Dying Art of Funeral Joss Paper Crafts

We visited a distant relative of a family friend who died an old age, lie in state on 3rd floor at Sanctuarium located along Gregorio Araneta corner Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

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Mansion made from paper with Christmas lights and funeral wreath

The person was his great grand father was 95 years-old and the family wasted no time to give him a grand send off in the after life. Instead of the usual black and white cloth which covered the room, most of the cloth were colored red and white.

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Sanctuarium

According to the expert, the person lived his life to the fullest. He was able to produce 6 generation of descendants. In a country which had an average life expectancy of just 71 years-old ( 2017 data) living beyond 71 is already a big blessing.

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servants are found in the entrance of the paper mansion with small photo of the decease person and special sleeping chamber

Dying Art of Joss Funeral Paper Building

In my previous article about recuerdo de patay few years ago. The funeral wake of my maternal grandmother had some funeral paper building, mercedes benz, rickshaw, sedan chairs, mahjong table, paper lanterns and airplane was held few decades ago at Funenaria Paz in Quezon City.

IMAGEMercedes benz made from paper

Burning the traditional paper ‘money’ along with miniature items like houses, cars,  appliances, all the modern amenities are also burned to make sure the deceased continues to enjoy the same things in the afterlife. However, fewer Filipino-Chinese are practicing Taoist and Buddhist. Hence, the art of making these paper joss funeral items are getting rare.

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paper sedan chair with carriers

They immediate family members bought an elaborate mansion made out of bamboo and paper. The entire structure was about 7 feet high complete with television set, appliances, rooms, servants and is well lighted during the entire wake.

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a small photo of the decrease person, polo shirt, airplane ( partly hidden) to be burned along side the decease person

This happened when Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was lifted. Since most of their relatives, friends and business associate were already within Metro Manila. The family decided to have a short mourning person of just 6 days.

According to the geomancer whom the family have hired, It is important that the dead person have the 5 M‘s to bring in the afterlife.

The burning of joss paper ‘Money’ equates to making advance deposits in order to bribe the keepers of hell or to be use in the afterlife. A specialized marker was made to indicate the name of the decease person in Chinese characters.

The practice of burning paper luxury goods is believed to keep the spirits of ancestors happy and prosperous as they continue to watch over living relatives.

Mansion – Having a big mansion or building to bring to the afterlife.

Mobility – These includes sedan chair with people to carry the dead, airplane, car and even wheelchair.

Material Wealth – appliances plus all the necessities is a MUST. Some may include air-condition, electric fan, television set, cellphone, washing machine, animals, mahjong table and even a personalized ATM machine!

Maids or Men in order to lead a comfortable life. Other props may also include paper lantern and other stuff that the decease person wanted or have.

The art of making funeral joss paper craft is slowly dying with fewer craftsmen were able to make these items. Having these extra joss paper building add cost to the funeral expenses. Some elaborate master pieces can run thousands or even tens of thousand of pesos.

It is good that Sanctuarium also had a crematorium and columbary units at the upper floors. The family decided to keep the ashes in a Chinese temple nearby after he was cremated.

A Visit to New Po Heng Stall in Ongpin Street

New Po Heng use to be located at 531 Quintin Paredes street ( formerly called Calle Rosario), ground floor of Uy Suy Bin building for more than 30 years.

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New Po Heng – ( Amoy ) Chinese -style fresh lumpia

The art deco building stand as a rare jewel within post-modern buildings along Quintin Paredes street. However for the past several years, heritage advocates, concerned citizens and residents of the district were afraid that the building is going to get demolished to pave way for a higher and bigger condominium building.

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Uy Suy Bin building

Carvajal street offers a small dining space compared to the previous location which had a indoor atrium like ambiance.

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lumpia wrapper with toppings of grounded peanuts, seaweed, fried crushed sotanghon noodles, crushed fresh garlic, powdered sugar

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fresh lettuce leaves are added

The best-seller is their Chinese-Amoy style fresh “Lumpia” or Run Bing in Mandarin – tofu, chopped cabbage, mustard, shredded carrots, coriander with generous toppings of grounded peanuts, seaweed ( Ho-Ti), fried crushed sotanghon noodles, crushed fresh garlic, powdered sugar. It is cooked along with grounded shrimp heads to add more flavors, fresh lettuce leaves then rolled together in a thin lumpia wrapper made from flour.

