Monday, January 10, 2011



Feast of the Black Nazarene : Festival in Quiapo
January 9

The feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9 is considered one of the most spectacular religious events that take place in the Philippine history.

The Black Nazarene is the patron saint of Quiapo Manila. The statue is a life size replica of Christ that was brought to Manila by a Spanish priest in 1606. Since then, miraculous things have been reported to those who touch the image. I had touched the image myself when I was young. My father went in the church with me one day as far as I could remember. During that time, I was a bit puzzled why people queue just to touch the foot of the image which was encased in a glass cage in one corner of the church. I was too young to understand why they do that . For what ? is the question embedded in my mind during those days.

Since 1787, the statue of the Black Nazarene has been housed at Saint John the Baptist Church in Quiapo commonly known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church.

Quiapo is a small but well-known part of Manila, a hub of trade and commerce because of the Quiapo market and the many stores located there.

 It is a place I'm always fond of exploring,seeing and checking everytime I come to Manila.Personally I was drawn to the rush ambience, bustling atmosphere of the place and I really find it miraculous to live every single day there after a tremendous load of work / stress and  too much action around that area. Why ? keep reading on ...My father used to take me and my siblings there for clothes and shoes for any occassions when we were young. It's a good bargain place for good stuffs, But you should stick to the rule of thumb~ Shop as early as possible to avoid the rush and too much flow of people and bargain hard with the price you think is reasonable enough . Since I grew up going there for bargains before , I still know all the little side streets where the good bargains are hiding. This is where I buy a lot of  cheap but stylish and good quality stuffs ranging from clothes, shoes, food and anything else I can think of stuffing inside my suitcase! Like beads and gift supplies of course !

Quiapo is a place that is packed with just about everything and it is simply amazing !

But back to the story of Black Nazarene, as mentioned earlier, the statue was brought to Manila by a Spanish priest in 1607 aboard a ship. The ship caught fire, burning the image and thus came to be known as the Black Nazarene. Though the image was burnt, the people decided to preserve and honor it. Since then, miraculous things have been reported to those who touch the image.

The celebration starts as the huge door of Quiapo Church opens and the image of the Black Nazarene is within sight. The ocean of devotees start to yell “Viva SeƱor” while some wave white towel high in the air along with the scripture of the Black Nazarene.
The statue is placed in a gilded carriage for the procession. As the procession starts, procession participants garbed in maroon tops grab two long ropes and pull it to make the carriage move. Many will attempt to touch the image while some throw their handkerchiefs and towels in the air. People who join in the procession walk barefooted as a sign of humility.
The devotion to the Black Nazarene is long time practice of the Filipino Catholics and they believe that through their faith with Jesus Christ, there will be peace and harmony among families, long life and good health among people, deliverance from all calamities and disasters, and prosperity, joy and love among nations. ( article excerpts from ).


 Do you believe in miracles ? What miracles ?  I admit that I'm not a devoted catholic. To be frank, I hardly go to church nor attend a Sunday mass but I'm not proud of it myself. It just happened that the way I was brought up to believe in religion, my family was not convincing enough. Hardly any of my family members go to church. My mom goes from time to time with taking us in tow. But when she left us when I was 9 yrs old, no one else did after her. I'm surrounded by mostly uncles who do nothing but gamble and pick a fight. So going to church is like a once in a lifetime occassion for us. Although I still remember when I was a child that I try to sneak out with my friends to go to church on a Sunday. I don't know why my father is so strict about us going out somewhere. Too protective I guess ? Last Sunday mass I had happened  to go to was last year during my grandson's baptism day. In July I think. Anyway, for me , I somehow believe in some sort of miracles . But miracles only do happen to chosen ones. In that case, I do consider myself lucky to be one of the "Chosen Ones". Not only once or twice that unusual things / events happened to me in connection with Quiapo. For all these happenings , how should I call or explain it without me sounding a bit ... weird maybe ??

~ Miracle of  Black Nazarene ~

   To start with, maybe just by coincidence or whatever you may call it, my 1st child  ~ my daughter who had the wedding last month in Philippines was born on the Feast Of The Black Nazarene. January 9th in 1987.

 She was born with  Megacolon an abnormality inside her stomach. She alone took me 5 years of financial problems before she was finally fixed to a normal condition. She had a colostomy for 5 years requiring constant check ups and trips to the doctor. It was difficult to support my daughter at that time coz I became a single parent when she turned 1 1/2 yrs old and I was pregnant with my 2nd child. It was 5 years of hardship and pain knowing my daughter had already undergone 5 major operations where in the 4th one she nearly died. 5 years of trying to make ends meet on my own raising 2 kids , supporting also my mom who looks after them while I go work in the city of Manila and my stepsister who was just a small kid of 5 y/o at that time. I was just lucky I got a good salary and could make extra money selling things to friends and had met generous people who became good friends along the way who had seen my situation and helped me from the bottom of their hearts. I thanked them over and over again up to this day for the sponsorship of my daughter's medical bills. In a way, I was lucky to always find something to support my problems.
The cross I carried for 5 years had gone slowly after seeing my daughter growing to a healthy, normal child and my young son growing happily together with h . It was the greatest satisfaction I ever had ... to hear her especially laughing and playing as a normal child.

