Sisigon, Matnog Chapel Restoration Update

Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province- Philippines

 

newly painted chapel

It was a few weeks ago since i have posted an entry about Sisisgon Matnog Chapel Restoration and Dedication of a private chapel located within Sisigon , Matnog in the province of Sorsogon .

interior of the chapel

After a few days of repainting of the chapel  and changing of old galvanized roofs. The people within the vicinity with the help of the barangay electrification program installed a light outside and inside the chapel .  Newly installed steel doors were already installed and painted white . Installation of light will also help passing motorists see their way around the curve highway .

bell

The chapel bell which was kept by one of the villagers was again brought back . It was tied on to a branch of a two decades -old mango tree.

Mr. Fronil G. Grefaldo and son of the mayor

group photo inside the chapel altar together with Ms. Marie Ubaldo ( wife of the mayor of Matnog )

Newly bought Catholic images from Tayuman , Santa Cruz , Manila . The icons were blessed by a local priest before these were enshrined inside the chapel .( Although the main icon was supposed to be Saint Jude Thaddeus . Instead, it was an image of Saint Joseph  )

group photo

The wife of the current mayor donated an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with wooden case . With the newly repainted chapel and with the refurbishment , These deeply devoted people have a place to say their prayers.

devotees and guests leaving the chapel

After the short dedication , there was a simple snack serve in one of the houses . To those who helped in the repainting , cleaning and refurbishing of the chapel , We would like to ” Thank” everyone those who assisted . Maraming Salamat Po sa Inyong Lahat !

Note: The author was there at the site during the first few days of the repainting .

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Scent of a Sanggumay Orchid

Quezon City , Philippines

Sanggumay orchids may refer to several pendulous Dendrobium orchid species that is found in wide range of habitats in the Philippines . Usually the common name refers to  Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay ) , Dendrobium aphyllum ( lesser , fairy, dainty sanggumay ), Dendrobium heterocarpum , Dendrobium rhombeum ( yellow sanggumay ) . They are also called Latigo, Salome in some parts of the archipelago .

 

 Dendrobium anosmum ( ordinary color )

Latigo – is a Spanish word which means a long strap on a saddle tree of a western saddle . Because of  its long canes and the ability for the canes to be used as some sort of saddle for children playing , Hence it was called as such by the locals.

Salome also refers to the pendulous Dendrobium species like Dendrobium anosmum and Dendrobium aphyllum which their long canes or pseudo bulbs add seductiveness and erotic elements to the cultivation of the orchid species, especially when grown into big specimen and its long danging roots adds mystery to its growth . Hence some backyard growers refer them as such.

Sanggumay orchid exhibit at the 70th annual orchid and garden show

The word Sanggumay was derived from Tagalog root words : Sangsang  which means nauseating ,overpowering, stench (smell), and “Umay” or ” Gumay”  meaning tired-some, surfeit , satiety.

Please try to visit related link:  Sanggumays Flowering in the City

There are several color forms and varieties which is found over wide range of Asian countries from China, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand , Indonesia, India , Cambodia, Papua  New Guinea, Philippines  from sea level of lower primary forests at elevations up to 1,500 meters.

Dendrobium anosmum variety dearei ( alba or virginalis ) plant is grown by Mrs. Anita Arebal -Are from Baras , Rizal province

Another orchid species often called sanggumay is  Dendrobium aphyllum . Sometimes , backyard growers and plant traders would call them as fairy sanggumays  , lesser or dainty sanggumays to connote the smaller flowers, thinner canes and less over powering smell compared to Dendrobium anosmum.

clumps of sanggumays being sold within the Quezon Memorial Circle

The white colored- Dendrobium anosmum variety dearei or white / alba variety had a slower growth compared to the ordinary form and it is not commonly sold in the market . Sometimes , a plant with few canes with some flowers would fetch a few hundred of pesos , while bigger clumps would fetch a few thousand !  Another rarer variety “huttonii ”  and “coerulescens ”  would cost more.

