A Solemn Visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in N.S. Amoranto

It was sunny afternoon last week, when we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes located along N.S. Amoranto ( formerly known as Retiro street) corner Kanlaon street.

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National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes

We would often pass along their stretch of street on our way to Muñoz in Quezon City. Sometimes the church and shrine was our reference point when we are going to the Suki Market and Dapitan Arcade.

History and Heritage

The Lourdes Church and Convent was first established by the Franciscan Capuchin friar in 1891.

The devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes slowly but surely spread throughout the Philippines that the Capuchins were forced to build a bigger and more beautiful church which was dedicated on February 3, 1910.

The church used to be along General Luna street within Intramuros in the 19th century until it was destroyed during World War II in 1945.

As posted by the website of the Diocese of Cubao, there was an initiative to establish a parish within Retiro St. in Quezon City in 1941, spearheaded by the Capuchins to the Archbishop of Manila. A decree was issued on March 28, 1942 to establish Sta. Teresita del Niño Jesus Parish; however the church construction was delayed because of World War II. The image of Our Lady of Lourdes was kept at nearby San Agustin church and convent and were miraculously saved.

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Our Lady of Lourdes statute located at the left side of the main entrance

The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes then moved from one place to another during the last chapters of the war and was enshrined for quite sometime at the Sta. Teresita Chapel in Mayon Street. Finally, on February 10, 1951, the image was brought back to Sta. Teresita Parish on Retiro St, and later the parish was renamed Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Fast forward to 1997, in celebration of the Parish’s forty-fifth anniversary, the Our Lady of Lourdes was declared a National Shrine.

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timeline of the parish and devotion

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is located at Kanlaon Street corner N.S. Amoranto Ave. (formerly Retiro St.) Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City. It celebrates its feast day every February 11. There are everyday masses and special devotions are also held in the Paris.

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main entrance

The church’s present architecture is a modern revival of  neo-romanesque.

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church interior

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church altar with stained glass windows and painted ceiling

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baldoza tile

old baldoza tiles were also part of the mid-century ambiance

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main founders of the church , their names were etch in marble for posterity and gratitude

When the first construction of the church and convent was planned in a lot acquired through the donations made by the families represented by Don Salvador Araneta and Doña Natividad Zaragoza Tuason. On August 14, 1941, Fr. Florencio de Lezaun, superior of the Capuchins in the Philippines addressed a letter to the then Archbishop of Manila, Msgr. Michael O’Doherty, asking his consent to build a religious house with a church attached to it, in a 10,500 square meter lot acquired by the Order in Retiro Street. The compound also housed the school and office.

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CBCP plaque of dedication

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various saints at the side entrance of the shrine

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a spiral staircase leading to the church organ

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church organ

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Dendrobium aphyllum locally called fairy/ dainty/ lesser sanggumay were naturalized on Christmas palm within the pocket garden located within the shrine premises.

Note: All photos are from the author

Sources and References:

Website: Diocese of Cubao

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Except from Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine leaflet and poster

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004.

 

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Courtesy Meeting with Mayor Marivee Ivy Mendez-Coronel

San Miguel, Bulacan is an old town with rich in architectural heritage. One of the most iconic building is the municipal building which dates back to 1874 and was completed around 1877. The building underwent some restoration works in 1998 to 1999.

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old municipal building with festive buntings

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local historical marker

We toured the immediate surrounding complex in which different structures like local disaster response building, gazebo area, senior citizen pavilion, playground and small park.  There is also a stage area where local pageants and other activities are held.

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playground

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The municipal disaster prevention and response building is also equipt with ambulances, fire trucks and an evacuation area.

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gallery of photos of town’s mayor

The building reflects old bahay na bato , European, Hispanic, Chinese and Filipino influences.

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chandelier made from wood

The old tile flooring ( baldoza) reflect strong Hispanic influence. It’s intricate carved wooden chandelier, wood panels are made from old timbers, session hall, historic marker makes the municipal building a clear stand-out.

