“La Naval de Manila” at the Santo Domingo Church

NS del Rosario de La Naval

It is the traditional feast day that Manila society has forgotten…

It used to be that Manila’s grandest ladies and gentlemen — from the Tuason, Legarda, Prieto, Valdes, Roxas, de Ayala, Zobel, Zaragoza, Araneta, Ortigas, Vargas, Madrigal, Cojuangco, and other affluent families — spearheaded the preparations for the annual event in honor of “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario” Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary…

Felix Roxas y Fernandez [ o 1864 – + 1936 ], Mayor of Manila from 1905 – 1917, recalled the “La Naval de Manila” novena at the Santo Domingo church in Intramuros and wrote in 1936:  “”Up to the age of nine [ in 1873 ], I remained under the care of my aunts who strove zealously to undertake the responsibility of my early education.  All of them very devout women, they frequently took me along  to the religious festivities, specially to the church of Santo Domingo during the nine-day novena of the Most Holy Rosary.  The devotion to this Virgin, who is venerated in this church, has not diminished a bit in spite of the changes and social transformations in these islands.  Last night [ October 1936 ], for example, the torrential downpour that continued during the hours of prayer was not an obstacle to the filling of the church by a devoted crowd anxious to take part in saying its prayer to the legendary Virgin, to hear the sermon of the priest who preached from the pulpit, and to witness the solemn rites of those ceremonies.””

The great Dominican feast of “La Naval de Manila” pays tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario” Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, wrought unbelievable naval victories for the Spaniards over the Dutch invaders of these islands in a series of battles in 1646.  What made the Spanish victories more miraculous was that they only had two worn galleons, the “Encarnacion” and the “Rosario,” that battled the more numerous, and better-armed, fifteen Dutch frigates.

THE IMAGE OF “NUESTRA SENORA DEL SANTISIMO ROSARIO”

Manila society venerated the magnificent and beautiful image of “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario,” a legacy of the Spanish Governor General Luis Perez Dasmarinas to the Manila Dominicans in 1593.  It was carved from [ elephant ] ivory by a Chinese sculptor under the supervision of Captain Hernando de los Rios Coronel .  The image is garbed in yards of precious “tisu de oro” cloth of gold embroidered with silver gilt thread.  The crowns of Our Lady and the Child Jesus are of high-karat gold and are studded with many precious jewels, the gifts of generations, indeed centuries, of affluent devotees.

Felix Roxas inquired with the prewar Spanish Dominicans about the origin of the image of the “Santo Rosario”…  “”I have often asked myself if the actual image of the Virgin was imported or done by some local carver.  My investigations uncovered the following facts:”

“The community of Dominican friars arrived from Mexico prior to the arrival of the Augustinians, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits in the Philippines [ Actually, the Augustinians were the first to arrive in 1565, the Dominicans arrived in 1587 . — T.G. ].  About the last years of the XVI century, on the same site where the church of Santo Domingo is actually located in Intramuros, they erected a chapel where the Virgin of the Rosary, the image about two feet high, was venerated, the same image still conserved in an urn lying between the two towers of the belfries at the outer facade of the church.  This original image was replaced by the present one which we owe to the chisel of a Chinese carver who executed the work without the intention of becoming a great artist, and completed it as if he were guided by a divine inspiration, something he himself did not take into account.”

“From August 16, 1587, this image has attracted the devotion of Catholic believers, who have multiplied manyfold, encouraged by the favors they received from her.  From the very beginning both the the Virgin and the infant Jesus in her arms have appeared with crowns on their heads.  In this way they were venerated until Pope Pius IX prepared a ritual decreeing that the coronation of images of Virgins should be done by the highest ecclesiastical authority of each land beginning with the coronation of the Virgin of Savona, Italy, who was crowned by Pope Pius IX himself.  Others followed this tradition, such as that of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, who was crowned by a delegate of His Holiness.  The turn of the Philippine images came in this century in the following order:  The image worshipped in the church of Santo Domingo in Manila; that of Penafrancia in Nueva Caceres, Camarines Sur; that of Manaoag in Pangasinan; and last, that of Antipolo, recently crowned with great solemnity in the Manila Cathedral.  The last-named coronation was special:  the Apostolic Delegate crowned the Virgin and the Archbishop of Manila crowned the infant Jesus [ sic ], each one by special instructions from His Holiness.””

[ “Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buenviaje” The Virgin of Antipolo is actually a depiction of the “Immaculate Conception” and she does not carry the Infant Jesus as part of her iconography.  Felix Roxas must have confused her canonical coronation with another revered image of Our Lady. ]

THE HISTORIC JEWELS

Historian Basilidez Bautista explained that during the Spanish era, it was the tradition of rich and devout Filipino families, specially those of Spanish extraction, to consider the “Santo Rosario” as another “heiress” to the family jewels.  An entire lot was always apportioned and forthwith donated to the Virgin.

Three of the Virgin’s legendary jewels are “the carbuncle,” the Roxas “granada de oro,” and the Roxas “concha.”

“The carbuncle” is a mythologized large red gemstone that was believed to have crowned the forehead of a large serpent that inhabited the Pasig river.  It was immortalized in a story by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, an ardent devotee of the “Santo Rosario.”  However, artist Rafael del Casal, who was privy to the Dominicans and to the image of the “Santo Rosario,” says — to great disappointment — that it does not exist.  He knows that the largest red stone in the collection of the Virgin is neither a ruby nor a garnet but paste which looks like faceted red glass and is set in the “AM” / “Auspice Maria” / “Ave Maria” cipher on the Virgin’s 19th century “plata” silver gilt dress.  Mr. del Casal thinks that “the carbuncle” could have also referred to a pearl, and recalls that the Virgin has two big pearls which are set as drops dangling below the orbs in her two gold crowns.  A pear-shaped pearl like the internationally famous and centuries-old “La Peregrina” [ currently owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor ] is set in the 1811 Crown and an L-shaped baroque pearl is set in the 1907 crown for the Virgin’s canonical coronation.

Mr. del Casal is of the opinion that Nick Joaquin’s story of “the carbuncle” is actually a metaphor for the triumph of Christianity over paganism.