Sanggumay attached to a living host in Barangay Buhatan , Sorsogon City

Some other Dendrobium species includes Dendrobium heterocarpum , Dendrobium rhombeum, Dendrobium crumenatum ( General Nakar area, Quezon ) , Dendrobium busigerum, Dendrobium secundum and Dendrobium bullenianum would be labeled as sanggumay by dealers or backyard growers.

Scent , Fragrance or Nauseating Smell ?

The scent of the sanggumay would vary from one person . The smell meant to attract insect pollinators particularly moth, butterflies, flies, wasps , gnats and carpenter bees . The scent is strongest during night time and early morning . The smell quickly fade by late morning .

It smells like Raspberry , Grape flavor , Bubble gum or Artificial candy .

Sanggumay grown in Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province

I think this is one of the most popular native orchid that is frequently cultivated in many parts of the country . In my recent road trip to Southern Luzon and Bicol provinces , Almost every houses on main streets and those with large trees have some Dendrobium anosmum or Dendrobium aphyllum that are growing almost in carefree situation.

Dendrobium anosmum and Dendrobium aphyllum grown on a pomelo shrub in Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province

Since the weather and climate of Southern Luzon and Bicol provinces is different from Western part of the country , Most of the sanggumays that i have seen have only started to shed their leaves.  The weather is always cloudy with slight drizzle when we are there .  ( Type 4 climate ) Please visit : PAGASA for climate reference. Majority of the sanggumays still have leaves and it could be a month or so before they bloom.

Dendrobium anosmum and Pteroceras pallidum grown in live kakawate tree (Gliricidia sepium ) within Barangay Sisigon , Matnog , Sorsogon province

Ethono Botanical Uses:

The flowers are strung to form a garland , used as corsage during graduation ,  processional carriages are also decorated with the flowers.

In some places , They are grown near the entrance of one’s house, as some superstitious folks believes that it could ward off evil spirits or even black dwarves .

There is one orchid grower from Sorsogon province which told me that they consider the orchid species as “Good Omen” plant , during its blooming season , before the flowers would fully open , they would whisper their wishes to the orchid .

References:

Orchid Species : http://www.orchidspecies.com/denanosmum.htm

Stuart Exchange : http://www.stuartxchange.com/Kakawati.html

Sisigon Matnog Chapel : Restoration and Dedication

Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province -Philippines

Sisigon – Matnog chapel circa July 1977 ( family photo archive)

This is a private chapel built within the property of my maternal grandparents . According to family records and accounts , the purpose of building a chapel is for the people within the area to visit at least everyday and on special occasions like fiesta , Christmas , new year or holy week. Even if this is in private land, there are people in nearby towns which would visit the chapel .

 Notice the straight cemented stairways leading to the main entrance in the 1970’s

There used to be a smaller chapel made of wood . The current chapel was built in the middle part of around May or June 1977 when my grandmother and aunts decided to have a small chapel built . They made some planning and a small portion of the property was allocated for worship since a big percentage of the people living in the place were Catholics.

inauguration of the chapel circa July 1977 – notice the young palm fronds used as decoration 

The nearest chapel is located several kilometers away and people would not have the convenience to walk  that far . The chapel is located on a sloping terrain with a curving road in which people can visibly see the chapel on ideal location.

inauguration  of the chapel

Local and foreign tourists would sometimes flock to the chapel for some photo opportunities , the location is a good vantage point for taking photos of scenic spots and coconut plantations.

chapel viewed from main road ( photo courtesy by : Mr. Raymond L. De Vera )

There was also light which illuminates the place and serves as guide for motorists visiting the port of Matnog ( which is just 4 barangays away ). One can climb comfortably at the chapel with its 29 staircase made from cement.

 chapel ( circa February 16, 2016 )

Materials were sourced locally like stones, gravel, sand , cement and galvanized roofing were added . Most of the benches and wooden beams were made from local hardwoods.   Since the chapel was made in the late 1970’s, no further improvement were made except for the cement stairs that were eroded due to heavy rains and erosion from the surrounding mountains  . The contractor decided to follow the natural contour of the land.  The curve cement stairways were later rebuilt in 1998 .

chapel interior

The main altar have 3 Santos ( saints) made from different materials, soft wood, hardwood and plaster of paris  . Based on the arrangement of the images. The chapel is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Salvación ( main altar ) other images included Santo Niño and Saint Jude Thaddeus . Unfortunately all the 3 statutes were in a very sorry state and the Nuestra Señora de Salvación wood image was eaten by termites! According to the caretaker, the chapel is dedicated to Saint Jude Thaddeus since there is also a chapel dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Salvación a few barangays away.