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Session hall

The municipal hall is neatly maintained and well managed. Our group was also joined in by some local heritage advocates.

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sangguniang bayan officials 2018

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Mayor Marivee ” Ivy ” Mendez Coronel  together with Architect Ervin Garcia

The group was paid a short courtesy call with Mayor Marivee “Ivy”  Mendez Coronel, who took time meeting the group despite having a swollen tonsil and was held last saturday.  We introduced ourselves and a short question and answer portion followed.

Given the short time, This makes our tour very memorable and being able to interact with a sitting government official.

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courtesy meeting

The town is a crossroad for travelers, merchants, tourists ( biyahero) and with the growing interest in culinary heritage, colonial houses, churches, farms and natural heritage. The town of San Miguel had a big potential.

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group photo together with Architect Ervin Garcia and Mayor Marivee ” Ivy ” Mendez- Coronel ( photo courtesy of Tubong San Miguel )

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l-r Mr. Kiefer Sevilla, Mr. Zardo Baldesotto and Mr. August Goyena

After the short and meaningful courtesy call, We were able to have a group photo with the mayor. They also gave us certificate of appreciation, souvenir group photo and some sample of their town’s product.

Special mention to the Mr. Kieffer Sevilla, Mr. Zardo Baldesotto and Mr. August Goyena for accompanying our group.

In behalf of our group, We would like to say ” Maraming Salamat po, sa inyong taos puso na pagtanggap sa aming grupo.”

Note: This is our first time to meet an incumbent official from the town

San Miguel Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MunicipalityofSanMiguelBulacan/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TubongSanMiguel/

Story Behind Duran Farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan

Duran Farm Agribusiness and Training Center Association, Inc., The farm specializes on quality and affordable vegetable seedlings sourced from East West Seed Company. The seedlings are sold to farmers and backyard hobbyists who do not have the luxury of time growing them. This makes planting easier and the survival rate of these seedling is higher compared to manually sowing the seeds directly on ground plots.

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seedling trays in various stages of growth (photo courtesy : Ms. Daryll Reese Villena) 

Inspirational Story

Mrs. Desiree ‘Daisy’ Duran started growing tomatoes at 1,000 square meter plot in the humble backyard of Daisy Duran who worked as a fish ball vendor in 2001.

She is also the coordinator of the San Ildefonso Vegetable Growers MultiPurpose Cooperative. The proprietor of this farm is a model story and their rags to riches story inspired many people to set their own farm in their community.

Ms. Daisy Duran

Mrs. Daisy Duran

17 years later, Mrs. Daisy Duran now dubbed the “Seedling Queen” has transformed the farm into “The Vegetable Paradise of Bulacan.”

She recalled the times when her family struggled to make ends meet in the slums of Payatas and how she spent 12 years selling street foods like fish ball and isaw to support her family. Duran also recalled how difficult it was in the beginning when she had to borrow money from several people to finance her capital, in order to upgrade and expand her business in the agriculture sector.

A short audio-visual presentation was shown to the group and was met by Mrs. Desiree Duran.

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Training Institute and Tourism Farm

Duran Farm has carve a niche market by being a pioneer in seedling production by producing high-quality, low-cost vegetable seedlings. It also promotes sustainable agriculture through organic vegetable production,  TESDA accredited agricultural training subsidized by the government through scholarships  of rural disadvantaged youth, and farm tourism. Duran Farm also imparts knowledge to communities in the form of workshops on urban gardens, backyard vegetable gardens set-up, organic poultry and vermicomposting.

Different kinds of flowering and ornamental plants are also planted within the area. These provide year round flowers and adds colors to the farm.

As of June 2018, over 18,000 individuals were educated on the benefits of sustainable agriculture through the agri-trainings Duran Farm provides, 350 events were conducted that imparted knowledge on agriculture through agriculture tours and workshops, and 25 recovering drug-users were provided with agriculture training as part of Duran Farm’s partnership with the national drug rehabilitation program.