The Roxas “granada de oro” [ golden pomegranate ] and the Roxas “concha” [ shell ] had a more historic — and royal — provenance:  King Norodom I of Cambodia visited the Philippines in 1872.  At a ball given by the Arnedos in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga he met and fell in love with Josefa “Pepita” Roxas y Manio of nearby Calumpit, Bulacan.  But he could not further his intentions because of their different religions.  Before his departure, he gave Josefa Roxas a precious, pomegranate-shaped jewel [ called the “granada de oro” ] encrusted with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and pearls and her sister Ana Roxas a smaller shell-shaped one [ called the “concha” ] also encrusted with precious stones.  Both Josefa’s “granada de oro” and Ana’s “concha” were donated by the sisters and their brother Rev. Fr. Manuel Roxas to the “Santo Rosario” at the Santo Domingo church in Intramuros.  The “concha” was inscribed “S.M. El Rey de Cambodia A La Sta. Ana Rojas 1872” [ “His Majesty The King of Cambodia to Senorita Ana Rojas 1872” ].  Most unfortunately, the “granada de oro” was lost after prewar.  It was last seen — hanging from the neck of the “Nino Jesus” — in a published photograph of the “Santo Rosario” in a supplement of the “Philippines Free Press” on 03 May 1930.  That same photograph showed the “concha” pinned to the hem of the embroidered garment of the “Nino Jesus.”  Unfortunately, decades later, the “concha” also disappeared upon the death of Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P., the chaplain of the Virgin, in 1982.  He had carefully kept it in his bedroom for scholarly study and it could no longer be found after he died.

THE CANONICAL CORONATION OF “LA GRAN SENORA”

It actually rained torrentially during the canonical coronation of the “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario de ‘La Naval de Manila'” on 05 October 1907…

Felix Roxas reminisced the canonical coronation of the “Santo Rosario” in 1906 [ sic ], which took place during his tenure as Mayor of Manila, and wrote in 1936:

“”I remember the glorious day of the fifth of October, 1906 [ sic ], when the canonical coronation of our Lady of the Rosary, who was venerated in the Santo Domingo church in Intramuros, was pompously celebrated in this city by order of Pope Pius X.”

“At that time, in anticipation of the said day, the prior of the Santo Domingo convent announced to the faithful devotees who used to fill the pews of the church that from that time on Manila had nothing to envy the renowned sanctuaries of Zaragoza, Lourdes, Monserrat, Begona, and many other sites selected by the Most Holy Virgin Mary as the throne of her mercies.”

“On the day set for the coronation ceremonies, as foreseen, there was an extraordinarily large crowd consisting of delegations from the provinces, carried by their devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary, anxious to witness the event.  The organizing committee in charge of the ceremonies secured a permit from me to erect a stage for the ecclesiastical authorities and lay guests invited to the memorable event on Magallanes Drive.”

“Preferential seats at the center of the stage near an altar were given to Governor General James Smith, the Commissioners, Chief Justice Arellano of the Supreme Court, the undersigned as Mayor and other officials of the insular and city governments.”

“An incessant and persistent rain fell at the precise moment when the image of the Virgin passed near the small altar where the Papal delegate, Monsignor Guidi, assisted by Mons. Petrelli as secretary, was preparing to place the crowns on the infant Jesus and on the Virgin.  Despite the rain the Governor General, who was a Catholic, calmly assisted them in the coronation rites.”

“Dona Encarnacion Roxas, the sponsor of the coronation, and her retinue of ladies, without abandoning their posts and in proof of their devotion, brilliantly fulfilled their obligation of carrying and delivering the crowns adorned with a valuable collection of precious stones.”

“From this moment almost all of those who took part and witnessed those rites firmly believed they had crowned the Virgin of the Rosary as the patroness of the Philippines.””

……. “At the risk of being repetitious, I want to relate that it was in the afternoon of October 5, 1906 [ sic ], when, in the midst of a torrential downpour, high dignitaries of the church, of the government and of the Filipino people gathered around the platform erected beside the Ayuntamiento building toward Magallanes Drive for the ceremonies.””…….

Procesion de La Naval

“PROCESION DE LAS PROCESIONES”

From his sickbed, Felix Roxas wrote in October 1936:  “”This afternoon, if the weather permits, this image will leave in a procession that will start from the Santo Domingo Church and tour around the streets of Intramuros.  Devotees will have the opportunity to look upon her once more, enthroned on the brightly lit carriage to spark the human imagination in beholding her at the height of her glory.””

In its last days of glory prewar, all of Manila society, dressed in their grandest, congregated at the Santo Domingo church inside Intramuros for the annual “La Naval de Manila” procession, which was always celebrated every second Sunday of October.

The “La Naval de Manila” procession in prewar featured only ten Dominican images interspersed with the “estandartes” banners of the fifteen mysteries of the holy rosary.   Yet, it was already the longest and the grandest of the Intramuros processions.  It was headed by the image of San Pedro de Verona, … Santa Rosa de Lima, and those of Santo Tomas de Aquino, Santo Domingo de Guzman, San Jose, and the “festejada,” the “Santo Rosario.”

Manila oldtimers remember that it was the time-honored custom for the faithful to kneel reverently, even on the Intramuros streets, as the image of the “Santo Rosario” passed by during the annual “La Naval de Manila” procession.  It was a tradition that was portrayed on film by director Lamberto Avellana in his screen adaptation of Nick Joaquin’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino.”

“CARROZA TRIUNFAL”

Just before the war, Sor Catalina de la Visitacion [ the “heredera” / heiress Vicenta Osmena y Rafols of the affluent and venerable Cebu clan;  she funded the establishment of the “Colegio de Santa Catalina de Matsuyama” in Shikoku, Japan ] of the Dominican sisters initiated — with her own substantial donation — a fund drive for the construction of a new, large, and magnificent “carroza triunfal” [ boat-shaped carriage ] entirely of solid silver [ 85 % ], an absolute masterpiece of the “Talleres de Maximo Vicente,” for the use of the Virgin during the “La Naval de Manila” processions.  Carmen “Mengay” Reyes de Reyes [ Mrs. Vicente Cecilio Reyes ], the current “camarera” of the “Santo Rosario,” told Rafael del Casal that the prewar devotees had donated real silver coins [ 85 % ] for the “carroza triunfal.”  Mr. del Casal also met the old Ireneo Taruc, a longtime silversmith at the “Talleres de Maximo Vicente,” who as a 19 year-old apprentice had labored on the elaborate silverwork of the “carroza triunfal” just before the war.  He too, remembered that it was entirely of solid silver.     Unfortunately, it was burned inside the Santo Domingo church and convent in Intramuros during the war.

The present, simpler “carroza triunfal” was a memorable work of the “taller” of Santiago Santos in postwar [ in 1946 ].  The workshop was located at the back of the University of Santo Tomas.