L-R Santo Niño , Nuestra Señora de Salvación and Saint Jude Thaddeus

There was a minor repair done in the early 1980’s due to strong typhoon which hit the place and no other restoration was done . Only the caretaker had kept the small bronze bell  and the chapel is only open a few times every year .

chapel with new iron door and being painted

It had been over 30 years since it was first restored and due to the recent typhoon which hit the area, some parts of the roofs are leaking, side entrance to the chapel and main  wooden door entrance of the chapel have either rotted away or eaten away by termites.

changing of old galvanized roofs and repainting ( photo courtesy : Mr. Raymond L. De Vera) 

When Typhoon Melor ( Bagyong Nona ) hit the province last year December 14, 2015 .  It also left portion of the chapel with roof leaking and badly needed some rehabilitation. We saw a lot of trees, coconuts and houses along the highway that were topped down due to the typhoon . Recovery is still on its way in many places.

repainting of the chapel

It started with the change of chapel door ( from wood to steel last January 2016 ) and then change in parts of the roof and repainting of the chapel ( both interior and exterior ) . The work within the chapel had already progress with the delivery of building materials last February 17 . The project time table is between 3 to 5 days and hopefully within this week, the project will be completed .

There are plans to install electric lights within the chapel and if all things goes well, the chapel will be fully furnish before the end of this week.

The wife of the mayor had pledge a divine mercy frame to the chapel and those who wanted to donate religious icons and images are gladly accepted.

Just email me at L_rence_2003@yahoo.com

Cellphone : 0928-6604819 SMART

Manila Chinese Cemetery- mounts, monuments,mausoleums ,magnate

The Manila Chinese Cemetery (founded in 1879) is the second oldest cemetery in Manila after Paco (1820), and was designated as the resting place for the Chinese citizens who were denied burial in Catholic cemeteries during the Spanish colonial period. In later times, however, even the Chinese who had converted to Catholicism were allowed to be buried in this cemetery. The place was also designated as a burial ground for people who died of communicable diseases.

Chinese cemetery -south gate entrance arch

The cemetery was once featured in several international programs like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous in the 1980’s and on several international travel guidebooks.

a family mausoleum with dragon design and pagoda

The Chinese Cemetery is part of the three-cemetery complex of Manila; namely: Campo Santo de La Loma (La Loma Cemetery) 1884, Cementerio del Norte (North Cemetery) and Cementerio ng mga Instik ( Chinese  Cemetery). During the nineteenth-century, only the Catholics were allowed to be interred in La Loma. The paupers, non-Christians, victims of communicable diseases, and enemies of the colonial government were relegated to the Chinese Cemetery  for burial. The Chinese cemetery also sits on the highest  elevated portion of the district.

Through the years, as more of the Chinese rich interred their dead here, the cemetery was acquired by the Philippine- Chinese Charitable Association, Inc., and became a private cemetery. Prime movers are Don Carlos Palanca Tanchueco ( Tan Quien Sien) , Lim Ong which contributed in purchasing both the present Chinese cemetery lot and Chinese General Hospital .

Joaquin Saez Co Guanco mausoleum

A typical family cannot just buy a burial plot outright at the Chinese Cemetery; the family must properly coordinate with the Philippine- Chinese Charitable Association that had control of the site, proper measures, paper works must be done in order to secure a family burial plot . Some Filipino- Chinese may even consult the services of Feng Shui expert before the actual interment of the family members.  Many believed that choosing a proper place for graveyard is very important for the welfare not only of the dead but also for the future generation of the clan.