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cooked mix vegetables are added 

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wrapping the fresh lumpia

It also takes time to wrap the fresh lumpia into rolls.

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 I would also suggest to eat first the lumpia without using the sauce. The price of their lumpia is Php 95.00 per order. There is a 20% discount for senior citizens and person’s with disability with valid Id’s presented before ordering.

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prices 

New Po Heng / New Pou Heng

New Po Heng / New Pou Heng eventually moved out of the heritage building sometime in the later part of 2018 to a new location along 621 Carvajal  street. The quaint restaurant  along with their famous Chinese-Amoy style lumpia, pork maki, misua soup, kiampung and home-cooked meals are well-loved by the community.

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Carvajal street

While a smaller stall opened in 2019 at Ongpin street near corner Tomas Mapua street just beside Mei Sum Tea House or ( Maxim’s Tea House). The Ongpin street had fewer selection and for those interested to try the other dishes, I would recommend to drop-by at the Carvajal street.

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New Pou Heng/ New Po Heng stall beside Mei Sum Tea House

We decided to order for take outs and they also accepts bulk order. The lumpia stall had been featured in many blogs, vlogs, newspaper and television station.

Other Lumpia Variations

Lumpiang Ginayat na Papaya and Lumpiang Puso ng Saging had fillings made from shredded young papaya or shredded banana blossom. It is popular in some provinces with plenty of papaya and banana blossom. They are either fried or sauteed along with carrots and other vegetables. Young papaya or shredded banana blossom were used as a substitute for cabbage which is not always available.

Aling Ika’s fresh lumpia from Cavite City is a little bit different and have slightly different taste. Our family also have a different version of the Amoy- Chinese style fresh lumpia.

Note: Prices posted in this blog are subject to change without prior notice

Address: 621 Carvajal st. Binondo, Manila- Contact (7) 753-1891 / 277531891

New Po Heng Stall : Ongpin Street corner Tomas Mapua street, Santa Cruz, Manila

 

 

 

 

Collection of Religious Chalkware in the Philippines

Chalkware is a molded figurine or statues from plaster of paris or gypsum. These chalkware items were cheap, popular and mass produce in the country. There are still some local makers of chalkware in the country but confined to small items like figurines, souvenir items for baptism, wedding and zodiac sign statues sold in Divisoria or Chinatown during Chinese New Year celebration.

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year of the rat zodiac sign made from plaster of paris

Chalkware, Eskayola, Plaster of Paris, Carnival Chalkware

Chalkware started the rise in popularity in the later half of 19th century, in  Staffordshire, England, France, Spain, Italy and the United States.

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Photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan

Chalkware is also called “Plaster of Paris” since large quantities of the material is found in Montmartre near Paris, France. Some would also refer the items made from these items as “Carnival Chalkware Figurines”. Small figurine items would be given as prizes in carnival and games during that era.

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Photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan

It was late 19th century when local artists and craftsmen would use the medium and eventually became more common in the early part of the 20th century.  It is much cheaper compared to wood and can be mass produce in just within few days or weeks.

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photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan

Locally referred to as”Eskayola“/ “Escayola”, The material has a centuries-long history in artist’s sculpture studios as well as interior architectural decoration, folk and religious art.

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Santo Niño de Prague made from eskayola ( photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan)

Among the more famous artisan includes Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Mr. Isabelo Tampingco, Mr. Guillermo Tolentino and Mr. Maximo Vicente who would the medium in a lot of their works. Most of their artistic works are exhibited in the National Arts Gallery and other prominent galleries in the world.

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Sacred Heart of Jesus made from eskayola / chalkware probably in the 1970’s

The downside of eskayola/ escayola is that it is soft, breakable and heavy. According to a local artisan, who specializes on wedding figurines and small religious chalkware statues. During the height of their production in the late 1960’s to late 1990’s. They can make hundreds of figurine in just a couple of days ( small figurines 1 to 3 inches height).