WORLD WAR II

The image of the “Santo Rosario,” along with the other treasures of the Manila Dominicans — the gold chalices, monstrances, reliquaries, ecclesiastical accoutrements,  silver tabernacles, candlesticks, torcheres, missal stands, banners, ornate ewers and basins, important centuries-old documents, and many other valuables — had been stored by the Spanish Dominicans in their large vault located on the ground floor of the church complex.  The late Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. described the Santo Domingo church vault to Rafael del Casal as having had very thick walls.  As the fire raged for three days and nights, and while the Manila Dominicans prayed for the safety of their greatest treasure — the 350 year-old miraculous image of the “Santo Rosario” — the great and terrible possibility loomed that the image of the Virgin would not survive the extreme heat from the fire which had completely permeated the vault — and the entire church complex as well…

According to Carmen Reyes de Reyes, by that time [ prewar ] the regalia of the “Santo Rosario” — the 1811 and the 1907 gold “coronas” [ crowns ] of the mother and child, the 1811 gold “rostrillo” and “aureola,” the gold “cetros” [ scepters ] and “baston” [ cane ], and the many donated jewels —  were no longer stored inside the “tesoro del convento” of the Santo Domingo church and convent in Intramuros, but secreted in the vaults of the old “Monte de Piedad” Bank in Santa Cruz, Manila.  That is where her great treasure stayed throughout the war.

An eyewitness recounted:

“”In December of 1941, the Japanese warplanes bombed Intramuros.  One of the first casualties was the Santo Domingo church and convent.  The towers were destroyed and only the walls were left.  The church and the convent burned for many days.  Wisely enough, days before the bombings, The Dominican friars had stored the centuries-old image of the “Santo Rosario” and her more precious vestments in the “tesoro del convento” the convent treasury, which faced Plaza Isabel II.  But because of the intensity of the fire, no one really knew if the image of the “Santo Rosario” had survived…””

THE RESCUE OF THE “SANTO ROSARIO”

But she did, miraculously as always.  The extreme heat of the fire had bent, twisted, deformed, and in fact almost melted several of the important gold and silver objects.  But  the 350 year old [ elephant ] ivory and hardwood image of the “Santo Rosario” actually survived the conflagration which had consumed her beautiful, rose-colored, Gothic-style temple from 1875 — the Santo Domingo church and convent in Intramuros, a masterpiece by the Europe-trained, patrician architect Felix Roxas Sr. — and it also finally laid waste to the historic site of her home beside the Pasig River since 1593.

An eyewitness recounted:

“”The prior of the Santo Domingo church and convent, Rev. Fr. Aurelio Valbuena, O.P. — a respected and trusted man — decided to transfer the image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ and the other church treasures to a safer place, to the University of Santo Tomas in Sampaloc District.  That was, of course, if she survived…”

“On 30 December 1941, three days before the entry of the Japanese ground forces, the Japanese air force had started the aerial bombardment of the city.  Electricity had been cut off;  blackouts were the norm.  Word went around that massive looting would take place.  Rev. Fr. Aurelio Valbuena, O.P., the Prior of the Santo Domingo church and convent, was advised by well-meaning friends and devotees to finally secure the treasures of the Manila Dominicans, paramount of which was the centuries-old ivory image of the “Santo Rosario.”

“And so, on 30 December 1941, at 4:00 p.m., everyone concerned — the Manila Dominicans, their friends and devotees of the “Santo Rosario,” two Augustinian Recollect priests, and some Manila policemen — got together at the ruins of the Santo Domingo church and convent in Intramuros to see if the ivory image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ had possibly survived the conflagration within the confines of the “tesoro del convento” the convent treasury, and if so, to bring her to relative safety at the University of Santo Tomas in Sampaloc…”

“The vault door of solid metal was extremely difficult to open.  The group initially thought of blowing it up with a grenade but they found out that it would not be necessary…”

“They decided to use an acetylene torch.  But the vault door resisted to a remarkable degree.”

“Nearly four hours later just before 8:00 p.m., They were still firing away at the mechanism of the vault door in complete darkness [ electricity had been cut off; blackouts had been imposed ].  It was very difficult to open!!!”

“Finally, by 8:00 p.m., They had already succeeded in making a small opening… A few minutes later, the mechanism finally gave way and they were able to force the vault door open…”

“The Dominican priests were eager to enter the vault but an infernal, boiling heat gushed out from it so they had to retreat!!!”

“But from the vault entrance, They saw that the image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ was intact.  She had survived!!!”

“Tears of happiness gushed forth as they all immediately knelt down on the wet stone floor of the convent and prayed the “Salve” aloud.  They had never prayed more intently.  The silence, the blackout, the faint moonlight, the deep shadows, the wet walls… all contributed to the dramatic, almost ‘theatrical’ experience…”

“The silence was broken by the bursting of canned goods in the convent ‘almacen’ storerooms.  All the factors:  the darkness, the bombings, the fear, the assault… all contributed to the great emotion of the scene.””

After the image of the Virgin was retrieved from the smoking vault by the Spanish Dominicans, the Ortigas brothers, their Ramirez-Ortigas nephews, along with some other brave souls, undertook the perilous and heroic task of transporting her secretly, in a rundown “camioneta” truck through the back streets of Sampaloc district, to the chapel of the University of Santo Tomas, where she remained throughout the war.

“”The image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ was wrapped in a thick blanket.  Her image as well as the wooden boxes containing her elaborate vestments were all loaded in the same truck.”

“The truck exited through the Colegio de San Juan de Letran side…”

“The silent caravan made its way to the University of Santo Tomas through the dark and deserted streets.”

“The truck was followed by several other cars who escorted the “Santo Rosario” to the University of Santo Tomas.”

“Several people were waiting for the rescuers at the University of Santo Tomas.  In fact, there was quite a crowd waiting to receive the ‘silent procession’ from Intramuros.”

“Although the ‘Santo Rosario’ was not appropriately dressed, the priests lifted the thick blanket so she could be seen by the assemblage.  The crowd knelt reverently and gratefully prayed the “Salve”…

“The Virgin was saved!!!”

“The next day, some priests returned to the ruins of the Santo Domingo church, to the “tesoro del convento” the treasury, to retrieve boxes of documents of lesser value, but these had already disappeared in the intervening hours.  Had they not retrieved the image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ the previous night, she too, might have disappeared!!!”

“The most important thing is that the historical Virgin is still venerated at the new Santo Domingo church with the vestments, jewels, and crowns given to her by the Filipino nation.””

PADRE AUGUSTO

Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. [ + 1981 ], chaplain of the Virgin, was the last aristocratic Dominican holdover from the old Santo Domingo of Intramuros.  His tenure saw the last vestiges of the elite protocol and patrician elegance which surrounded the legendary “Santo Rosario.”

