The Manaoag Church… The Pilgrim Center of Northern Philippines

In the Philippines, we always have the 1st of November declared as a holiday. For this year, we had October 31 and November 1 declared as “non-working holidays”. Of course, most of the Filipinos, including me, took the 30th of October as a “self-declared” holiday which gave me a five day respite from work. 😀😀😀

… And off we go to my home town province where I was born, Manaoag (“mana-wag”), Pangasinan (“pang-gasinan”).  Manaoag is located about 200 kilometers north of Metro Manila via North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) going through Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway (TPLEX). It’s about 3 hours drive from Metro Manila. One of the places to visit in Manaoag, specially if you’re a Catholic, is the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag.






The Manaoag Church was formerly called “The Chapel of Santa Monica” in  the 1600s before it was named as “The Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag”.  Believe it or not, Manaoag was originally called as “Santa Monica”.

On weekends, thousands of Catholics visit the shrine to attend mass and have their cars/vehicles, and other things blessed. The center of devotion is the Lady of the Holy Rosary, which is also known as “Nuestra Senora de Manaoag” or plainly called “Apo Baket”, which means “Divine Goddess”. Catholics believe that the image of the Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag possesses miraculous powers.

“Pilgrimages reach their peak during Lenten and Easter seasons, during the month of May and October during the feast of Holy Rosary. Before the Dominician arrived, the Augustinian missionaries put a the Visita of Santa Monica, (the former name of manaoag), which they visited from Lingayen. As early as 1600 the Augustinians had put a modest chapel where the cemetery is now located. It was turned over to the Dominician in 1605 and was served from Mangaldan.

The first Domician priest to work in Manaoag mission was Fr. Juan de San Jacinto, O.P who was the curate of Mangaldan. It was not until 1608 that Mangaldan mission was formally accepted by the provincial chapter of the Dominician order. In 1610.

Fr. Tomas Jimenez, O.P. took over the mission community was transferred to the present site on a hill. A large church was commenced in 1701 under the sponsorship of Gaspar de Gamboa and his wife Agata Yangta, wealthy residents from Manila who transferred to Lingayen.

An expansion of the church began in 1882 was frustrated by the earthquake of 1898 and the whole church with is treasures was destroyed by the fire lighted by the revolutionaries in May 1898.

The miraculous image of the Virgin of Manaoag was narrowly missed destruction; it was found abandoned behind the church, and from June to October had to be kept in Dagupan for safety. Invited by Fr. Mariano Pacis, a diocesan parish priest of Manaoag, the Dominicans returned in 1901.

Under the aegis of the Order, the church began in 1882 was finally completed to a large extent in the years 1911-1912; the central retablo (altar of Virgin) was completed by the famed Tampinco studio in Manila. The transept (the arms of church) was completed in 1931-1932.

The Dominicians ceded all their Pangasinan missions to the mitre (i.e to diocesan clergy), with the exception of Manaoag. Spiritual administration of the shrine in perpetuity was given to the Dominican Order by the Holy See in 1925.

The image was canonically crowned in 1926. It means that the Church through Holy See officially recognized and proclaimed that the Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag had granted favors and blessings through her devotees through the centuries.

The old convent now houses the Our Lady of Manaoag College, formerly Holy Rosary Academy founded in 1946 by Fr. Teodulo Cajigal, O.P., the last Spanish Dominican in Manaoag.

Since December 8, 1972, the Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag has been under the care of the Philippine Dominican Province.” (excerpt from Minor Basilica Manaoag website)


The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag was declared a Minor Basilica by Pope Francis on October 11, 2014.




A valuable tip to those who plan to go to the Minor Basilica of our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, visit the shrine on weekdays to enjoy the place as you will find it “jampacked” with pilgrims on weekends and holidays, specially during the Lenten Season.

Nuong bata pa ako…!

I sometimes miss these days…

… Nuong sumasabit ako sa dyip habang may sumisigaw ng “… Valiches, Novaliches”!