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Blessed Virgin Mary made from eskayola / chalkware probably in the late 1970’s ( courtesy of Mr. Carlo Yap)

For small and medium sized religious figurines, It can take between 4 to 7 days. powdered gypsum is mixed with water, the gooey substance can be molded, shaped, or spread on surfaces. Molds are then removed and the surfaces are sanded or worked in various ways and with a range of tools, to smooth, refine, ornament and painting.

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Buddha figurines- the one at the left side was made from chalk ware

Among the popular countries to source these religious chalkware  were from Spain, Italy, France, United States, United Kingdom and Portugal. Some of the items were sold in pre-war Estrella del Norte in Escolta street. The items were an important conversational pieces in pre-war Manila. The collector would focus on the items which had brand name or those with signatures of famous makers or artisan.

Chalkware fragility, and art form is part of the overall appeal. In this regard, they seemed almost human, evoking the characteristic like frailties, hardship and mortality.

Local artisan would also craft wall decor, statues, coin banks,Buddha figurines and nativity scenes from plaster of paris materials.

My aunt told me that almost everyone would have these types of figurines during its heydays.

Catholic Trade in Tayuman, Santa Cruz would specializes in these types of religious chalkware until in mid-1980’s, while some local religious stall and peddlers would still have these types of chalkware until the early part of 2000.

Engineer Celso Buccat was among the first who started making fiber resin statues in the early 1980’s and the technology quickly spread among local artisan and prices of statues drop significantly. 

I can still remember that my mom was able to purchase a holy family statue in Evangelista street, Quiapo early part of 1994 for just few hundred of pesos.

Superstitious Beliefs

Several superstitious belief arose in handling of religious chalkware. One such belief is that whenever one breaks the statue, one must bury or burn the broken statues within the property. One must not throw the religious images on the garbage bin. Another belief is that one must offer the broken image at the nearest chapel or church.

Now, A big portion of religious statues are made from fiber resin, plastic or imported from China or Taiwan.

It is a dying craft and only small items such as those sold for souvenir items are being made. Those who have these type of chalkware must try to cherish them.

Bibliographies and References:

Tara Hamling’s Decorating the “Godly” Household: Religious Art in Post-Reformation Britain (Yale University Press, 2010) explores the uses of large-scale religious figural and ornamental plaster moldings, mantels, wall panels, ceilings, and other interior architectural decoration in Protestant domestic spaces from 1560 to 1660.

Personal communications: Mr. Carlo Yap, Professor Dennis Maturan, Edgardo Gamo Jr., Diana Religious Supply Store, Maro Adriano, Salvacion de Vera and Mr. Peter Andres.

Special Chinese New Year Tour 2020 (Part 1)

Royal Postal Heritage Tour in partnership with WalkwithChan, heritage advocate group bloggers and social media influencers conducted a guided tour within the heart of the Chinatown’s Manila district.

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photo collage courtesy of Ms. Lin Deres

Unlike other guided tours, The tour focus on the vast Chinatown district which encompasses part of Santa Cruz, Tondo, San Nicolas and Binondo.

Special Chinese New Year 2020 Tour

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early bird participants

 We met at the Carriedo fountain within Plaza Santa Cruz around past 6:00 am. Ms. Melody Abuan was the early bird and won 2 gift certificate from Yakikai restaurant worth Php 1,000. followed by Mr. Ray Ong, Philip Reyes and Ms. Lin Deres among the early participants who brace the overcast saturday morning. Slowly followed by two  participants who came all the way from San Pedro, Laguna province to join the fan fare.

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Kim Sha Temple

After the short tour of the Santa Cruz church, We went to have a blessing at Kim Sha Temple located at 1021 Ongpin street which is part of Santa Cruz district.

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breakfast buffet selection

buffet dishes consisted of fish with tausi, noodles, fried rice, pechay, hotdog, raddish, scrambled egg, tasty bread, two kinds of soup and bottomless ice tea and brewed coffee.

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group photo

Chinatown LaiLai Hotel Buffet

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group photo

We arrived past 7:00 am at the Chinatown Lailai buffet area, Compared to the previous year, there were fewer dishes offered at the buffet area. While Ms. Rebecca Bucad and her companion followed.