A family plot can only be leased for twenty-five years then can be renewable for another 25 years and so on. However, if one had achieved exemplary accomplishments in life — toward the betterment of the society  while living, that  person could be rewarded a burial site for free as in the mausoleum for Chinese martyrs and fire volunteers.

an emptied family mausoleum

For those families unable to afford a continuance of the lease once due for renewal, they are no longer allowed to do any more maintenance work on their respective grave site or mausoleum. However, the cemetery administrators will not evict the buried by digging up and disposing the remains, because they might only attract bad luck into their life. Instead, a grave site or mausoleum will be left untouched to decay with time.

Mang Nolasco

According to Mang Jun Nolasco one of the tomb caretakers, there used to be over 600 caretakers at any given time in the Chinese cemetery. They lived in nearby places. This was some sort of a profession; some of us here are already tomb caretakers for more than 40 to 50 years! However in recent times their numbers had decline to barely 250.  The cost in maintaining a family mausoleum relatively high, imagine you need to pay a renewal fee to the association which happens when the term lease expires, then the association will measure the family plot –The association charges a typical fee of Php 1,400 per square meter, excluding renovations, re-painting and others.

Most of the families who moved out of this place would just buy plot outside in a modern memorial garden. At least they own the lot.

Chinese Fu-Dogs made from ceramic

There are about ten security guards on bicycle patrol and another ten security guards on foot patrol.  They guard some of the vital vantage points of the cemetery, the perimeter walls bordering  (North Cemetery), main gate, and temple. Sometimes vandals would cross the walls from North cemetery to Chinese cemetery.  The 30 feet high adobe wall separates the Chinese cemetery to the North cemetery.

A Chinese Fu-Dog guardian of family mausoleum – made of ceramic

Located near the main entrance was the pyramid-shaped monument (a significant symbol to Free Masons) now stands on the original site of his resting place at the Chinese Cemetery.   Apolinario Mabini, “the Sublime Paralytic“, and as “the Brains of the Revolution.” Is one of our country’s national heroes.

Apolinario Mabini grave  with pyramidal- shaped monument  and historical marker

He was buried inside the Chinese cemetery for the aforementioned criteria: he was a Mason; hence, a non-Christian; he died from cholera (a communicable disease back then) ; and his insurgent writings and involvements in the 1896 and Filipino-American 1898 revolution deemed him enemy of the state. Upon his death on May 13, 1903, he was buried in the Chinese Cemetery, His remains were later transferred to his hometown in Tanauan , Batangas   to a permanent gravesite.

Apparently, Apolinario Mabini had a street named after him near his gravesite.

This is the simple De Vera family mausoleum located within Ceng Chong Road a few blocks from the YU– Chu Family mausoleum (more popularly known as Regal mausoleum) within the cemetery.

De Vera family mausoleum

My grandfather was Mr. Federico De Vera of Sorsogon and Samar province (August 18,1909 to December 20, 1956)  Chinese- Filipino origin. ( Mother’s surname is said to be Hernandiso )

My maternal grandfather is a farmer, trader and worked before in Rialto Studio . During the Japanese occupation, my grandfather was a guerrilla intelligence spy. Being married with 8 children at that time, he choose to stay as an underground spy with few actual combat encounters against the invading Japanese forces in Sorsogon province. There was also one incident that he was spotted by 2 Japanese soldiers while boiling peanuts and was fired-upon twice, Luckily he escapes towards the creek by diving .

frangipani blooming beside the family tomb

Mrs. Toribia  (Tankiko / Tangkeko / Tangueco ) Lim -De Vera hails from Bulan , Sorsogon (May 17, 1910 to November 20, 1983) is of Spanish – Chinese –Filipino origin. However, According to family members, De Vera family surname belongs to the Chinese  (So) surname clan.