… Nuong umaangkas ako sa traysikel na kakalog-kalog dahil sa lubak na daan!

… Nuong sumusundot ako ng pisbol sa kalyeng mausok at maalikabok at isasawsaw sa sukang punong-puno ng naiwang pisbol na lumulutang pa!

… Nuong nagbabasketball sa kanto na ang pustahan ay isang litrong Coke at handang maki-ramble dahil lang sa isang litrong Coke!

… Nuong nakikipagsiksikan sa bus at pinagpapawisan ang kilikili sa init dahil walang aircon pa ang mga buses nuon!

… Nuong tumatakbo at naghahabol ng dyip sa may Blumentrit para makasakay!

… Nuong naglalakad sa gatuhod na baha sa may Dimasalang!

… At higit sa lahat, nuong nakikipag-inuman na isang baso lang ang gamit at sardinas na maanghang ang pulutan, solb na!

Yup, those were the days! Masaya at laging exciting ang araw! Gawin ko nga uli minsan yan to feel how exciting it was… :):):)

The Tagalog Word “Diyos” (god)… Where did it come from?

One of those things that is good to know…

Ika nga ni Ompong

​Ever wondered where the Tagalog word “diyos” (god in English) came from?

The word “diyos” had its roots in the Latin word “deus” (pronounced as de-yus) which means a god or a deity. The Latin word “deus” can also be translated as “dies” (Latin; pronounced as di-yes) or Sun in English.

The ancients worshipped the Sun as a god. In the Grecian Pantheon of Gods, they had Zeus as the primary god of Olympus which was also seen as the Sun-God. Many scholars believe that the word “Zeus” was the origin of the Latin word “deus”. Yup, they’re actually phonetically similar.

The early Spaniards, who invaded the Philippines, said the mass in Latin which used the word “deus” to mean a god. The Filipinos later on adopted the Latin word “deus” as part of their language, pronounced as “di-yos”, to mean “god”. And that’s where the Tagalog word “diyos” came…

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Clark Museum… Visiting the Past and World War 2!

During our 25th wedding anniversary last month, my kids treated us for a visual and cultural experience. Yap, you heard it right… all expenses paid by my kids. And my daughter even volunteered to be our driver from Manila to Clark and vice versa which has a distance of about 160 kilometers in total. My wife and I are both “sitting pretty” at the back of the vehicle enjoying the trip!

The Clark Museum, located in Clark Freeport Zone, Mabalacat, Pampanga, features an expanded collection of artifacts, true-to-life replicas, scenic dioramas, old photographs, murals and interactive displays among others significant to the history of Clark, Pampanga and surrounding areas, generally called Metro Clark. The Clark Freeport Zone, used to be called Clark Airfield, was a stronghold of the combined Filipino and American forces during the end of World War II and a backbone of logistical support during the Vietnam War until 1975. Following the departure of American forces in 1991, the base eventually became the site of Clark International Airport, the Clark Freeport Zone and the Air Force City of the Philippine Air Force. (Wikipedia)

The Museum tells of the Filipino spirit of bravery, industry and ingenuity of a nation’s sovereign will running through a narrative across 4 galleries. It briefly tells a story, a bigger world from which Clark grew and speaks of social and economic advances, and continuing progress.

The Museum offers four (4) galleries: Gallery 1-Between Arayat and Pinatubo A Geo Hub for the Filipino Spirit; Gallery 2 People’s Industry and Ingenuity, Filipino Spirit in Craft and Ritual; Gallery 3 Interregnum: Clark Air Field, The Filipino Spirit rechanneled; and Gallery 4 Clark Freeport: Celebrating,The Filipino Spirit Renewed and Rising.

After visiting the four galleries, we were ushered in to a 4D theatre highlighting Pampanga’s history going past forward to the present. The 4D theater offers a one-of-a-kind experience which would allow visitors to view the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 with spectacular in-theater effects including wind, bubbles and mist to add a breathtaking fourth dimension.