Lorenine Barbie " Potpot" when she was about 5 years old ...

Yesterday was the 9th of January and so it was your birthday !

~ 2nd Miracle Of Black Nazarene ~

Oct 19, 2007 ~ I was in Manila ( travelling from Singapore where we were based at that time ) in October 2007 with my 2 younger kids staying at the Makati Shangri-la hotel when we met our helper in Glorietta Mall Makati around 8:30am. She was in the Philippines to get married but she changed her mind so she wanted to work for me again back in Singapore. After saying hello and gave her money to fix her passport so she can go back to Singapore with us , she, the kids and I had a walk around the block. My son saw a Chinese restaurant which was still closed coz it was too early and asked if the food is good there. I said yes and tonight we will eat there for dinner coz they have good dimsum and siopao. Since all shops and boutiques of Glorietta Mall were still closed during that early morning of Friday, I decided to leave early for Quiapo . Since I'll be meeting my relatives there around 10am, the earlier, the better I said to myself. So, we went to Quiapo church earlier than scheduled coz there's more to see there anyway. I also planned to visit the Black Nazarene and searched for the mysterious "Black Rosary " saint I saw there many years ago. I also intended to introduce my filipino/ belgian kids to the sites , traditions and way of life  in Quiapo. Quiapo way of life should be something different to experience for them.  We had lunch with my father and stepsisters at Jollibee Restaurant right beside the church around noon.
  After a quick visit to the Black Nazarene plus all the fast shopping and eating sessions , at around 1:30pm , I finally decided to go back to the hotel . Kids can go swimming and cool down by the pool. While in a taxi, my hubby called from Singapore with his voice in total panic. Asking if we were shopping in Glorietta Mall that time as I what i had told him the day before.  I said no ...We're not there coz I had a change of planning. I decided to go early to Quiapo instead. That very moment he was on the phone we're on board a taxi coz we had finished all the shopping and we are on our way back to Shangri-la Hotel. He told us not to go back to the hotel coz there was a big explosion beside it and all streets were blocked by security .People had died and over a 100 got injured. My taxi driver started his radio for news and voila ! The explosion was being broadcast live ! I was totally shocked! The place where the bomb exploded was guess where ? The Luk-Yuen Chinese restaurant  in Glorietta Mall where my helper, the kids and I were standing that very morning. It shook me from head to toe . We were so lucky we were in Quiapo. So lucky that Black Nazarene had somehow saved all our lives that time we were in Quiapo. I just can't forget that day and time Oct 19, 2007 at 1:25pm when the explosion occurred . I was not able to get any good, normal sleep for like 5 days after that incident. I'd been seeing the casualties in my head everytime I close my eyes. I even got nightmares about it too. It was just terrible ! I do wish for all the dead souls to rest in peace ...

~ A Miracle in Quiapo Church  " The Black Rosary " ~

October 1984 ~ I had just finished my college degree at Far Eastern University in Manila but was not able to attend the Graduation ceremony coz it was the day I have to start working as a saleslady in a plush department store. So instead of loosing the 1st job I ever had , I decided not to attend my graduation rites. I regretted having that decision coz too late to realize the sentimental value of the event.  The happiness and excitement being part of the celebration and missed being with my classmates of few years. Oh well. That's life ... we make stupid decisions sometimes in our lifetime. For me this is one !
  Anyway, 2 days before the graduation rites, my best firend who's my childhood neighbor ( she's now married and living in the US with her family ) told me if I would like to come with here to apply for a job. I said ok why not give it a try ? I went with here to Quiapo before applying for a job as she had requested to attend a mass to pray  for goodluck. She came from a very religious family who goes to church every week without absence. She took me with her sometimes but only if when I'm in the mood to stand and sit and kneel for over an hour during the mass on a Sunday. But truthfully as I said before, I don't like going to church on a regular basis. I just don't like being there.I find it too boring. Anyways, So before applying for a job, we went to Quiapo in the morning to attend a mass. Coming in the church, vendors started pinning our clothes with religious pins and pushing their religious paraphernalia ~ rosaries, bible, cross pendants , bottled herds blah-blah-blah. An old lady pinning a Black Nazarene logo poked my skin and I yelled at her and shoved her away to stop bothering me. She looked at me in the eye and said : You behave yourself young lady, you're entering the house of God! We do put the pins just for a small amount. of donation . I told her I'm not happy to donate coz she's hurting and forcing people. It's a scam ! I took the pin off and threw it back at here which I should had not done actually. Where's my respect and manners for old folks? I know I was wrong that time to treat her that way, She is just after some money. But I was so pissed and my skin was bleeding that i couldn't think properly anymore due to pain and anger. Then my friend convinced me that we should continue going in the church. The mass had started and church was full of people. We were just able to enter by the entrance . there's no way to go in any further. So we stood there and hear the prayers of the mass I could hardly understand. I was looking down on my feet when my right ear itched. That very moment, I felt like someone was staring at me. I looked around coz I had a very strange feeling that someone was watching me. I remember seeing everyone had their heads bowed down and seriously praying. I scratched my ear and somehow, I don't know why, I suddenly looked up infront of me. There was a pillar just right infront of me and above it was a human size statue of Virgin Mary holding a baby. I was surprised to see the look in the statue's eyes coz they look so real and looking straight at me. her eyes made me feel so uncomfortable. I just don't know why ! Suddenly, both my feet started feeling numb. It was one very strange and scary feeling I could not forget. Then I realized when I scratched my earlobe that my stud earring was missing. I told my friend I had lost my earring so we both looked on the floor for it. We were looking around when suddenly I noticed my left hand was closed in a fist. I opened my hand and to my shock, my earring was there together with the stud attached to it. How in the hell did that happen ? Left hand , and the earring with its luck were intact ? I just freaked out! The saint must have had cast a spell or punishment on me that day. From then on, I never came back to Quiapo church . I was so scared ! But not until after 3 years when I gave birth to my problematic 1st child who was born on the 9th of January, 1987 which was the