My maternal grandmother is also a farmer, plant lover, herbalist ,  entrepreneur. She also knew how to drive a car (at the time when very few knew how). She  can speak in Spanish, Bikol – Sorsogon, Tagalog, English, Mandarin and Hokkien.

grandparents pictures on top of the gravestone

Colorful ribbons signify a recent visit made by family members or friends. These colorful papers  are pasted all over the tombstones and mausoleum.

She maintained 3 general merchandise stores about 6×6 square meters in Matnog, Sorsogon in the early 1940’s which sold a variety of school supplies, candles, candies, light bulbs, rice, canned goods, dress, dried fish, abaca, cigarettes.  It is said to be one of the biggest in Matnog area before they were ransacked by the Japanese during the closing days of the second world war.

According to some old relatives, her family is a distant relative of the Realonda – Rizal’s mother.

tomb stone marker

This family mausoleum was built on December 1956, when my grandfather died of a sudden heart attack.  The simple cross and old frangipani tree that severed as point of reference. The family mausoleum is not grand or ornately built compared to nearby mausoleum but the simple architectural structure would imply the simplicity and the income bracket of the family.

There were other relatives from So, De Vera , Ymaz , Lim , Chan , Kho, Dy  family clan  and some victims of the infamous Ruby Tower earthquake  who were  also buried within the cemetery.

Yu-Chu family mausoleum

Locate in between Kong Teh and  Ceng Chong road is UNO High School ( Filipino- Chinese School ) founder  Don Domingo Yu Chu family mausoleum – . This prominent Filipino- Chinese educator, businessman , philanthropist , copra magnate envisioned founding a school to educate the youth thus UNO school is his lifetime dream. He also help to established Chang Kai Shek College .  The family mausoleum is more popularly known as Regal mausoleum ( since Regal is the film company  Mrs. Lily Y. Monteverde) .

Don Domingo Yu Chu monument

The family mausoleum is one of the most popular mausoleum  in the cemetery . The big green tile roofs and massive structure almost 3 to 4 stories high, with tombstone marker made from carrara marble and granite  are all imported from Italy .  Big Chinese fu-dogs guard the main entrance  and a statute of the family patriarch Don Domingo Yu Chu  stands .  This is also one of the most massive structures within the cemetery.

Ma Mon Luk mausoleum with his two wives

This mausoleum with a huge crown on its top belongs to famous restaurateur  Mr. Ma Mon Luk ( Mami King ) . His two wives are also buried here on either side of him. Ma Mon Luk was a salesman, showman ,cook and hopeless romantic; his was a life worthy of a telenovela (soap opera). He worked very hard and started to peddle his goods , people used to call his mami ( gupit)  in pre-war Intramuros and Binondo  areas. Some of his first clients were students from Colegio de San Juan de Letran , Ateneo and Filipino- Chinese.

At least three Ma Mon Luk restaurants are still operational in Benavides ( now called Masuki), Quezon Boulevard

near  Quiapo church and Quezon City  Quezon Boulevard  near Banawe.

While some of his descendants opened another mami chain called Masuki which had 3 to 4 stores in operations – Benavides ( original Ma Mon Luk ) , Greenhills , Ortigas .

Chamsamco family grave

A family mausoleum which caught my fancy was the Chamsamco family built in 1947 with the famous swastika equilateral cross . Archeological evidences of this design may be traced back from the Indus valley region dates back from the Neolitic period.  This is widely used in Eastern and Dharmic religion such as Buddhist, Hindusim, Jainism.

modern style family mausoleum

The Chinese cemetery is a repository of various architectural marvels from simple tombstones, ornate, art deco, modern, traditional , hybrid , classical .

Manila Chinese Cemetery

Location :Felix Huertas Street corner Aurora Boulevard

Transportation : jeepney ride, tricycle , ( LRT- Blumentritt station) , pedicab
Opening Hours: 7.30 am to 7.00 pm daily.
Admission: Free.

Note: Tour guides are available ( offered by the cemetery) rates differ from Php 300 to Php 500  individual or group.

But if you knew someone with dead relatives or friends just hop along with them.

Video taping is not allowed . ( permission must be sought)

* The author occasionally does a free walking tour around the area upon request by close friends or relatives.