Thursday, January 7, 2021

341. Santo Stories: LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION of Guagua (under the care of the Tiongco-Villacorta Family)

LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION, Guagua

The story of the beautiful LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION of Guagua begins over a hundred thirty years ago, and has come to involved extended families beginning with Hipolito de Mesa Leoncio and wife Francisca Simon Chingcoangco, the first known owners of the image of the young Virgin.

The couple had acquired the image, and several others, in 1910, from Fr. Maximo Veron, the then-parish priest of La Natividad de la Virgen Church (now known as Immaculate Conception Paris of  Guagua). The other icons included the lifesize  Sto.Entierrro (“Apung Señor), Sto Niño Dormido (sleeping Child Jesus), and San Jose.

STO. ENTIERRO

NINO DORMIDO
 
More of these santos were acquired the same way by the couple’s cousins like the San Juan (Songco Family), Sta. Maria (Lozano Family) and Sta. Filomena (Lagman Family). 

LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION, was often described by the old members of the family as “beautiful beyond compare”, a most appropriate description as the face is exquisitely carved, showing the highest level of the carver’s skills. When descendant,  Johnny Tiongco Villacorta was cleaning the image, he found on its base the carved notation--AÑO 23 ~ 12 ~ 89, which dated the making of the santa to Dec. 23, 1889. 

When the family became Aglipayan converts, LA PURISIMA was transferred to the Aglipayan Church of Guagua and enthroned there. During World War II, LA PURISIMA, along with the family’s treasured images, were spirited away for safekeeping. The Virgin and the sleeping Niño were kept under the kamalig of the Gamboa Family, also kins of the family. The San Jose figure, however, did not survive the onslaught of war, when the Japanese burned the house.

LA PURISIMA used to wear a halo with 12 stars (“Dose Estrellas) which has now been lost, but she still has her star-designed, diamond-studded rostrillo (facial aureole), silver earrings in the shape of cherubs, and a gold pendant. Thankfully, she also has retained her century-old  “tiso de oro” vestments. 

In her old age, Lola Pacing Lozano, the eldest child who died at age 95 in 2004, once wistfully said to her twin siblings Minang and Sidang: “Ikwa tana mengatwa at mangamate obat, ing Virgen tamu sidsad ya parin keng lagu” (We have all grown to this ripe, old age, and some of us have passed away, but our Virgin still remains as beautiful as ever). Indeed,  through all these years, she has remained “beautiful beyond compare!”


The custody of the image of LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION (fondly called “Apung Puring” by the elders),as well as Apung Señor, the Niño Dormido and the replacement image of San Jose has  been entrusted to grandson Johnny “Buda” Tiongco-Villacorta, exacting a promise from him  to continue the family tradition and never to sell them. “Sadsad mula… pakyapusan at sundu mu ing gagawan mi karela agyang magdildil na kayu mung asin.  E yula pamisali, pangaku mu kekami yan” (Carry on..,care for them the way we did even if you go hungry, and have nothing to eat but salt. Promise us never to to sell them..).

CREDITS: All information and photos courtesy of Mr. Johnny Tiongco Villacorta

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

340. SAINT MARTHA, THE DRAGON TAMER: Inspired by the Image Venerated in the Town of Pateros, Metro Manila

By Tereso “Terry” Raymundo Garcia, Guest Writer

STA. MARTA OF GARCIA FAMILY

Saint Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, is famously known as the patroness of cooks and housekeepers because of the Gospel narrative of her unselfish service to Jesus. 

STA. MARTA PATEROS IMAGE

It was in 2013 when I first saw the somehow peculiar image of the patroness of Pateros. This small and fully sculpted figure of Saint Martha stands on top of a crocodile, reminiscent of a local legend wherein the saint saves the town from a reptile that has been terrorizing the place and jeopardizing the livelihood of the inhabitants.

The Pateros image is similar to how Saint Martha is depicted according to French lore. Saint Martha’s attributes are derived from an event of principal significance in the traditions of Provence, France: the slaying of the beast known as the “Tarasque”. 

According to pious tradition, Martha and other disciples were banished from the Holy Land after the resurrection of Jesus. She, her siblings, and other disciples were put in a boat without oars which subsequently landed in Provence. Martha first settled in Avignon then went to the region that is now called Tarascon. Martha was approached by townspeople seeking her aid in combatting a fierce dragon,half beast and half fish, which had plagued the Rhône region between Arles and Avignon. 

With a cross in her hand, Martha doused the monster with holy water with a sprig of hyssop. Through her efforts, the monster was subdued; Martha bound it with her belt and it was put to death by the onlookers. The place was later known as Tarascon to remember this event. Saint Martha lived the remainder of her life in this place, and her relics are presently venerated in the town church. 

STA. MARTA, the commissioned image

In gratitude to an answered prayer through the saint’s intercession, we commissioned an exact replica of the Pateros image in 2015. The “de tallado” image was then dressed in traditional beaded vestments known as “abolorio”. 

RESTORATION WORK BEGINS

By March 2018, our devotional image was in need of restoration. We approached the well-known santo-restorer, Dr. Raffy Lopez, for this project. Dr. Lopez suggested on how the restoration will be done so as to make our image unique but still faithful to the traditional iconography. 