Address: 801 Ongpin Street corner Sabino Padilla Street (aka Gandara), Santa Cruz, Manila

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different kinds of ornamental and flowering plants for sale

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Chinatown Arch

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Manila Chinatown -Welcome Arch

The mood was festive, but fewer crowd on weekend. The threat of the novel corona virus may have affected the crowd participation.

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Chinese New Year revelers in costume

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parade

We spotted group of mendicants asking for cash or donations. Some are dress in ati-atihan costume and darna giving the Chinese New Year celebrations new type of entertainment.

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mendicants giving some envelope

Salazar Bakery

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zesto cola flavored tikoy (nian kao)

The group then decided to visit the famed Salazar bakery and bought some popular pastries like hopia, lao po pia ( sweetheart pastry), mamon and tikoy at the bakery before walking along Ongpin street.

Address: 783 Ongpin St, Binondo, Manila

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children imitating a dragon dance

Santo Cristo de Longos ( Popular Shrine)

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 Santo Cristo de Longos shrine along Nueva Street ( aka Yuchengco Street) corner Ongpin street is the most popular shrine of the holy cross. This shows how Catholicisim, Taosim, Buddhism syncretize and create a unique harmony between these major religion.

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Mr. Ray Ong together with some of the participants

Carvajal Street

We went to Carvajal street also nicknamed the umbrella street alley of Chinatown and bought some hopia and pastries from Holland bakery.

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home cooked meals sold in one of the stall within Carvajal street

Mr. Ray Ong gave a short talk on the interesting fruits, vegetables and food found within the street alley.

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Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila

We spend about 20 minutes inside the minor basilica and pointed out the important religious images and the real Santo Cristo de Longos which was located in the baptistry of the church.

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Lucky Chinatown Mall

Lucky Chinatown Mall is one of the posh mall located within the district. it is site for various event in the Chinatown Manila. It is like a one stop shop for everyone.

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dragon dancers in front of Lucky Chinatown Mall

The group arrived about 10:00 am. There was a lion and dragon dancers outside the mall.

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bright lantern

Chinatown Museum

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Ms. Beverly Ann Tan ( curator)

Chinatown Museum is located 4th level of the mall which showcases 18 galleries.  A visit to the museum is a MUST for those keen to learn history, heritage, heroism and anything about Chinatown’s -Manila.

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well-loved Chinese foods in the Philippines

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The group was greeted by Ms. Beverly Ann Tan (museum administrator) who gave an interesting history behind some of the practices of the Filipino-Chinese community.

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panaderia ( bakery)

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local produce

For those planning to visit the museum, Do not forget to pre-reserve in advance especially in big group.

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candid shot with some of the participants

A minimal entrance fee of Php 150 for the general public, Php 100 students with valid Id’s,Php 80 for senior citizens, people with disabilities.

Address: 4th Floor Lucky Chinatown Building- A, Reina Regente Street, Binondo, Manila

Operations: Everyday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Contact: (632)8293-2584/ (0917-1164047)

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Ilang-Ilang Restaurant

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appetizer meal which consists of kikiam ( ngo hiong), sliced century eggs, pork asado, radish cake and pickled raddish.

We ate at the famed Ilang-Ilang restaurant. Some of the famed dishes includes the appetizer meal, pata tim, shanghai fried rice, nido soup, fried buttered chicken, birthday noodles, buchi/ botchi, braise steamed fish, almond fruit cocktail.

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pata tim

Ilang-Ilang Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurant in the district, established in 1910. The restaurant is open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and closes only during Holy Week.

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steamed fish fillet

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buttered fried chicken

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birthday noodles

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For dine-in services, the restaurant can accommodate up to 180 persons on ground floor and 400 persons on 2nd floor function hall.

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group photo

Address: 551 Ilang-Ilang Street, Binondo, Manila

Operations: Everyday

8:00am to 11:00 pm

(02) 241- 9297, 241-9298, 242-3266

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Chinese New Year 2020

The group got a hearty Chinese lauriat style lunch and spend almost two hours at the restaurant.

Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Santa Cruz Parish

The parish of Santa Cruz which was carved from the growing Filipino-Chinese community started early 18th century. Santa Cruz which also encompass Escolta street was considered as part of the extended commercial, trade and services sector particularly during the Spanish, American, Japanese and early republic which thrives in the district.

