Thursday, August 25, 2016


 A DEVOTEE OFFERS PRAYERS at the shrine of the Tolong Hinulid
in Gainza, Camarines Sur Provinve. Photo: Juan Escandor Jr.
By Juan Escandor Jr.
Published in: Inquirer Southern Luzon March 24th, 2016 

 WITH ONLY eight villages, Gainza is the smallest among the 35 towns and two cities of Camarines Sur province, but it is expected to draw a large number of pilgrims who will venerate its three statues of the dead Jesus Christ.

 These statues, reverently called Tolong Hinulid (“tolong” means three while “hinulid” refers to someone laid to rest), were discovered in the same spot along a river in different periods of flooding in Gainza, according to accounts of residents of Cagbunga. The village is 5 kilometers northwest of Naga City and is accessible from the national highway through a concrete road crossing ricefields.

Photo: FB page, Kristian Sendon Cordero

 Nobody could say when the images comprising the trio of Hinulid were completed.

 Salvacion San Juan, 64, recalled that when she was young, she used to sneak into a bed in a room in their house where the Tolong Hinulid are kept. She giggled, remembering her father picking her up every time she would fall asleep beside the Tolong Hinulid.

 San Juan believed the devotion to the Tolong Hinulid might have started 100 years ago because her grandfather had told her about his devotion since childhood.

 When her father died several years ago at age 84, San Juan said the Tolong Hinulid was entrusted to the community. From then on, the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) took care of the statues in a chapel built to house these.

Placed inside a glass-encased platform at the backroom of the chapel, the wooden statues have different tortured expression, with bloody cuts in the faces.

 Their lengths or heights vary. The tallest, at 1.52 meters (5 feet), lies in the middle and is flanked on the right by a 1.25-meter (4 feet, 11 inches) Hinulid and on the left, the shortest image at 1.21 meters (4 feet).

 They have identical garb of white satin embroidered with gold stitches along the neckline and knotted belt of gold-colored rope and are accompanied by replicas of two white doves placed on their legs, which devotees say help bring their messages to God.

 A devotee has to touch and kiss the bare feet of the statues while praying, and hold the dove replica as they say their prayers and deliver other wishes to God.

 The ritual of bathing the Tolong Hinulid every Maundy Thursday has become a tradition that has drawn devotees from neighboring towns. It begins at 2 p.m. after the members of the PPC had prayed around the Tolong Hinulid. They dab the statues’ bodies with cotton dipped from several pails of water that would, in turn, be used to treat ailments.

 Water used during the bathing is apportioned to devotees who wait until the ritual is completed.

 Jose Teodoro Jr., 52, PPC chair, does not have enough information as to how and when the three statues ended up in their village, which is crisscrossed by meandering tributaries of the Bicol River.

Picture: Kristian Cordero

Neither could he not find a rational explanation how these remained together, even though they were swept away by floodwater from the chapel when Typhoon “Sening” battered Bicol when he was 6 years old.

 From a chapel made of nipa shingles and bamboo years ago, the Tolong Hinulid is now housed in a concrete chapel with the elevated backroom of the altar constructed to protect the statues from floods.
The Tolong Hinulid are sustained by donations from devotees that reach an average of P3,000 a month and thousands of pesos during the Lenten season, he said.

 Teodoro said the number of devotees was increasing by the year. During the observance of the Holy Week last year, more than 1,000 came until Good Friday, with people standing shoulder to shoulder as they crowded the streets going to the chapel.

A movie entitled "HINULID" , starring Nora Aunor and directed by award-winning poet and columnist Kristian Sendon Cordero, has begun filming. It tells the story of a woman and her son, who died a violent death by hazing while studying in a law school in Manila.


For those who are interested to help, kindly send your donations to this bank account “Kristian S. Cordero” BDO SM NAGA CITY Account Number: 006828010354. Kindly scan the deposit slip and send it to for confirmation. Should you need more information regarding this project, the team can be reached thru this mobile phone number 09167615121. 

Among those who have sent their support to this film project aside from the Noranians are award-winning screenwriter Ricky Lee, Albay lawmaker Edcel Greco Lagman, Pasacao Mayor Niño Tayco, and Naga City Mayor John Bongat.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

263. Krus ni Kristo #2: STO. CRISTO DE LONGOS OF BINONDO


In the oldest Chinatown in the world—Binondo—one can find an ancient Sto. Cristo fished out from a well in the barrio of Longos some time in the 16th century. Legend has it that the Chinese deaf-mute who discovered the blackened corpus of Christ in his pail, shouted in surprise—and regained his speech.