After his passing, it was left to Carmen “Mengay” Reyes de Reyes [ Mrs. Vicente Cecilio Reyes ], the longtime, tradition-bound “camarera” of the image [ a lady of genuinely “de buena familia” belonging to the old, wealthy, and prominent de los Reyes clan of Cavite [ Crisanto de los Reyes ] and the Reyes clan of Manila [ Capitan Francisco Reyes ]; all the previous “camareras” of the “Santo Rosario” were absolutely “de buena familia” in order to fully understand the traditions of the image ], and an aristocratic lay holdover from the old Santo Domingo of Intramuros, to carry on the centuries-old traditions dictating the proper procedures in the conservation and preservation of the hallowed image of the “Santo Rosario.”

…………

As the eminent Dr. Nicanor Tiongson of the UP University of the Philippines observed:  “The devotion to ‘Nuestra Senora de La Naval’ was always traditionally aristocratic in nature.”

*unfinished*

Notes:

*According to the memoirs of Felix Roxas y Fernandez [ o 1864 – + 1936 ], Mayor of Manila from 1905 – 1917, Josefa and Ana Roxas y Manio were the sisters of Rev. Fr. Manuel Roxas y Manio and were the children of Rafael Roxas y Arroyo, one of the twelve sons [ actually fifteen children ] of Antonio Roxas and Lucina Arroyo of Binondo.  According to Felix himself, Antonio Roxas was the progenitor of the “poor” branch of the Roxases.  He further said that these Roxases “spelled their surname interchangeably with an “x” or a “j” and were often mistaken for the proletariat” [ it explains why the inscription on the Roxas “Concha” was “… A La Sta. Ana Rojas…” ].  Antonio Roxas was a brother of Domingo Roxas [ + 1843 ], the progenitor of the very rich Roxas-de Ayala-Zobel-Soriano clan.  Antonio and Domingo Roxas were two of the three, or five, children of Mariano Roxas and Ana Maria de Ureta.

The Roxas y Manio siblings were the first cousins of Felix along with Rosa Roxas de Zaragoza [ daughter of Mariano Leon Roxas y Arroyo and Carmen Arce; married to Jose Zaragoza y Aranquizna { + 1895 }, the publisher of the much-admired sophisticated magazine “La Ilustracion Filipina,” which ran from 1890-95 ], the mother of Carmen Zaragoza y Roxas, who married the famous lawyer { Atty. } Gregorio Araneta y Soriano Ditching of Molo, Iloilo.  The prominent couple Gregorio and Carmen had fourteen children — Carmen [ died young ], Jose [ married Mercedes Lopez ], Salvador [ married Victoria Lopez y Ledesma ], Consuelo [ married Jesus Cuesta ], Pacita [ married Luis Lopez Obieta ], J. Antonio [ married Margarita Rebullida ], Rosa [ married Manuel Alcuaz ], Ramon [ married Rita Valdes ], Teresa [ married Antonio Albert ], Vicente [ married Paz Zaragoza ], Concepcion [ died young ], Margarita [ married Raha Singh ], Luis Maria [ married Emma Benitez ], and Rev. Fr. Francisco “Fritz,” S.J.  — and were known as “Los Araneta de R. Hidalgo.”

Another first cousin was Felix’s sister, Lucina Roxas y Fernandez, who married Enrique Brias de Coya.  The parents of Felix and Lucina were the prominent architect Felix Roxas y Arroyo { Sr. } [ o ca. 1820 ] and Cornelia “Concha” Fernandez.  Felix Roxas y Arroyo { Sr. } had designed, among others, the Neo-Gothic Santo Domingo church and convent in Intramuros, completed in 1875.  He also designed the Neo-Renaissance San Ignacio church, also in Intramuros, begun in 1878 but completed 11 years later in 1889, after his death.

Also a first cousin was the unfortunate Francisco L. Roxas y Reyes — the only son of Juan Roxas y Arroyo and Vicenta Reyes of Binondo — a rich and prominent businessman who, despite his being a “consejero” adviser to the administration [ along with his second cousin Pedro Pablo “Perico” Roxas ], was accused of sedition by the King’s representative Fiscal Castanos in late August of 1896, imprisoned in Fort Santiago, and executed on 08 January 1897.  He was married to Maria Elio, a Spanish lady from an influential family from Yarte, Pamplona.  They had six children:  Salvador, Maria Vicenta, Juan, Presentacion, Carmen, and Javier.

Another branch of the family was that of the painter Felipe Roxas y Arroyo [ o 1840 – + 1899 ] married to Raymunda Chuidian.  He lived and died in Paris.

Yet another branch of the family was that of Andres Roxas y Arroyo married to Eleuteria Punzalan.  They settled in Calauan, Laguna.

[ *Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. should have been the first Filipino to become a Dominican priest in 1946.  But he gave way to Rev. Fr. _____ Vargas, O.P., who gained that distinction.  Fr. Augusto Antonio was of Chinese ancestry; his original family name was Tantungco.  His mother, Maria Tantungco-Antonio, was from the Tambunting clan.  According to him, his mother, who was devoutly Catholic, had strongly opposed the family’s entry into the pawnshop business, and that her opposition had caused a bitter feud in her extended Tambunting family. ]

Addenda:

“Santo Rosario” of deepest affections

September 27, 2011 at 10:59 am (1800s Filipinas, 1900s Philippines, 19th century Filipino Art, 2000s Philippines, Current Events, Family Traditions, Filipino Art, Personal, Random memories, Religious Traditions, The Global Crowd, The Manilenos, The Past)

47 Comments

  1. October 3, 2013 at 5:06 am

    […] “‘Remembrance of La Naval De Manila’ at the Santo Domingo Church. 24 September 2006. Web. 31 August 2012. […]

  2. Marilou Platon said,

    August 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Greetings Mr. Gonzalez!

    I am thrilled that my cousin Gene Antonio Uylangco acknowledged my posting. Tita Marita gave me Fernando Tantungco’s name and was able to do some research on him.

    Gene, Marisa has my phone number and would love to get connected with you.

    Marilou

  3. Gene Antonio Uylangco said,

    April 15, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Mr. Gonzalez,

    Thank you for your immediate reply, but i still beg to disagree with Mr. Casal’s declaration with his conversation with my uncle… Yes you are right, i am the son of Marita Antonio, she, the only living descendant of their generation, and no, Father Augusto was not suffering from Alzheimer’s during that time…. this is actually a trivial matter but i felt the need to set the record straight based on my knowledge and my respect and love for Fr. Augusto and his siblings…again many thanks for replying……

  4. April 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Gene:

    Greetings!!!

    Please be assured, I have no interest whatsoever in connecting the Tantungco to the Tambunting, or vice-versa.

    For whatever it’s worth, here is what I was told: It was your late uncle himself, Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. [ I gather that you are the son of his sister Marita ], who related to the artist Rafael del Casal, who assisted him with the “Santo Rosario” for years, that his mother, a staunch Catholic, was “actually a Tambunting who opposed the entry of the family into the pawnshop business, who severed ties with that side of the family thereafter.” Fr. Augusto said that the break was so acrimonious that neither side would acknowledge blood relations afterwards.