If you ever will have a chance to visit our country, the Clark Museum is one of the place I will surely recommend. The following photos are some of the images I took inside the Museum.  But this photo set is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more displays and interactions which will leave you in awe. 🙂





















Text Source: Visit Clark

Aeta… the first Philippine settlers!

The statue depicts an ancient Aeta, believed to be the first settlers in the Philippines. Their descendants still roam the region of Zambales and some migrated to the other parts of the country. Most of them, kicked out of their land like the Indians of North America, are now begging for food and financial assistance to live.

Isn’t it a pity that the ancient settlers are those normally put at the bottom of a country’s social caste system and the foreign invaders lord over them as if the invaders were those who settled in the country first before them?

OriginalPeople.Org: The Aeta (pronounced as “eye-ta,”), Agta or Ayta are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, Philippines. They are considered to be Negritos, who are dark to very dark brown-skinned and tend to have features such as a small stature, small frame, curly to kinky afro-like textured hair with a higher frequency of naturally lighter hair color (blondism) relative to the general population, small nose, and dark brown eyes. They are thought to be among the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations.

The Aeta were included in the group of people termed “Negrito” duringSpanish colonial rule as Negritos. Various Aeta groups in northern Luzon are known as “Pugut” or “Pugot,” a name designated by their Ilocano-speaking neighbors, and which is the colloquial term for those with darker complexions. In Ilocano, the word also means “goblin” or “forest spirit.”

The Game of Chess…!

Many countries claim to have invented the chess game in some incipient form. The most commonly held belief is that chess originated in India, where it was called Chaturanga, which appears to have been invented in the 6th century AD. Although this is commonly believed, it is thought that Persians created a more modern version of the game after the Indians. In fact, the oldest known chess pieces have been found in excavations of ancient Persian territories.

* Checkmate: This is the English rendition of shah mat, which is Persian for “the king is finished”.

* Rook: From the Persian rukh, which means “chariot”, but also means “cheek” (part of the face). The piece resembles a siege tower. It is also believed that it was named after the mythical Persian bird of great power called the roc. In India, the piece is more popularly called haathi, which means “elephant”.

* Bishop. From the Persian pil means “the elephant”, but in Europe and the western part of the Islamic world people knew little or nothing about elephants, and the name of the chessman entered Western Europe as Latin alfinus and similar, a word with no other meaning (in Spanish, for example, it evolved to the name “alfil”). This word “alfil” is actually the Arabic for “elephant” hence the Spanish word would most certainly have been taken from the Islamic provinces of Spain. The English name “bishop” is a rename inspired by the conventional shape of the piece. In Russia, the piece is, however, known as “elephant”. In the Indian lingo however, the piece is more popularly known as oont = “camel”.

* Queen. Persian farzin = “vizier” became Arabic firzan, which entered western European languages as forms such as alfferza, fers, etc but was later replaced by “queen”. Incidentally, the Indian equivalent of “queen”, rani is used for the piece by Indians.

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Some of you might be curious why some of your friends are posting this number or why this number is almost all over the social media.

It is a slang word for marijuana (or mary jane as some may call it). It was believed that marijuana’s “magic” was discovered on April 20. The kids of yester-years who get their high on marijuana used the number “420” as a code to hide what their doing from their parents.

To those who get their kick from it, they celebrate April 20 and call it as “420 Day”!


Photo source:

Who can beat Dr. Who? Who? Dr. Who?

Believe it or not!

I’m a die hard fan of Dr. Who. And I got this two Dr. Who pocketbooks way back in 1981 when I was in 2nd year highschool. My Dr. Who pocketbooks are now 35 years old and I am still reading them from time to time. Never mind if they’re a little bit torn with lots of rabbit ears, I still like ’em a lot!

Trivia: Dr. Who has two hearts making him live to a thousand years!