 After a cross was made for the image, the Sto. Cristo was housed at the Capilla de San Gabriel, until the 1863 earthquake damaged the chapel. The undamaged cross was then transferred to the Binondo Church. The original image of Sto Cristo De Longos was displayed near the side entrance of the church.

 A landmark shrine was erected at the corner of Ongpin St and san Nicolas St.—the site of the well where the Sto. Cristo was retrieved. Here, devotees come to see the wooden cross, honoring Christ in a fusion of Filipino-Chinese customs and traditions. The Christian cross is adorned with sampaguita garlands while Buddhist incense sticks are lit and prayers are offered by visitors of the shrine.

 A confraternity--Hermandad del Santo Cristo de Longos—founded in 1704, propagates the devotion to the miraculous Holy Cross.

PHOTOS: courtesy of Dr. Raymund Feliciano

Saturday, August 13, 2016

262. Santo Stories: SAN PATRICIO: Lola Taring’s Namesake Santo

PATRICIA'S SAN PATRICIO. Lola Taring’s namesake santo, as he appears today, a gift from a kind priest on her birthday. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is rarely seen as a religious statue in the Philippines. On his March 17 feast day, people celebrate by wearing green, a color traditionally assigned to him.

In the picturesque town of Lucban, Quezon, Patricia Villa (b. 1914/d. 2008), was known in her younger days as a pioneer catechist who taught catechism in the town’s public schools for free.

But she is also known as the owner of an old wooden santo, remarkable in that, it is almost never seen in household altars for personal devotion.

 Lola Taring, as she is called by her “apos”, owned a 15 inch image of San Patricio de Irlanda (St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland) that she treasured and kept in her lifetime. How it came to be in her possession stems from a simple act of generosity from a visitor priest who once visited Lucban.

The daughter of Leocadio Villa and Feliza Venzuela, Taring practically grew
up in Lucban. As she was born on the feast day of San Patricio—17 March 1914-- she was named Patricia. Her parents made her aware of this coincidence, and Taring developed a devotion to her namesake saint.

Early on, Taring displayed extraordinary piety, and was known to attend the daily 6 a.m. mass without fail. She received her informal education from the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a local religious congregation for women founded by the servant of God Alfredo Maria Obviar, the first residential bishop of our Diocese.

 On her 13th birthday in 1928, she had a special visitor in the person a certain Rev. Fr. Caparas, from Cabuyao. Fr. Caparas’ godmother happened to be Taring’s cousin, Remedios Deveza (who herself, owned a Virgen de los Remedios, featured in a past article on this blog).

The good father came with a special birthday surprise which he presented to the new teenager—a painted baticuling image of San Patricio, the celebrated bishop of Ireland, in his traditional green vestments, wearing a mitre and holding a brass staff. The santo is represented crushing a few snakes underfoot. The figure stands on a peaña on which is inscribed the date of presentation to you Taring. The image was said to have been bought in Manila.

For most her young life, Taring treasured the image of San Patricio, and druing the dark days of World War II, the santo was the only possession that she carried while Lucbanins fled the town that was about to be overrun by Japanese forces.

 Surviving the war, the image was restored by one of the shops of Maximo Vicente after the liberation in 1945. Unwittingly, the encarnador—who was not familiar with the Irish saint and its iconography—painted the vestments yellow.

 Taring lost both her parents early; she also never married, and although she had a house in Lucban, she stayed with the Rañola Family, whose daughter, Luz, was a close family friend and a kindred spirit, and who, like her, was also a soltera. The Rañola Family, by the way, owned the magnificent Santo Entierro in Lucban.

In her golden years, Lola Taring lived the rest of her life in Lucban, attending to church duties as a Lourdesian. She passed away at the ripe old age of 94 on 25 October 2008. The image of San Patricio was left in the care of a grand nephew, Jayson Maceo, who had lived with her and had been doted since he was a toddler.

In July 2016, the image of San Patricio was re-painted by artist Kiko Aguilar and regained his original green vestments, based on an estampita. The snakes at the foot of San Patricio are now missing. It is now under the care of the Maceo family, where it has been encased in a protective virina.

