Thursday, November 24, 2016



 Paco was an old arrabal or district of Manila that used to be called “dilao” (yellow), from the color of turmeric, that used to grow in the area. It became San Fernando de Dilao after its Franciscan foudners, and was expanded to include Santiago, Peña de Francia and Dilao. It is also the site of a famous church built from 1809-1814 by Fray Bernardo de la Concepcion in honor of Nuestro Señor Padre de Sto. Sepulcro, also known as Señor de Paco.

PHOTO, Kendrick Dominic Yu.

 The ancient image represents the dead Christ in repose, and—like the revered Nazareno in Quipao Church-- has become the center of a long-standing tradition began centuries ago by its devotees who believe it to be endowed with miraculous powers.

PHOTO SOURCE: la, Kendrick Dominic Yu.

 The Santo Sepulcro, housed in its magnificent calandra or an elaborately carved wood and glass casket, and is taken out during its feast day in the month of August for a procession. The calandra with the Señor is borne on the shoulders of chosen male devotees, but unlike the rowdy Quiapo procession, the Christ bearers march in cadence, in a more solemn, orderly manner.

 The age-old image has also become the inspiration of a few artworks featured on this spread:


 This antique black and white print, found in a house in Sta. Rita, Pampanga many years back seem to be the oldest print of the Santo Sepulcro of Paco. The dead Christ is in his grand calandra, flanked by Nicodemus and San Jose de Arimatea, two personages who helped in the interment of Christ after the crucifixion in Calvary. The inscription promises special indulgences to those who pray before the image of the Señor, and bears the date 1814, under the term of Archbishop Juan Antonio Zulaibar.

STO. SEPULCRO DE DILAO, Antique painting on tin. 8 X 10".

 This rare and small painting of the Santo Sepulcro was obviously copied from the old print, minus Nicodemus and Jose Arimatea. It is a painting on tin, very similar to Mexican retablos. 

STO. SEPULCRO TIN PAINTING. Personal Collection.

Only 8” x 10”, the tin painting retains its original colors although its two corners have been trimmed. It was purchased from an antique dealer at the Philcite antique pavilions way back in the late 1980s.

STO. SEPUCLRO IVORY MASK FIGURE. Source: Images of Faith, by
Regalado Trota Jose. Cas Manila, Intramuros Collection

 A 19th century Santo Sepulcro with a 7 cm. ivory mask outfitted on a wooden body. The figure is encased in awood and glass calandra. Although it is not specifically identified as a representation of the Paco Christ, it was displayed at the piece Casa Manila in Intramuros along with a Santo Sepulcro embroidered art.

DETAIL OF THE STO, SEPULCRO, Embroidered art. 1817.

 Another unusual Santo Sepulcro depicting the dead Christ of Dilao was once on exhibit at Casa Manila in Intramuros. It is an exquisite example of monastic art, showing the dead Christ, with a face of ivory mounted on fabric, with all the other details painstakingly embroidered with gold thread.

STO. SEPULCRO OF PACO, Embroidered art, formerly exhibited at Casa
Manila, Intramuros.

Again, the old 1814 print seems to have been the basis of this very rare piece which is dated 1817. The artwork is double framed—first with a rectangular frame trimmed with silver panels with beaten rococo design, then encased in an octagonal frame.

whose 2 photos of the Sto. Sepulcro are used here, taken from his blog:

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