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sinampalukang manok ( chicken tamarind soup) 

Aside from being a farm training site, They also serve good regional dishes like sinampalukang manok, steamed corn, fried liempo, crispy mushroom sisig.

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bloggers, vloggers and media group  (photo courtesy : Ms. Daryll Reese Villena) 

There is also a mini fish pond , where tilapia fishes are grown.

Website: http://www.duranfarm.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/iloveduranfarm/

Address: 124 Luciano St. Basuit, San Ildefonso, Bulacan

Contact number: 09178909406

Meet-Up with the Travelling Clatt

It was a hot sunny sunday afternoon past 1:00pm when i arrived at the historic Luneta Park to meet a youtuber and traveler. I have subscribed to his channel last year and when he decided to have a short Luneta meet-up, I decided to meet and learn a few information about his stay in the country.

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His had been travelling around the world for the past 3 years and He had been in the country since late November 2017.

He had traveled several provinces and islands. During the meet-up/ eyeball there were about 20 people who came from different parts of Metro Manila.

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Chinese garden 

We toured the Chinese garden and parts of the Rizal Park , after the short video taping. PAG-ASA had announce thru their social media accounts that the summer season had officially begun.  There was a lantern festival exhibit at the Chinese garden.

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Japanese garden

This was also a nice opportunity to visit these places since they waived the entrance fees.

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National Museum of Natural History ( used to be called Department of Tourism building from 1973 to early 2010 and Agriculture Building from the late 1930’s to early 1970’s) soon to be open to the general public by April 2018. 

We also toured the National Museum of Anthropology ( housed at the former Finance building)  and took the respite from the blazing afternoon sun and heat. It was a good idea, since the museum was air-conditioned and some of the participants first time to the visit the place.

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 travelling clatt interviews some of the participants

The national museum complex used to charge an entrance fee for the general public before 2016 except during sundays ( it was free).  Since few people would visit the place ( except on field trip or mandatory school assignments ).

There was a survey few years ago by a popular survey firm that there were more people who would visit malls amusement parks than visiting museums all over the country.  The museum board of directors decided to waive the entrance fees so that more people can enjoy the country’s rich history , heritage and culture.

This is quite alarming, with a lot of museums and exhibition places in the country that the general public must visit to learn more about their country’s history and heritage.

Unlike some Asian countries which would charge a higher entrance fees to foreigners and expats, All the museums in the country would charge flat rates.

We end the meet-up with group photo, a short video of the participants with travelling clatt and he even treated some of the participants to a refreshing buko ( coconut juice) . Try to watch and subscribe to his youtube channel and know his travel around the world.

As a postcard collector/ postcrosser , i took time to let them write their names at a piece of postcard which features Manila cityhall and will be mailing them with the latest stamps issued by PHLPOST.

If you like to have a postcards with signed autograph by travelling clatt and the participants, just send me an email with your home address or office address. However i only have few postcards.

 

 

Heirloom Family Dishes from Big Ben

 

Big Ben Kitchen restaurant used to be a family ancestral house constructed in the mid-1960’s and was renovated in the early 1980’s to accommodate the growing family.

Cavite especially the town of Imus is rich in history and its culinary heritage is world re-known.

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The specialty of Big Ben Kitchen is the home -made longganisa which favors are well balanced and not too heavy on the garlic.  The use of lean pork meat as the main ingredient. These tasty sausages are all-natural and contain no preservatives , nitrates or salitre.

The longgganisa recipe was made by the grandmother of Chef Gene way back in 1950 and had been a treasured family heirloom recipe. There were some minor improvements like more leaner meat, less preservatives and vacuum sealed packaging.

The restaurant had recently got accreditation from Department of Tourism, OTOP and is rated among the MUST visited restaurants in Imus, serving a good number of family and local heirloom dishes.

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Big Ben famous longganisa is best paired with sukang sasa made from Nipa/ Nypa  fruticans and seasoned with mined garlic and chopped chilies.