    Perhaps the venerable Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. was already suffering from Alzheimer’s at that time?

    That’s all I have.

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Gene Antonio Uylangco said,

    April 7, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Mr. Gonzalez,
    Greetings…. I would like to clarify regarding your statement that Fr. Augusto’s mother, Maria Tantungco Antonio… that she is a Tambunting descendant, i don’t think she is…. I am a descendant of Dr. Domingo Antonio, Sr. and Maria Tantungco (grandson), and nowhere was it mentioned that we were ever related to the Tambuntings’. Our family is a close knit one and yes we still keep tabs with our other relatives of the Tantungco clan. Sadly, Fr. Augusto left us in 1983 but in our talks together with my cousins, it has never been brought up that the Tambuntings’ were our relatives.
    To Maria Luisa Medina Cue Platon, you are right, We have descended from Fernando Tantungco and Atanasia Gepangco, if i heard it right, they came from China, ….. there are efforts made to make a family tree however, it is not finished as of today…. that is why the claim that the Tambuntings’ are related to us is subject to confirmation considering that we were able to trace our line up to our great grandparents. Maria Luisa, the Antonios’, Tiaoquis’ and Medina Cue clans still keep tabs, the Espinos’ am not sure, but i still see my cousins on the first three clans….. good luck on your tracing the family tree…..

  6. Presy Guevara said,

    November 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Dennis de Leon and I share the same question. I’ve always admired the works of Talleres de Maximo Vicente.

  7. denis de leon said,

    November 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

    where can i find the new location of talleres de maximo vicente? full address please.

  8. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 13, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Don Tomas Osmena married Dona Agustina Rafols. Their daughter was Vicenta Osmena; she became a Dominican nun named Madre Catalina de la Visitacion; she founded the “Colegio de Santa Catalina de Matsuyama” in Shikoku, Japan by donating the entire edifice.

  9. Ana Aguilar said,

    August 31, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Mapagpalang araw!

    sir, layunin po ng pag- aaral ko na bigyang buhay ang papel na ginampanan ng mga Deboto ng La Naval bilang isang relihiyosong grupong naglalayong mapalaya ang ating bansa sa kamay ng Hapon.
    Nais ko po sanang tanungin kung ang mga Deboto po ng La Naval ( 1942-1945) ay nagkaroon ba ng kilusan o pagpupulong upang mapatalsik ang mga Hapon sa Pilipinas. Kung mayroon po sa papaanong paraan po nila ito itinaguyod?
    Nagkaroon po ba ng pagkakataon na ang mga debotong ito ay nakipag-ugnayan sa mga HUKBALAHAP? Kung meron po, sa paanong paraan?
    Maaari po ba ninyo akong bigyan ng ilan sa mga tanyag na deboto ng La Naval na nagambag sa kasaysayang panrelihiyon.

    Marami pa po sana akong katanungan subalit ito po ay aking lilimitahan sa araw na ito ( nakakahiya po kasi :)))

    Maraming salamat At Pagpalain kayo ng Maykapal ..

    – Ana Aguilar-
    IV-17 BSE HISTORY

  10. August 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Ana:

    Hello. What can I do for you?

    Toto Gonzalez 🙂

  11. Ana Aguilar said,

    August 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Mapagpalang araw!

    G. Toto Gonzalez,
    Ako po si Ana Aguilar, magaaral na nagpapakadalubhasa sa larangan ng Kasaysayan, Pamantasang Normal ng Pilipinas ako po ay nagagalak na meron po palang paguusap hingil po sa ” Birhen ng Sto. Rosario: La Naval de Manila, sa katunayan po pabalik balik po ako sa Sto.Domingo Church para mangalap ng impormasyon para sa aking ” thesis” na ang paksa po ay ” Deboto ng Birhen ng Sto.Rosario: La Naval de Manila ( 1942-1945),,,
    Nais ko po sana magtanong sa inyo kaugnay po sa aking pagaaral. Lubos ko pong inaasahan ang inyong positibong tugon. Maraming salamat po at pagpalain kayo ng Poong Maykapal..

    ito po email ko,, analynaguilar@yahoo.com
    Maraming salamat po!

  12. June 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Maria Luisa:

    According to Fr. Augusto Antonio O.P., his mother Maria Tantungco-Antonio was a daughter of the rich Tambunting family. The surname Tantungco was originally Tambunting. She opposed the family’s entry into the pawnshop business and a family feud ensued.

    According to a Delgado lady, it was her grandmother Felisa Concepcion Tambunting-Delgado who started the pawnshop business in the Tambunting family. An acrimonious family feud ensued which so embittered Felisa that she totally pulled out her share in the family business and permanently dropped her paternal surname Tambunting, and retained only her maternal Concepcion.

    In an account of an early 1900s reception honoring Chinese officials, Ildefonso Tambunting, a prominent member of the Chinese community, hosted a reception at his Calle Benavides, Binondo residence with most of the city’s leading Chinese-Filipino businessmen in attendance [ read it in a comment by Enrique Bustos in the blog post “Wars of Inheritance” ].

    Maria Luisa, you will have to “connect the dots”: First of all, Maria Tantungco-Antonio and her three sisters carried the surname Tantungco which was originally Tambunting. Second, could it be possible that Felisa Concepcion Tambunting-Delgado was actually a sister or a first cousin of Maria and siblings Luisa, Cecilia, and Romana? What was Maria Tantungco-Antonio’s connection to the early 1900s clan patriarch Ildefonso Tambunting? There are so many questions…

    Sorry, we do not know enough about the Medina Cue and Lim families. But as the “Chinoy” Chinese-Filipino traffic in this blog is gradually increasing, it is only a matter of time before information about them appears.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  13. June 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Lately, I have been interested in tracing my ancestors and I happened to come across your article about Fr. Augusto Antonio O.P. whose mother, Maria Tantungco Antonio was my grandmother’s sister. Her name was Luisa Tantungco Medina Cue ( married to Julian Lim Medina Cue ). I know these 2 sisters had 2 more sisters named Cecilia Tantungco Espino and Ramona Tantungco Tiaoqui. I know their parents were Fernando Tantungco and Atanasia Gepangco ( they would be my great grandparents ). After that I am stuck and know nothing more about these families.
    It is difficult to do research on these Chinese surnames because they changed from their original ones. The Medina Cue and Lim families, if you know anything about them, will be much appreciated. I think coming across your article is my stepping stone to some knowledge about my ancestors. My time when we visit Manila was spent spending time with my ailing mother, and no time to ask surviving family members for information.
    Looking forward to anything you can add to my genealogy research.
    Thanks !