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Santa Cruz parish main facade

The church architecture is a combination of of California style mission, baroque and Asian- Hispanic style. The last restoration was done in the mid-1950’s just after the war.

The current facade was renovated few years ago and several commemorative markers are found within the facade of the church.

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granite tombstone slab in front of the main entrance

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marker

Santa Cruz Parish History

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left Saint Peter Julian Eymard , center mosaic tiles Blessed Sacrament and Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Santa Cruz parish was erected on 20 June 1619. It was recounted that the Jesuits were called to administer the parish primarily to look after the spiritual needs of the growing Chinese population in the adjacent Binondo district. Binondo is located just within 1 kilometer away from the parish and serves as extension of the Chinatown district.

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interior

A replica of the image of Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) in Zaragosa, Aragon, Spain was enshrined by the Jesuits in this church and in 1743, the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Pillar was canonically established. Nuestra Señora del Pilar eventually became the titular of the parish.

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jubilee cross

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Saint John Paul II statue is one of the saints venerated at the parish

On April 1, 1764 at the ground surrounding Sta. Cruz Church, British commander Blackhouse, surrendered over the keys of Manila to Governor Anda.

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commemorative bust of Simon de Anda installed in June 8, 1958 hidden in one corner of the parish.

The plaque below Anda’s bust are the words: 1764. IN THIS SITE THE PLAZA OF MANILA WAS RETURNED BY THE INVADING ENEMY TO THE EMINENT PATRICIAN D. SIMON DE ANDA Y. SALAZAR. FILIPINAS ERECTS THIS TO HIS MEMORY. May 31, 1764.

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Plaza Santa Cruz with Carriedo fountain, Monte de Piedad and Chinatown Welcome Arch

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Plaza Lacson aka Plaza Goiti during the late Spanish, American and early republic

The area also had a street car station which is located in Plaza Goiti, while LRT Carriedo station is located just a few meters away.

Towards the mid-19th century, Parish priest Ezequiel Moreno ( now a saint) in October 1880 after being assigned in Mindoro, Palawan and Las Piñas. He became Preacher General, was assigned Parish priest assuming the post in February 1881 until the following year.

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columbary units located within the side chapel

The church was burned to the ground during the last world war in 1945 with only the facade, bell tower and side walls remains. Few artifacts which included the venerated Our Lady of Pillar was saved.

Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) under the Austrian conductor Dr. Herbert Zipper, All the members of the MSO were Filipinos except a young violinist, Manuel “Imo” Wilheim, a Jewish refugee. The other was lead clarinetist Earl J. Smith, of the 37th Division Band held their post liberation concert, fund raising and “Thanksgiving” within the ruins of the church.

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Plaza Santa Cruz – Photo courtesy of Mr. John Tewell from flickr

Concert was given in the ruins of Santa Cruz Church on May 9, 1945. Among the attendees included Jean MacArthur, wife of Douglas MacArthur, Philippine Chief of Staff General Basilio Valdes and his wife, and His Grace Manila Archbishop Michael O’ Doherty

A decree issued on 18 December 1984 by the late Arhbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin reverted the name to Santa Cruz Parish. In the same decree, Saint Peter Julian Eymard was named as the second patron of the parish.

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spiral staircase going to the belfry of the church

Santa Cruz church became a center of eucharistic evangelization and adoration and was informally recognized as a Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

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religious bookstore and supplies within the parish

400th Anniversary Celebrations

Parish pastoral council launched a year-long celebration of the parish. His Excellency, Bishop Sofronio Bancud, SSS presided over the thanksgiving Mass and the blessing of the jubilee door last June 20, 2019.

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jubilee door with 400th anniversary logo

The year round will be capped with the colorful fiesta and several events in which devotees of the blessed sacrament can participate.

It is also worthwhile to those who wanted to help the parish feeding program to coordinate with them, since the parish is known to give indigent community rice porridge “lugaw” and pandesal.

References and Bibliography:

NHCP historical marker

Saint Ezequiel Moreno bibliography
Santa Cruz parish leaflet

Santa Cruz Church : A living Heritage book

” Herbert Zipper”  holocaustmusic.ort.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011