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Pancit Langlang – This was mentioned on chapter 25 of Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel El Filibusterismo, which mentioned students gathering in a famous panciteria in Binondo. This was also his favorite noodle dish whenever he would visit the town of Imus.

Although commonly served as regular dish and comfort food in the 19th and early 20th century around Manila and Tagalog areas. This dish is seldom serve in panciterias within Binondo and Chinatown area. Most of the accounts are from culinary historians or families which had kept this recipe for generations.

Based on how the group ate this noodle dish, We all agree that this is one of our favorite dishes. Chef Gene told us that it took hours to boil the soup base using bones from pork, chicken and beef. Topping the noodles with scrambled eggs. HIGHLY Recommended Dish. This dish can serve between 3 to 5 persons.

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Sinampalukang Manok – Chef Gene family heirloom dish uses natural tamarind extract unlike the powdered mixture which is commonly used by carinderias . The slow cooking method allows the natural taste to permeate into the chicken and the soup is not too sour. There are also kangkong ( Ipomea aquatica), chopped eggplants and string beans.

They are all sourced locally and are a welcome treat to those familiar with other sinampalukang manok dishes cooked with different ingredients.

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Halaan soup – Another highly recommended dish for those who wanted soup dish. The soup had malunggay leaves and young papaya fruit.

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Chicken adobo – During the late 16th up to the early 20th century. Cocks which died during the cockfight were never thrown away. They were slowly cooked into other dishes like chicken adobo or pakam in Baliwag , Bulacan.

But unlike the old version, Chef Gene had improved this traditional dish into a more healthier alternative.  He sourced organically grown chicken from nearby poultry farms within Cavite. Thus all are free range and thus organic.

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Pork Hamonado – This is another Highly Recommended dish, The pork is slowly cooked and bay leaves were added with pineapple which add a little sweetness.

Pineapple acts as natural tenderizer to the dish because of bromelain which is an enzyme extract . As a culinary ingredient, it may be used as a meat tenderizer.

The meat is tender and Is usually served on special occasions like Christmas, Baptism or special visitors.

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Pancit Macao – This is Chinese ( Macao/ Cantonese) influenced dish which is not commonly served even in Metro Manila panciterias. This is combination of local vermicelli noodles and thin wanton noodles with shrimps, chopped carrots, patola (  Luffa acutangula ) topped with fried minced garlic and spring onions. This is again one of my favorite dish.

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Menudo – This is not the Mexican or South American version of menudo. The main ingredients are pork meat, pork liver, chopped potatoes, chopped carrots and slowly cooked with spices like black pepper.

Some pork menudo recipes include slices of hot dogs ( red hotdogs), green peas, chopped black olives, garbanzos , red and green bell pepper, liver spread and others would add sun dried raisins too.

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Silvana ala Chef Gene with local chocolate bits ( sourced locally )  made from a layer of buttercream sandwiched between meringue wafers coated with cookie crumbs.

I must recommend this hearty dessert. Not overly sweet and ideal for pairing with hot chocolate or locally brewed coffee at Big Ben’s kitchen.

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Leche Flan ala Chef Gene – This leche flan is another wonderful treat. This is thick and Chef Gene uses organically grown chicken egg yolks with macapuno and cream toppings

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There is also a wall where one can write a message or greeting . Just bring a ball pen.

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Chef Gene Gutierrez will be participating at the WOFEX Food Expo from December 20 to 23 , 2017 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay and Mr. Ige Ramos ( Culinary Historian and Chef ) together with Chef Gene will be having a cooking demonstration on December 23 saturday . They will be using Imus longganisa as main ingredient.

 

BIG BEN’S KITCHEN (Chef Gene Gutierrez)
385 Medicion 1st-D Imus, Cavite, Philippines
Email: gene.gutierrez888@yahoo.com / imus.longganisa@yahoo.com.ph
Telephone: +63 46 435 1967
Mobile: +63 915 137 1888 / +63 918 505 5886
Facebook: D’Famous Imus Longganisa

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/bigbenkitchen/