  14. Enrique Bustos said,

    May 9, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Society matron during her time Dona Encarnacion Gargollo de Teus donated a diamond “Lanzadera” or Lancette-shaped ring on October 2, 1915 to the image of the “La Naval de Manila.” Another society matron Dona Encarnacion Roxas donated the gold cape of the image of the “La Naval de Manila.”

  15. jayson maceo said,

    January 27, 2010 at 4:51 am

    WOW!!! I SWEAR IF I BECOME A BILLIONAIRE I WILL BUILD THIS CHURCH BACK MYSELF!!!

  16. Jose Javato said,

    September 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Sir Toto,

    Please continue the article. We are eager to learn more about La Gran Señora.

    Thank you.

  17. FMF said,

    July 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    as a grad student researching on the cultural significance of the ust chapel, thank you.

  18. Dario Silva said,

    May 24, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Some of this family is related to Juan Roxas Elio?
    It is a pilot born in Manila, Philippines, on 26-08-1881, who flew in combat for France during the great war.
    I am researching about his life.
    Please write to my mail if you know something about this man.
    Greetings!
    Dario
    My email: silvacastellano*@yahoo.es (please delete * , was placed to prevent spam)

  19. Paolo Janolino said,

    October 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    May Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila have mercy on the Dominicans and UST!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Amen doc… hehe

    It is very sad to know that even our priests are not spared from having political intrigues and scandals within the four walls of their convents…

  20. Bro.Christopher Nathaniel Guerrero Palabay said,

    September 9, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Bro.Toto, i am a devoted Marian collector of religious articles of La Gran Senora La Naval de Manila. I am so delighted about what i saw i this site.I started my devotion to the Blessed Mother since I was 7 yrs. old until now and always be, i remain faithful to her.Rain or shine i attend the annual grand procession of La Naval de Manila.I wish that you could give me some memorable and historical pics of La Naval so that i could have an additional to my collections.It will be my great joy if you you could give me some.I hope for a continues communication from you bro.Toto.My collections are not that rare and expensive compared to yours as i think so.Its just my wish to have some memorabilias even spare ones from you as a gift. Thank you in Advance.-Bro.Chris

  21. Ric rivera said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Tito Toto, as you have promised, you are posting some pics of the Lady…

  22. Dr. Jose Maria P. Alcasid said,

    November 6, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Am truly grateful for this historical account of the story of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval. Indeed, it is a sad fact that Manila’s traditional elites have abandoned their centuries old tradition of spearheading the preparations and carrying-out of the yearly pious festivities.

    It is the sign of our times. With the lack of correspondence of our traditional elites to the graces and favors of Our Lady of La Naval so goes the downward spiral of our country’s state of affairs. Is it any wonder that our leaders are drowned in the muck of corruption and scandals? What our country lack nowadays are a sufficient number of VIRTUOUS men capable of solving the nation’s problems.

    We know that moral regeneration is the solution as Our Lady had admonished mankind at Fatima back in 1917. She asked for the world’s conversion through prayers, penance and amendment of life. So easy to say yet so hard to accomplish in these modern days so rife with temptations of the word, the flesh and the devil..

    May I add that Our Lady’s message is not only for laymen but also for the clergy and hierarchy as well.

    And lastly, as a Thomasian doctor, I am deeply disappointed with the political intrigues surrounding the recent resignations of UST’s rector, vice-rector and provincial.

    May Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila have mercy on the Dominicans and UST!

  23. October 3, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Tomorrow afternoon is the reenactment of the Coronation. I ask you to pray for my petitions. You’re very lucky!!!

    Enjoy your ultimate LA NAVAL DE MANILA EXPERIENCE!!!

    VIVA LA NAVAL DE MANILA CORONADA!!! VIVA!!!

    heheheheheh…

  24. Francis Jason Díaz Pérez, III said,

    September 21, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Indeed, this tradition, story and devotion is worthy of the Great Queen and Mother of the Philippines!

    ¡Viva la Gran Señora de Filipinas!

    Congratulations Tito Toto for making it vivid to our present generation who need not dig up voluminous and dusty volumes or seek the stories of the old folks who were blessed and lucky enough to have experienced the “Santo Rosario” as part of their lives, faith and devotion…

  25. Rev. Louie Coronel, OP said,

    July 7, 2007 at 6:31 am

    dear Toto,

    I thank you for watever help that u would be able to extend to us. You are most welcome. You may contact me at chubiop@yahoo.com. God Bless you! It is such a heartwarming letter indeed.

  26. tomasoop said,

    June 29, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Catch the once in a lifetime chance to hear the historical boys’ choir of the country sing for you! The Tiples de Santo Domingo, founded in 1587, holds the distinction of being the oldest existing boys’ chorale in the country. Through the years, the boys held a remarkable place in the La Naval Festivities as they serenaded Our Lady through their angelic voices.

    Watch the Tiples in concert on September 15, 2007 (Saturday) at the Philam Life Auditorium, UN Avenue, Ermita, Manila. Program starts at 6:00 pm. Tickets are available at P300 at the Santo Domingo Church Information, Quezon City. Or you may contact Br. Lovell Javier, OP at 09279160660. Hurry for the limited slots!

    The project is in line with the Centenary of the Canonical Coronation of Our Lady of the Rosary – La Naval de Manila on October 2007. Proceeds will go to the educational funding of the Tiples de Santo Domingo. Be thrilled by the experience of hearing the centuries-old choir.

    Spread the news and be part of this event!

    Or email me at tomasoop@yahoo.com

  27. June 25, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Fr. Coronel:

    Thank you so much for the schedule of activities for the Centennial of the Canonical Coronation of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. It is certainly a commemoration that all of her devotees have awaited with excitement and a once-in-a-lifetime event that they will all attend.

    It is so wonderful to witness a new, young group of Dominicans infusing much energy into the centuries-old order but remaining steadfast to its original tenets, in the process giving new and more relevant meaning to the ages-old devotion to the legendary “Santo Rosario.”

    Let us know if we can help in any way.

    Congratulations to all of you!!! We wish the Dominican community a most meaningful Centennial of the Coronation!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  28. Rev. Louie, OP said,

    June 25, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Greetings of peace!

    Through the years, the collective devotion of the Filipino people to
    the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a source of pride and inspiration
    for many. This year, as we give honor once again to Mary, come
    October, we shall also be celebrating the centennial of her
    Canonical Coronation. This year shall witness not only another grand celebration but a high point in the renowned La Naval de Manila tradition.