My neighbor adviced me to pay a visit to Quiapo after hearing the news that i gave birth to a very sick child. Knowing the story with the earring coz she was with me, even her parents convinced me to go back to the church and pray to the " Black Rosay" statue who was looking at me. She told me it's time I pray coz my child is bearing the penalty as well. It's like a curse. So I didn't hesitate and went there with my little daughter when she was about 2.5 months and just came out of the hospital where she was confined for 2 months after she was born.

The Saint housed in this church  "The Black Rosary" which I was talking about is pictured below. I never saw the life size statue of the " Black Rosary" in Quiapo anymore after tmy 1st encounter with it . I had asked people around the church if they had transferred it somewhere else inside the church coz I really could not find it. But a devotee friend told me it was still there even after the renovation a few years back. I searched the whole church . I went behind , to the sides where people queue to touch the statues there but I never found her at all I .She was nowhere in sight. I was so sad for so many years for not being able to tell her I was sorry for what I did to the old lady the time I first saw her statue staring at me. But I always try to look for her everytime I visit the Quiapo church.

~ 2nd Miracle Of The Black Rosary ~

 June 2010~ I was in Luisiana Laguna , for my grandson's baptism. I stayed  in my son in law's parents house for 2 nights to be with my grandson even more. I was planning of going back home to my home town of Sta Cruz on the 3rd night but they won't let me go and they would like that I spend more time with them before going back to Singapore. My son in laws' parents were so nice and their hospitality to the maximum level that i can't give them a negative answer to their request . So I stayed for 1 more night. But deep inside I really want to go home to my house in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. I still have doubts of staying in Luisiana coz I can't move the way I would like to move coz it's another people's house. I felt weird somehow.
 Anyway, They're so religious that the parents go to church each and every day. Like as if they already live in the church lol ! The mother even took me to a 7:30am Morning Sunday mass ( Oh God I was like a walking zombie on the way to church coz I was still sleepy! ).

The mass made me feel a bit uneasy coz I have no idea what to say and what to sing ..I'm bad ! My grandson's baptism was on that day too right after the public mass so we stayed in the church. While wandering around the church, I saw this statue of Virgin Mary.  my heart pounced back n forth coz I thought it was the " Black Rosary" I'd been looking for over 20 years ! Unfortunately, false alarm coz it was something else. I was again so saddened not to find the Virgin Mary of the " Black Rosary " .
I really wonder ... Where is she ?

The last day I was there I was preparing my bag for the following day early morning trip  back to my house when suddenly a group of people carrying a carriage with a saint in it came in the house singing and praying. So all the people in the house gathered by the living room to pay respect to the visiting. I was looking at the statue and I started having goose bumps on my arms. The saint is a Virgin Mary carrying a baby. I was suspicious who that saint is. After all the singing and praying, I asked the people who that saint is ... they replied to me : Oh it is the :

" The Black Rosary "

I was so speechless , I was so overjoyed , so I cried ! I found her at last and she came to me directly.The statue is normally being given to a family to keep in their homes for a week for sign of goodluck, protection, good health and all other postive things. It was sent to the house coz it got nowhere to go to that week and it was my son'in law's mother's birthday that day. The people gave it to her as a birthday present to keep for a week ! I was happy I was there in the house that night. I was able to see her at last.
Her face was even smiling at me with the baby in her arms. Is that coincidence that she was brought there coz I was there and it was the day of my grandson's baptism ? I consider it a big miracle ... seeing her after all these years is another great miracle happening in my life !

Since then, I started going back to Quiapo church even more often whenever I get the chance to do my small prayers of praise and to say thank you for giving me the strenght and support all these years, as well as the miracle of a 2nd life for my daughter Potpot , birth of my cute grandson named Sealtiel ( name derived from St. Sealtiel the Archangel meaning "Prayer of God" )

This is my cute grandson ~ Rhendolf Sealtiel ~

 and for all other blessings given to me now and forever I am so thankful indeed !

Note : All pictures used were taken and owned by Wella Cornelis unless otherwise stated .

Black Jesus Pendant & Necklace