Tuesday, April 24, 2018


The early images of Angeles (early name: Kuliat), came mostly from the family and descendants of the founders, Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda and Rosalia de Jesus. The two earliest santos—San Angelo Custodio (now enshrined at the Holy Angel Chapel) and Virgen del Rosario (in the central niche of the Holy Rosary Parish and used in La Naval celebration) date from the 1830.

By 1835, Kuliat had a Pio Quinto (Pius V) , San Juan (St. John), Sto. Domingo (St. Dominic), Magdalena Mary Magdalene), Nazareno (Nazarene), Apung Mamacalulu (Lord of the Holy Sepulchre), Manalangiñ (Agony in the Garden), Bayung Dacap (Arrest of Christ), Macagapus (Scourging at the Pillar), Desmayadu (Fainted Christ), Macalucluc Batu (Crowning of Thorns), Tercera Caida (Third Fall) and Sta. Veronica.

In 1836, the Sanchez Family, headed by the matriarch Fernanda Sanchez, had a processional San Pedro image made. A relative,  Casimiro Sanchez,  had earlier commissioned the image of Christ being crowned with thorns.

When Fernanda passed away, the image was bequeathed to heir Don Lorenzo Sanchez, who used to have a stately residence in front of the more famous Pamintuan Mansion. It was in his house that future president Manuel L. Quezon stayed when he attended the first anniversary of the Philippine Republic in 1899 as member of Aguinaldo’s staff. Designated caretakers were Jose Galán and Quiteria Espiritu.

Fernanda’s San Pedro, wrought by an anonymous craftsman, was accompanied by a silver rooster atop a 4-cornered column. The centuries-old image itself is masterfully carved with head gazing heavenward, with two keys dangling from his clasped hands. This San Pedro has a wide forehead, with more luxurious locks and a full beard.  The city’s San Pedro is rarely seen, but participates in the La Naval celebration of Angeles every October.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

310. Santo Stories: KAMBAL NA KRUS OF TONDO

On March 23, 1922, Crispino Lacandaso, a young carpenter, was chopping wood from a felled, hundred year-old sampalok (Tamarindus indica) tree on a vacant  lot at 1885 Juan Luna Street, Gagalangin, Manila. 

After much difficulty, the laborer managed to cleave the trunk in two. To his amazement, he saw a dark cross on a base, imprinted on both halves of the wood. The discovery of the twin crosses—Kambal na Krus—was considered a miracle, and instantly created a sensation among devout Catholics in the area.

The pieces of wood were subsequently encased in glass, and later, installed in a small chapel that was built as a shrine where devotees  could come to venerate the sacred twin crosses. One piece is a bit larger than the other, but both are adorned with burst of metal rays or rostrillos, and draped with embroidered cloth serving as capes of sorts. 

The trunks, which have darkened with age making the crosses less visible, flank a carved figure of crucified Christ. The chapel continues to be a center of pilgrimage and has been renovated many times, the last one as recent as 2013.

The Chapel's Discovery Day is on 23 March, but the actual celebration is held on the 3rd Sunday of March. During the fiesta, many people flock to the Chapel to venerate the crosses, showing gratitude for the past year's blessings. The Kambal na Krus Chapel is also a favorite visita iglesia pilgrimate site during Maundy Thursday.

"KambalnaKrusChapelTondojf9663 06" by Ramon FVelasquez - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KambalnaKrusChapelTondojf9663_06.JPG#mediaviewer/File:KambalnaKrusChapelTondojf9663_06.JPG

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


In one of the exclusive villages in Makati is the residence of a private collector--an academician,  translator, author and professor, who has cultivated a taste for fine Philippine antiques. A fellow Kapampangan, I met this getntleman at our cultural study center, which attracts many scholars of history and cultural heritage workers like him. I had the privilege of being invited to his home, where I had a peek at his modest collection of local sacred art. These are mostly santos that run the range from folk to classical, simple to ornate, wood to ivory. Just look at the treasures that his house holds: 

 A small, ivory Nino with a dressed manikin body, and housed in its own urna.This must have been a part of a Holy Family tableau.

 A folksy trio representing the Holy Family. The heads and hands are made from carved bone. The santos have primitive bodies with wire armature arms. In their original embroidered satin dresses.

 A very small polychromed Bohol Virgin with a replaced ivory head and hands, standing on a cloud base carved with cherubs. It is housed in an equally colorful urna.

 This is a large Santo Nino, darkened and reddened with age. Outfitted with glass eyes, it has a clownish expression and the carving style has a distinct folksy feel.

 I helped the collector acquire this beautiful  3-foot image of the Immaculate Conception by introducing him to an office mate whose fiance's family once ran an antique shop in Greenhills that has since closed down. Despite the crack on the body, the carving of this figure, and its original encarna, are superb.

 A wooden, painted icon of the Holy Trinity. It is painted on a thin, wooden board. Bohol provenance.

 This century-old processionl head of a Cristo for an Agony in the Garden tableau is an outstanding piece, finely carved with details like the high cheekbones, exposed teeth, deep nostrils, and the fine strands of hair on his beard,

 Crucified Christ rendered in ivory, hangs on a hardwood cross outfitted with silver accessories: cantoneras (finials), YNRI, rayos, Christ's potencias, and tapiz. Ot is housed in a glass dome (virina).

 A primitive Sacred Heart of Jesus. The moonface-figure has very little details as seen from the simple drapes on his vestment.

 Another wonderful example of a polychromed Virgen from Bohol enshrined in her own nail-less urna or altar, painted with still-vibrant colors.

 A forlorn-looking Christ the King figure seated on his thrown, missing a scepter and a crown.Such figures are enthroned in family homes, often in the living room.

 Sleeping Santo Nino in ivory. prized in many Filipino homes, Heirloom Nino Dormidos are often passed from generation to generation.

 A naif carving of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers and laborers. This small santo,with its trademark polychrome painting,  comes from Bohol.

A well-carved crucifix, with the corpus of Christ in wood. The dead Christ wears a silver loincloth, and his head sports silver tres potencias and a crown of thorns. The end finials of the cross plus the YNRI, are all made of silver.