    It is on this note that we are exhausting all means necessary to
    make this once in a lifetime event both memorable and historic.
    Kindly forward this message to everyone so that in this way, we may
    be able to reach to as many devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary as
    possible.You may also want to devote your talent for her.

    Below are the important dates to be announced as of the moment:

    July 22-August 8, 2007 – Santo Domingo Exhibit at the Santo Domingo
    Information Lobby (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

    September 7, 2007 [7:00 PM] – Marian Vigil (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

    September 15, 2007 [6:00 pm] – Tiples de Santo Domingo Centennial Concert at the Philam Life Auditorium (UN Avenue, Manila).

    September 18-October 31, 2007 – La Naval Memorabilia Exhibit at the Museo de Santo Domingo (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

    October 4, 2007 [4:00 PM] – Enthronement and Re-enactment Ceremony of the Canonical Coronation (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.

    October 5-13, 2007 [4:00 PM] – Serenata / Novena days (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

    October 7, 2007 – Launching of La Naval de Manila Coffee Table Book (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

    October 14, 2007 – La Naval de Manila (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

    Mere words and gestures are not enough to show our gratitude.

    Pagpalain kayo ng Diyos at ang inyong pamilya.

    Maraming, maraming salamat po!

    In Christ through Mary,

    REV. LOUIE CORONEL, O.P.
    Chairman
    Committee on Media Promotions for the
    Centennial of the Canonical Coronation
    La Naval de Manila 2007

  29. March 25, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    taitai:

    True. Among all the splendors [ and “Amp*o” will kill me for this😛 ], what I cannot forget is the basement level designed specifically for the hotel caterers. A whole world unto itself!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  30. taitai said,

    March 25, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Toto:

    Oh my, a MAGNIFICENT mansion indeed – with a 5000 sqm lot area!!!🙂

    Taitai

  31. March 24, 2007 at 10:20 am

    taitai:

    Yes!!! Mar*o’s and M*mi’s house, to be precise. Although everybody knows that it’s Paul*no “Amp*o” [ married to Het*y ] who does the actual selection.

    Toto Gonzalez

  32. taitai said,

    March 24, 2007 at 6:19 am

    “are now the principal attractions in the very high-ceilinged palatial living room of an unutterably magnificent Forbes Park mansion built by an uberrich Chinese family heavily invested in Hong Kong real estate.”

    ********************
    the Qu*-P*s??!!!

  33. March 16, 2007 at 5:35 am

    Robby:

    Thank you very much!!!

    We’re online to share. Whatever little we know. 🙂

    Toto Gonzalez

  34. Robby Dela Vega said,

    March 16, 2007 at 3:40 am

    i almost broke out into tears when i read the story of how the celebrated image of La Gran Senora was saved from destruction… these are wonderful accounts! i am excited to see your posts about the La Naval de Manila and its festivities… thank you for posting this article.

  35. March 12, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Nikki:

    Great to see you here!!!

    I’m glad you liked the article. It isn’t finished yet. I also have some pixes.

    Cheers!!!

    Tito Toto 🙂

  36. Nikki Ballesteros said,

    March 12, 2007 at 3:06 am

    Thank you for writing an entry in honor of our beloved patroness, “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario,” “La Naval de Manila.” It is good to know the dramatic rescue of the Virgin which added my loyalty and faith to her. God always makes miracles. But on the other side, why do the aristocratic families not continue this marvelous tradition and devotion? Why don’t they preserve the lovely memories of the past? This entry is so informative especially for people who are interested in the Virgin like me. You were the first one who revealed these stories that I can treat as a valuable treasure, which my friends who are close to the Dominicans of Quezon City did not tell me [ these marvelous stories ]. Again, thank you very much!

  37. February 26, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Becco:

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  38. Becco Empleo said,

    February 26, 2007 at 6:50 am

    thank you, but i think there are several kapampangan people in the group, im from Lucban.

  39. January 17, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Becco:

    Thank you very much.

    In your Flickr site, you should have a whole section featuring the marvelous antique processional “santos” and “carrozas” of Old Pampanga, like those of Arayat [ the candlelit Medina-Samia-Santos “Santo Entierro,” “San Juan,” and “Santa Maria Magdalena,” the Medina “Mater Dolorosa,” { Good Friday } and the Berenguer “Apung Manalangin” { Holy Wednesday } ], Sasmuan [ the Mercado “Santo Entierro” { Good Friday } ], Santa Rita [ the Miranda-Maglalang “Santo Entierro” and the Ricafort “Mater Dolorosa” { Good Friday } and the entire Holy Wednesday procession ], Guagua [ the Ynfante-Velez “Santo Entierro” and the Limson “Mater Dolorosa” { Good Friday } ], Bacolor [ the Rodriguez “Misericordia” { Holy Wednesday }, the Joven-de Leon “Santo Entierro,” and the Malig “Mater Dolorosa” { Good Friday } ], San Fernando [ the Hizon-Dayrit-Panlilio “Mater Dolorosa,” the Lazatin “San Juan,” and the Singian-Hizon-Rodriguez “Santa Veronica” and “Santa Salome” { Holy Wednesday } ], and Angeles [ “Apung Mamacalulu” { Good Friday } ]. Incomparable!!! There are also splendid antique “santos” and “carrozas” in Laguna, like those of Pakil [ the “Santo Entierro” { Good Friday } ], Paete [ the antique “santos” ], and San Pablo [ the Quiogue-Escudero “Santo Entierro” { Good Friday } ].

    Toto Gonzalez

  40. Becco Empleo said,

    January 17, 2007 at 6:07 am

    The article was highly informative, especially in those history and santos enthusiasts like me. Thank you for sharing these articles. Please feel free to visit our Semana Santa Group at Flickr.com, http://www.flickr.com/groups/semana_santa_filipinas/, and also my account beccoempleo. Several religious artifacts are featured; there are also members who belong in old families, sharing their family heirlooms and tradition.

    Becco Empleo

  41. December 17, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Amy:

    Actually, I haven’t finished the post yet. I still have a small pile of notes crammed with information about the 413 year old image of the “Santo Rosario” and the pre-1941 Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros. Pictures too.

    Toto Gonzalez

  42. Amy Franco Tizon said,

    December 16, 2006 at 4:55 am

    Thank you for a very good account of La Naval. This made me miss home.

  43. October 17, 2006 at 5:58 am

    Fr. Delfino:

    As the personal secretary of the bishop of San Pablo, would you kindly explain to me why there is still a feud between the good bishop and the Escuderos about the annual Good Friday procession?

    If I remember correctly, the feud already existed with the good bishop’s predecessor, and during the lifetime of Dona Rosario Escudero [ + 1999 ] at that. It even affected the granting of her “Pro Ecclesia e Pontifice” award.