The head and hands were re- done in ivory and the painted wooden body was dressed in vestments embroidered in gold threads. The brass metal works were replaced with jeweler-made silver and gold accoutrements designed by Dr.Lopez. 

After two months of meticulous work, our Santa Marta is again ready for veneration. Dr. Lopez and his team did a superb job in redefining our family’s image. Beautiful would be an understatement; a restoration truly beyond expectation. 

In the gospels, Martha was portrayed as someone diligent and meticulous; she was surely one of the first to believe in Jesus. The Lord was often a guest in her home, especially during the time of His public ministry in Jerusalem. 

Saint Martha also gives us a strong witness of faith. We see, in her response to Jesus’ questions after the death of her brother Lazarus, a total belief, a faith that does not hesitate, does not doubt. Martha has complete confidence in God, even in the face of what seems impossible on a human level.

ABOUT THE GUEST WRITER: TERESO “Terry” RAYMUNDO GARCIA is a University of the Philippines graduate who currently write content for an online site. Previous to this, he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Angeles City, and DBP. An avid santo enthusiast, he is a devotee of Sta. Marta, Sta. Teresita de Nino Jesus, Padre Pio, St. Charbel Makhlouf, San Luis Gonzaga and Sto. Nino.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

339. FACES OF CHRIST


FACE OF CHRIST, Small painting on canvas. (PC)
As imagined by man, and created by hands both trained, unschooled and self-taught. Here are His Holy Images, captured in Western classical paintings, Mexican tin retablos, Philippine icons, and various portraits on wood, canvas, cloth and glass.
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SAGRADO CORAZON, by unknown Filipino painter. (PC)

HOLY FACE, vintage painting, after the Shroud of Turin. (PC)

ECCE HOMO, 19th C.pastel on board, U.S. (PC)

CHRIST BEARING HIS CROSS, Oil on canvas, 19thc, (PC)

BEHOLD THE MAN! 1940s U.S.painting, (PC)

ECCE HOMO, Undated and anonymous Phil. painting
sighted at a Tiendesitas antique shop.

SACRED HEART, American vintage painting on ebay.

ECCE HOMO, Reverse painting on glass, 19th c. (PC)

STO. ENTIERRO, painting on tin, Philippines (PC)

AGONY IN THE GARDEN, '50S painting (PC)

ORACION, by Domingo Celis, 1950s, (PC)

VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS,
Station of the Cross, painting on tin, 1900s. (PC)

*PC = Personal Collection, all others, from private collections and shops.

Friday, September 4, 2020

338. ARTE MEXICANO: A Sampling of Mexican Religious Art

18TH C. POLYCHROMED AND GILDED WOODEN BAS RELIEF MINIATURE
Traditional belief has it that, at the time of San Agustin's death, two angels plucked out his heart and placed it on a vessel. 

The Philippines and Mexico are linked by the common thread of history: both are part of the New Spanish Empire—Nueva España—that involved vast areas in North, Central and South America, and which expanded to the Philippines.  



In its quest to foster trade between the East Indies and the America across the Pacific, Spain sent Miguel López de Legazpi to the Philippines in 1565, but it was Andrés de Urdaneta, who found an easier sailing route from the Philippines  to Mexico,  facilitating the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade. Products such as silk fabrics, gold, silver, porcelain ware,  spices and gold were shipped to the Americas from Asia leading to vibrant,  commercial exchanges.


Bernard of Offida (b. 7 Nov. 1604/d. 22 Aug. 1694), born Domenico Peroni , was an Italian religious from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He lived  in servitude to his fellow friars in various capacities and he was noted for his strong Eucharistic dedication and for his holiness.


ICON PAINTING ON WOOD.
The Virgen del Carmen and Ntra. Sr. de Soledaad de Porta Vaga are important Philippine devotions in Manila and Cavite.

The Spanish conquest also introduced both Filipinos and Mexicans to a new religion—Christianity—which spawned new religious art. Casting away their ancient idols, Filipinos and Mexicans began creating new images of their new faith copied from ancient templates brought by Spanish missionaries—carving in wood, painting in native pigments and then oils,  engraving and printing on paper.





As such, there are striking similarities in the artistic output of both Spanish Philippines and Mexico, and these fine examples of obra sagrada Mexicanasantos, relieves, laminas—clearly show that; some can even pass for Philippine folk art, and vice versa,


POLYCHROMED CARVING IN RELIEF

FOKSY PAINTING ON CANVAS, 18th c.

ST. MICHAEL, oil painting, 19thc,

ST. CATHERINE, oil painting, 19th c.
SOURCES:
ALL PHOTOS: ARTE MEXICANA MAGAZINE, 1961

Saturday, June 20, 2020

337. THE PCI BANK MARIAN EXHIBIT , 8-30 Sep. 1985, Makati


Highlights from the PCI Bank Marian Exhibit held from Sep. 8-30, 1985 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Hall, PCIB Bldg. Makati. The Opening Ceremonies were attended by His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin with Mrs. Imelda Cojuangco as Guest of Honor. 

These pictures of various Marian images were featured in the book, “Bimillennium: Kaarawan ni Maria, 1985 Marian Year Book, published by Mrs. Luz M. Santos. Credits to the book publisher, as well as the photographers of these photos.

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