 Surely, Lola Taring is smiling down on her descendants who continue to cherish and love her namesake santo—the least they could do to honor her life and her memory.

 (Many thanks to Mr. Jayson Maceo for providing the details of this story, as well as the photos to accompany the article)

Monday, August 8, 2016


Our Lady Of Mount Carmel of the Ocampos of Quiapo
from the talleres de Nepomuceno, ca. late 1920s.

One of the most fabulous residences in historic Quiapo belonged to the wealthy Jose Mariano De Los Reyes Ocampo, lawyer, real estate proprietor and collector of arts and antiques. His father, Mariano Ocampo, was an acquaintance of the national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Ocampo owned a 1-hectare estate on both sides of the Estero de Quiapo, and on this sprawling compound, he built his mansion in 1892, in the wood and stone style. Behind the mansion, on the other side of the estero, he built an unusual structure that would come to define his residence.

This was the 3-storey “Pagoda”, built from 1936-1941, the owner’s vision of a Japanese castle. The tower was filled with Eastern imageries like dragons and cranes, but others were imagined from his own cosmic vision—like the figure of a mythical god with raised arms, standing on a giant snake, tongues of flames hovering above him.

A Catholic, he filled his estate with stone statues of saints--but the most commanding was a giant statue of our Lady of Mount Carmel sthat stood on a multi-colored globe. Over time, the estate was divided among the Ocampo heirs--Leonardo, Trinidad, Filomena, Blesilda (Miss Philippines 1954) Lucina and Gloria.

Eventually, the property was sold to differen buyers, and over time, the Ocampo mansion and the Pagoda fell into disarray. Miraculously, the spectacular stone image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel managed to survive to this day, crowded by tenement housing.

The statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, according to Jose’s youngest daughter, Gloria was created in the late 1930’s by a Nepomuceno sculptor--but it could not be the famed religious sculptor Marcelo Nepomuceno who had died in the late 20s. Further research finally revealed the name of Graciano Nepomuceno--in tandem with Anastacio Caedo--as the real maker of the Virgin on a globe.The patriarch was known to be a devotee of the Carmel Virgin, whose old ivory image was housed nearby San Sebastian Church.

 The Carmel statue, fancifully called “Mundo” by the people in the Ocampo compound, shows the seated Virgin holding the Child Jesus sitting on a giant globe.The globe is borne by seven allegorical figures who represent the people of the seven continents of the world. Beside the bearers’ feet are prayers in different languages.

 The statue was inherited by daughter Trinidad who gently reminded the people of the Ocampo Compound--“Huwag galawin ang Mundo”. After all, image has long been considered miraculous. It is said that after a generous woman had the statue repainted, her business flourished. In 2007, a a fire in the Ocampo Compound gutted down many house, but left the statue unscathed, with the blaze stopping just short of Her. But while no one dared to vandalize or desecrate the image, the Carmel Virgin was sadly neglected, abandoned and seemingly forgotten.

When Trinidad died in 2006, her daughter Rina Caniza inherited the statue of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel. A comment from her cousin—who noted how beautiful the statue was but which was just enclosed in a small lot, boxed by 3 houses—prompted Rina to embark on a personal project: to see if the image could be adopted by a Carmelite church, so that the Holy Virgin would be accessible to more people and devotees. So, she approached the parish priest of Mount Carmel Church in Manila and shared her plan.

 It was providential that the Mount Carmel Church was being renovated and had become a national shrine. Rina’s religious donation was easily approved. But with the property so crowded, the only way out for the statue was to use the back property led to to a main road. However, that property had been sold to a private individual, who willingly gave her permission to use her lot to access the Virgin.

 The next challenge was to look for a means to transport the 30 foot-tall image from Quiapo to New Manila, which was partly buried in the ground and weighs between ten to fifteen tons. The job requires more than excavation, but also earth-moving work with heavy equipment. Again, a friend of Rina’s led to an introduction to a contractor who generously agreed to excavate and transport the image to its new location for free. The ideal date for the transfer was July 16, 2016, the feast of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel, but a new date has been set.

 We look forward to the day that Our Lady of Mount Carmel have her new home at her very own church grounds—where she will continue to shower her graces to a new generation of Filipino devotees, as in the years gone by.