    Our family, the Gonzalezes, and the Escuderos have known each other since the late 1800s. The friendships have spanned generations. We wonder why such an agreeable family like them would be involved in a longstanding dispute with their bishop regarding an admirable religious tradition which makes San Pablo city the principal destination for thousands of Filipino Catholics during Good Friday.

    Toto Gonzalez

  44. October 17, 2006 at 5:51 am

    Fr. Delfino:

    There are several beautiful old churches in Laguna. I hope that the diocese will exercise all its power and influence to ensure their preservation.

    I hope that the terrible vandalism which took place years [ even decades ] ago in the churches of Nagcarlan, Liliw, and Santa Rosa will never happen again. On the other hand, the relatively intact churches of Pakil, Paete, and Majayjay are great treasures of the Church and the Filipino nation!

    I was told by leading scholars, connoisseurs, and their goldsmiths that the image of Santa Rosa de Lima in the church of Santa Rosa, Laguna once had a “parure” [ suite of jewelry ] of very fine 18th century “tinik”-style goldwork [ literally “thorn” / rococo style ] in high karat gold [ 20 – 22 K ]. Her diadem of roses, necklace, sash, rosary, the three roses she held, the three “potencias” of the Child Jesus, his necklace, and slippers were all of exquisite 18th century “tinik”-style rococo goldwork. The entire suite of gold weighed several kilograms. The pieces were last seen in the mid-1950s. Because the pieces were no longer seen on the image of Santa Rosa de Lima during her “fiestas,” these were thought to have disappeared — perhaps sold, stolen, and worst of all, melted down.

    What happened at the church of Santa Rosa was an outrage, considering that it already happened in the culturally-conscious 1980s. Why the parish priest deaccessioned those church treasures was a mystery, considering the authority of the diocese. The old tabernacle is now in the “sala” of a well-maintained “bahay na bato” in Laguna. The big main “relleve” of the Crucifixion, and another big “relleve” from a side altar — acknowledged masterpieces of Filipino religious art — are now the principal attractions in the very high-ceilinged palatial living room of an unutterably magnificent Forbes Park mansion built by an uberrich Chinese family heavily invested in Hong Kong real estate.

    Sadly, even the church of Majayjay lost some of the unseen treasures in its convent during the mid-1990s.

    What happened to the ideal of “Pastor Bonus”???

    Toto Gonzalez

  45. Fr. Gabriel Delfino said,

    October 11, 2006 at 2:44 am

    Thank you for the response, Mr. Gonzalez. The paternal and maternal side of my family has been associated with the Philippine Dominicans a longway back. The Delfinos of Laguna and the Anonas of San Juan, Rizal encountered the Dominicans during significant moments in their respective life journey.
    Right now, as personal secretary of the Bishop of San Pablo, I’m working with some lay persons on the possibility of collating materials on various Dominican Parishes in Laguna – although the majority of the old parishes in the province is Franciscan in origin. Incidentally, my licentiate Thesis in Church History was about the Dominican hacienda de Santa Rosa in Laguna province. It is a delight to see that the popular perception of the Dominicans – as evidenced by historical sources – was very different from the perception presented by the Noli and the Fili. I hope – if Savonarola is in the process of being theologically and historically rehabilitated – the Spanish Philippine Dominicans will also have their vindication before the bar of History.

  46. October 7, 2006 at 3:18 am

    Fr. Delfino:

    Thank you for your insightful comment. I am so glad that someone had read this post and actually understood it.

    I do not know the exact reasons why Manila’s grandest families no longer frontline the preparations for the annual “La Naval de Manila” festivities. For sure, modernization and the ensuing secularization have played a role. The Old Guard say that the drift away began when the Philippine Dominicans split from the Spanish Dominicans, for the latter held sway over the affluent Spanish mestizo community. The Philippine Dominicans retained the Santo Domingo church and convent and the image of “Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary” “La Naval de Manila,” but a distinguished part of her heritage departed with the Spanish Dominicans.

    During the Marcos regime, liberation theology became influential. The Philippine Dominicans became politically active and incurred the ire of President Ferdinand Marcos. I still vividly remember when the Quezon City government — on instructions from Malacanang — prevented the Dominicans’ “La Naval de Manila” procession from passing its usual route of Quezon Avenue [ then Quezon Boulevard ] and forced the revered image of the Virgin to pass the sidestreets of Santa Mesa Heights instead.

    Like you, I am very happy that the “transmission of the faith experience and divine insight” flourishes during the annual “La Naval de Manila” fiesta at the Santo Domingo church the way it does at the popular shrines of Lipa, Manaoag, Baclaran, and Quiapo. I agree that the fiesta and the devotion have meaning that way, and not simply a forgotten relic of the past, which has become the sad fate of so many religious fiestas and devotions of old…

    It is a truly touching sight to see hundreds, nay thousands, of people waving their hands and handkerchiefs as the image of Our Lady passes by them during the “La Naval de Manila” procession. It seems one is seeing thousands of lost souls seeking their hope in Christ through the Blessed Mother.

    The Dominicans, in their preachings, always say that the Blessed Mother is the very image of the fulfillment of the promises of the Lord. In a literal sense, that is perhaps the reason why so many people are drawn to “Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary” “La Naval de Manila,” since the splendor of her image is as near a vision of Heaven as one can get in this life…

    As a lifelong devotee of the Blessed Mother as “Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,” I can certainly attest that she continues to see my little boat prevail, rather incomprehensibly, over the warships and the aircraft carriers, as well as the typhoons and the tsunamis, that continually beset my life.

    Toto Gonzalez

  47. Fr. Gabriel Delfino said,

    October 7, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Thank you for featuring a graphic narration, although incomplete, of the realities of the epoch that was confronted by the image of Our Lady of the Rosary “La Naval de Manila”. A question that came to my mind was why the old families of Manila gradually abdicated their role in this cherished devotion that was the prime and central social and devotional event in the old world of the Intramuros de Manila. Have they been converted by the secular liberal attitudes of the west? Did they consider it “baduy” to be associated with an ancient image? Or have they been “enlightened” by new devotions or has gone “born-again”? Nevertheless, they are not important because what is essential is that the transmission of the faith experience and divine insight continues in the devotees as they are happening in Manaoag, Lipa, Baclaran and Quiapo. Otherwise, the feast and the devotion would just be a relic of our past. I have been following the story of La Naval for more than 3 decades already – from the writings of Nick Joaquin to a novel by Melanie Tayag about “The Sanchezes of Old Manila”. Truly it mesmerizes but more important is that it presents the baroque Filipino at his best. No matter what we got from the Americans, I believe that we are still a baroque people that glory in splendor despite the sad reality of squalor and poverty.


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