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More “new propagandists” to the Filipino cause!

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It has been a little over a year since I quixotically boasted of a new “Filipino supergroup”, a group of “new propagandists” who will face the leyenda negra that has been twisting the minds of millions of chicharón-munching Filipinos. We had talked and agreed of consolidating our ideas, our advocacy, into one coherent and compact body whose nucleus would be a website with a search-engine-attractive name (yeah, something with the name “Filipina” in it — porn surfers beware!). But, as mentioned, it has been over a year…

So where’s the multi-zillion-euro website that I’ve been tellin’ everyone?

Due to time constraints, lack of technical know-how, personal matters, paella fever, and finances (contrary to popular belief, we’re not made of money), this cute little project of ours kept on stalling like MRT coaches. But the dream hanged in there, like a trapo politician.

Then suddenly, one very cold December morning, I bumped into a rocker dude (through a mutual friend who’s actually the niece of a living legend in Filhispanic literature), and he’s into designing and developing webs! The rocker dude is Santos “Tuts” Trangía. His cool-soundin’ last name, aside from complementing his cool attitude and friendliness, reminds me of Old Manila’s Frisco-like tranvías (makes me wanna wish that my last name’s República). He’s an axeman for the indie rock band At Helen’s Wake, whose first EP will be out soon. And whoever Helen is, I have no idea; I’ll ask Tuts when I get the chance. So at gunpoint, I was able to make him agree to help us out with this website once and for all. We hope to begin this weekend.

Another good news: I finally found someone! And man, that did knock me off my clammy feet! And that someone is someone who is feared by many WASP-educated “nationalist kunô” UP historians et al. who shamelessly worship images of Zeus Salazar inside their respective toilets. Without further adieu, this someone is none other than controversial historian, the great Pío Andrade, Jr., “the Scourge of Carlos P. Rómulo”, the número uno investigative historian, the next big thing in Philippine historiography! Yes, sir Pío has promised yours truly a few days ago to deliver the goods once our website is up and running (hopefully on or before this summer).

Still more good tidings! Tourism expert —and our group’s dearest online friend from dear old Spain— Juan Luis García (not related to fellow propagandist José Miguel García, a full-blooded Filipino guerrero) is now part of our “online clique”, le guste o no le guste, ¡jajaja!. Juanlu has been very supportive of our group and our advocacy since day one. Also, he has a couple of tourism projects in mind for our country (this he discussed personally with José Miguel when he visited the country last year) — and all this being thought of by a Spaniard, for crying out loud! So what better way to gift him than with a “free membership” into our group? And this free membership comes with a freebie as soon as he comes back to the Philippines for a visit: a Regular Yum with Cheese value meal from Jollibee courtesy of Arnaldo!

Coincidentally, today marks the first year anniversary of Juanlu’s pro-Filipino blog, VIAJAR EN FILIPINAS! Congratulations are in order!

We still await for Chile-based writer/historian Elizabeth “Isabel de Ilocos” Medina‘s response. She’s a distant relative of both Arnaldo and Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera. Also, another heavyweight scholar will join us. But that’s for another blogpost, folks!

Fun days are expected — on our part, that is.

WASPos, anti Filipinos, “Abakada” Pinoys, and all the others who like to go back worshipping trees and scribblin’ on tree barks… your happy days are numbered.

Because THE TRUTH is on our side.

Y todo esto es para el gran honor de Dios, el fuente de nuestra identidad verdadera.

Saint Rose of The Lagoon (Santa Rosa, La Laguna)

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Much of La Laguna’s towns were Franciscan frontier. But among a handful of its picturesque towns, the now bustling City of Santa Rosa earns the distinction of being a Dominican haven. The hardy Order of Preachers gave it the distinguished name of Santa Rosa, named after that young and beautiful beata from Lima, Perú, Isabel Flores de Oliva (some sources say Isabel de Herrera).

Santa Rosa de Lima por Claudio Coello.

Born on 20 April 1586, her name was changed to Rosa a decade later, owing to a claim that her face miraculously transformed into a rose when she was still a child. Later on, she modeled her life to that of St. Catherine of Siena. And as a testament of her linkage to everything holy, Rosa was confirmed by another blessed hispanic: Turibius of Mongrovejo, the Archbishop of Lima.

Despite being one of the most beautiful women of her time, Rosa was often disturbed by that fact. Surprisingly, she treated her beauty to be a distraction and a magnet for temptation especially since at an early age, she had already decided to give her life only to Christ Jesus. To remedy it, she disfigured her face with pepper and lye! Like other mystics and beatas, she also practised corporal mortification and fasting, focusing her mind to prayer.

