacán)

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Every August, the town of Bulacán commemorates two very important events: the feast day of its patron, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción on the 15th (which is today!), and; the birth anniversary of the anti-friar Propagandista Movement, Marcelo H. del Pilar. Stark contrast: two events with contrasting ideologies commemorated on the same month.

A handsome ancestral house along Calle Real.

Monument of General Gregorio del Pilar. Not many Filipinos know that Goyo was a nephew of Marcelo H. del Pilar.

Cupang Bridge. Cupang was the small barrio where Marcelo del Pilar was born. It is now a part of Barrio Maysantol.

Walking along Calle Real towards the Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine.

When me and Yeyette visited the town of Bulacán a few weeks back (07/25/2011), we had Lola Bening in mind. It was to fulfill a promise that we will visit her grandfather’s shrine soon. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found out that the Marcelo H. del Pilar shrine is closed on Mondays (just like when we visited the Apolinario Mabini Shrine. Guess we’ll have to visit again.

In front of the Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine. Unfortunately, the shrine is closed.

The municipality of Bulacán —sharing the name of the Tagalog-speaking province where it is located— is one of the provincial towns that is very near Metro Manila. It can be reached, in fact, in just an hour from the City of Manila via the Municipality of Obando — but only if traffic is cooperative. When we went there, however, we rode a bus that passed through world-class North Luzón Expressway since we’re not accustomed to trips north of Manila (the Southerners that we are). We dropped off at Bigaá (now Balagtás) then rode a jeepney going straight to Bulacán.

According to sources, the town’s name was derived from the Tagalog word bulac which means “cotton” which apparently used to grow abundantly in the area. But Bulacán today does not cultivate cotton; farming, fishing, garments, and food processing are its major industries today. What I am still unsure of is whether this town was named after the province, or if the province was named after the town. But surely, Bulacán is one of the country’s oldest; it was founded by the Augustinian Order in 1572, just a year after the country was founded by the Spaniards. In fact, its church, Nuestra Señora De La Asunción, is the province’s oldest. But the stone structure and convent was built in 1762, the same year when the British invaded Manila. From there, the invaders went to as far as Bulacán and burned the church. Fray Gaspar Folgar had the church repaired in 1812. But it was damaged again by the deadly Corpus Christi earthquake of 1863. Another earthquake in 1869 tilted the belfry, but Fray Marcos Hernández renovated it in 1877. Restoration work was done by Fray Patricio Martín in 1885; it was completed by Fray Domingo de la Prieta in 1889.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Notice that the whole façade is standing on a plinth.

The upper part of the square pillars are designed with bricks in chevron pattern.

A slight renovation to strengthen the structure. The church is well taken cared of. Kudos!

The church's original flooring, exposed via an excavation, can be viewed on the right side of the church's main entrance.

The church's original floor, excavated but protected by glass.

The image of Our Lady of Assumption (Nuestra Señora de la Asunción).

My wife has become freakish for ancient bricks (the red-colored ones slightly covered by a modern finish).

Yeyette beside an old Santíssima Trinidad wooden cross at the church's garden.

Romanesque design of corbeled arches underneath the raking cornice. The upper part of the square pillar is designed

Bulaqueño goodies!

Afterwards, it’s lunchtime at Sizzling World!

People say that Sizzling World is quite popular here.

Some celebrities who have visited Sizzling World (this outlet and in other branches).

True, the food is good!

After lunch, we immediately resumed our walkathon.

The church's bell tower at the background.

Mag pan de sal muna tayo.

Casa Delgado

After our lunch and some pan de sal, we walked a few more streets to look for more ancestral houses. Thankfully, we chanced upon this beautiful architectural gem…

Yeyette inquiring about the unoccupied house from bystanders.

It was obvious from the outside that the house is already abandoned. But we had to make sure. Yeyette asked around for confirmation. The house actually was “semi-abandoned”. Nobody lives there anymore but it is still owned by one Jack Rodrigo who just lives a few paces from the house. After receiving directions, we set for his house.

He’s a gentleman who appears to be in his late 40s. Yeyette introduced ourselves and told him that we’re bahay na bató aficionados, and that we just want to take photos of the house’s interiors. The kind sir, however, prohibited us from going inside the house due to “paranormal” reasons.

In the past, Mr. Rodrigo said that he allowed his ancestral house to be photographed from within. Some movie companies have also rented it. In fact, scenes from the classic Pancho Magalona film Luis Látigo were shot inside that house. However, he started receiving reports that people who go inside the house to take pictures and film movies have noticed strange things happening to them. Bad luck and other unfortunate incidents followed them home. Some of them got sick. The more unfortunate ones were even possessed (assumedly by evil spirits).

It sent shivers up my wife’s spine; I took it all in stride. But when Mr. Rodrigo mentioned that he reported these strange occurences to the local priest, I have to admit that it got into me somehow. If the Church is involved, then this has got to be serious and not just mere “tacután” talk from people who are fans of urban legends and creepy stories. Mr. Rodrigo himself has not gone inside that house —the very house where he grew up— since his college years.

He said that the house had been blessed once or twice, but nothing happened. The hauntings continued, especially when the house is disturbed by tourists. I asked Mr. Rodrigo for the name of the house (Filipino houses usually bear the last name of the family who owns it). The name is Casa Delgado, the family on his mother’s side.

The name Delgado rang a bell. I asked him if it was the home of Francisco Delgado, and he confirmed it.

“Yes, it is the ancestral house of former Senator Francisco Delgado, my great grandfather. The house was built in 1886. Senator Delgado was also a cousin of former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican,” informed Mr. Rodrigo.

Senator? Cousin? Something was wrong….

“I’m also related to another senator…”

“Yes, I think I know,” I butted in, remembering his surname. “Senator Francisco ‘Soc’ Rodrigo.” Wifey was impressed. She then proceeded to tell Mr. Rodrigo that I’m a historian. I should have corrected her: I’m no historian, just a history buff. I got no PhDs or MAs.

In the end, Mr. Rodrigo allowed us to go through the gate to take pictures of his great grandfather’s ancestral house.

An old carroza for the santos.

1886, the year when this house was built.

Since we were not allowed to go inside, I just took a photo of the interiors from the window beside the main entrance. My camera caught nothing eerie.

The grass around the house was very high, and snakes abound. The place is impassable without the proper tools to ward of the grass and the snakes.

Talk about creepy...

A stone post above Casa Delgado's ancient walls.

*******

On our way home, I kept on thinking about that conversation we had with Mr. Rodrigo. There was something amiss. Francisco Delgado? Senator?

I did some research online and in my library. And then it hit me.

The Delgado I had in mind was not Francisco Delgado, after all. It was José Mª Delgado. I got both persons all mixed-up in my mind. Francisco Delgado y Afán was a Resident Commissioner 2 to the 74th United States Congress during the American Occupation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1937. He was a Freemason. On the other hand, his cousin, José Mª Delgado, was a soldier of God: he was the first Filipino to be appointed ambassador to the Vatican. The Freemason senator is from Bulacán town; the Christian cousin is from Malolos.

Cousins with different ideologies: one Freemason, the other, Christian. Another stark contrast.

Is the late senator’s affiliation with Freemasonry the reason why his house remains uninviting and unsafe to mortals?

*******

The people we talked with were hospitable, and even invited us back for the town fiesta. To bad we couldn’t be there today. Anyways, happy fiesta, Bulacán!

Writing on putrid air

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Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. —Paul Rudnick—

Seriously, writer’s block is starting to become a bore. Attempting to jump off from a 40-storey-high building didn’t even inspire me.

Will somebody puh-leaze send an ambulance? 😦

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