Friday, June 18, 2010


Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda (ca. 1765) , together with his wife, Dña Rosalia de Jesus, founded the town of Culiat in the year 1829. Culiat was renamed Angeles, dedicated to the Los Santos Angeles Custodios (The Holy Guardian Angels, or its singular Holy Guardian Angel or Holy Angel). Thus, Holy Angel became the titular patron saint of the new town while Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (La Naval) was declared as the patron saint.

Both images were commissioned and finished in the year 1830. After the death of Don Angel, the image of the Holy Angel was taken by his son-in-law, Don Mariano Henson (ca. 1798-1848, Doctor of Laws, married to Juana Ildefonsa de Miranda), who later passed it on to Maria Agustina Henson (1828-1905), who later married Pio Rafael Nepomuceno (1817-1858 ).

The image was handed down to son Juan Gualberto Nepomuceno (1852-1923), who, in turn passed it on to son Juan D. Nepomuceno (1892-1973), founder of Holy Angel University.

It is said that it was this image that inspired Don Juan to name the school that would become the biggest university of Central Luzon. Don Juan’s daughter, Teresita N. Wilkerson (1929-)took care of the image after his father’s death.

Today, it is the Holy Angel University that is the designated caretaker of this treasured image. The Holy Angel, about 48 inches tall, stands side by side with the two-foot Child he is protecting. His antique silver accoutrements include a flowered tiara, beaten wings and a cloud base in the shape of a half-orb, made during the time of Augustinian Fr. Guillermo Masnou, parish priest of Angeles.

It was last restored in 2006 by Apalit carver, Nicolas Lugue under the supervision of Mr. PJ Nepomuceno, grandson of Don Juan Nepomuceno and an antique santo collector of note. He also had a new set of vestments made for the tableau, using recovered gold embroidery from an antique santo cape, ably put together on velvet fabrics by Sasmuan bordadero and vestment maker, Ely Mangalindan. The image stayed in a small chapel housed in one of the school buildings.

In 2010, a magnificent chapel for the University was completed, and there, inside the main niche of a gothic altar carved by Spanish-trained carver Willy Layug, the Holy Angel now reposes, a grand and permanent home for a historic icon, one of the most beautiful and most important relics of the city of Angeles.

My Good Angel, God has sent you to take care of me. Shelter me under your wings, lighten my path and direct my steps. Do not leave me, stay near and defend me against the spirit of evil. But above all, come to my help in the last struggle of my life. Deliver my soul so that with you, it may praise, love and contemplate the goodness of God, forever and ever. Amen.

Angel of God My Guardian dear
To whom God’s Love

Entrusts me here

Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guard

To rule and guide