It is said that beauty invites temptations, and Rosa was no exception to it. As a woman of exceptional beauty, she did many strange things to ward of temptation — aside from rubbing her face with pepper and lye, she cut off her long hair, did manual labor to make her delicate hands rough, wore coarse clothing, etc. And to finally defeat the temptation to get married, she joined the Third Order of Saint Dominic, thus taking a vow of perpetual virginity.

After a brief life of holiness, the Lord gave her eternal rest on 24 August 1617. Fifty years later, on 15 April 1667, she was beatified by Pope Clement IX and was finally canonized on 12 April 1671 by Pope Clement X. Rose became the first Catholic in the Americas to be declared a saint.

A statue of St. Rose of Lima fronting the parish church of Santa Rosa City, La Laguna province.

The Dominican missionaries who arrived and preached in Barrio Bucol of Tabuco (later to be known as Cabuyao), La Laguna brought with them the Peruvian saint’s memory and legacy. And when the said barrio separated from Tabuco some time in the late 1600s, it was renamed after Saint Rose of Lima. But the municipality itself was formally founded on 15 January 1792.

Today, Santa Rosa is a bustling first-class city, proud of bearing the nickname “The Investment Capital of South Luzón” due to its many multinational companies and industrial estates, popular malls, as well as high-end residential communities. It is also the home of the world-class Enchanted Kingdom, a 17-hectare theme park.

Truly, this once picturesque Hispanic town –once tinged with pastoral scenes of fresh farmlands, cool forested areas, and a crystal-clear Laguna de Bay– has gone a long way. Sadly, the “curse” of cityhood which sprang forth from nearby Metro Manila (air pollution, congestion, greed and criminality, etc.) has crept up. Nevertheless, Santa Rosa still has retained vestiges of its former beauty through its remaining Antillean houses which still stand around the handsome old church of Santa Rosa de Lima.

Here are the pictures which I took of Santa Rosa’s oldest parts last Easter Sunday (04/04/2010) with my daughter Krystal.

The Santa Rosa Arch.

Iglesia de Santa Rosa de Lima.

Gusaling Museo.

Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church, since 1792.

A jampacked Easter Sunday mass.

An image of St. Rose (holding an infant Jesus) of Lima, Perú. The town (now a city) of Santa Rosa was named after her.

Paintings of apostles at the ceiling of the church's west transept.

The handsome retablo.

Paintings of the four gospel (New Testament) chroniclers underneath the cupola.

Young choir singers behind Krystal (by the east transept).

Gravestones in Spanish. Gravestones are a usual sight inside old Philippine churches. They are installed inside the sidewalls in honor of a church's patron/donor.

At the choirloft. Many choirlofts today are no longer used for what they are supposed to be.

Inside the churchtower. I was hoping that perhaps renowned metallurgist Hilarión Sunico, who lived during the Spanish times, cast those bells. Krystal and I found out that he actually did, and that they are still in use after all these years!!!

Sunico's bell overlooking the town and the lake yonder.

More or less 75% of church bells inside old Philippine churches were cast in Sunico's home in Calle Jaboneros, San Nicolás, Manila.

Unafraid of heights!

The old municipio, now a museum.

Casa Zavalla.

Casa Zavalla.

Casa Tiongco.

Casa Perla.

Another Zavalla house.

Pahiñgá muna. =) But hey, do you see another bahay na bató casualty in the background? Adding insult to injury, campaign posters were posted on the exterior walls. Talk about double murder! Anyway, I think those Langháp Saráp peeps should pay me for this photo. Seriously!

And yes, UnionBank should pay me too, LOL!!!

But seriously, this UnionBank branch should be commended for preserving this bahay na bató. Good job, folks!

Casa Gonzales. This was the home of Basilio Gonzales, a local Katipunan leader who successfully invaded the townhall in 29 May 1898, eventually becoming the leader of the town until the American invaders arrived. What goes around comes around.

What a travesty. But that carving over the gate...

...what does it mean? Cornucopia?

That electrical post is an eyesore. So much for city planning.

An old house with another queer symbol on top of it.

SM City Santa Rosa.

Here’s hoping that the city government of Santa Rosa will also strongly focus on its town’s namesake (and how come it is not a sister city of Lima, Perú?). Although the city bears no roses nor beatas, its holy name still evokes its holy Dominican origins. Aside from Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Saint Rose of Lima is also the Philippines’ patron saint. And may that fact bring around a multifaith sentiment among the people of Santa Rosa City.

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