The present church of St. Michael the Archangel recently hugged the limelight after a priest decided to paint the main altar gold without even consulting the right people to do such. An undertaking frowned upon be heritage conservation advocates.
For the first time, heritage advocacy groups of Cebu came in full force for a night of great food, music and simply the love for heritage. The Cathedral Museum of Cebu and the Yap-Sandiego House were the perfect venues for the casual affair. Though some came garbed in their best Filipiniana, the rest were in their most comfortable wear but nevertheless, the moonlit Sunday night turned out to be one of the most memorable for us this year as another milestone came into fruition.
A Federation of Cebu Heritage Advocates will soon be created from the groups that came last night. Taytayan, the Carcar Heritage Conservation Society, SkyScrapercity.com-Cebu, Hambin, the Cathedral Museum of Cebu, Cofradia de San Juan Bautista & the Casa Gorordo Museum will each have their representation in the said federation.
Good luck to all of us!
Carcar celebrates the feast of its patroness St. Catherine on November 25. Two days prior to that the Kabkaban festival and the Festival of Lights were held around the town's major streets. Both events held ahead to lure more crowd as this year's fiesta fell on a weekday which is also workday for most. I already had it in mind not to invite friends on the day of the fiesta because there's really not much to see. I also reasoned out that the traffic situation is also getting worse, a major turn-off for those coming from Cebu city.
And so the day was all for me. An opportunity to do what I love to do.
The following set is all about the happy nature of Filipinos, in a study a year ago by Axa Asia Life and research company Taylor Nelson Sofres where the Philippines came second to India.
The candle vendors are the wanderers of the modern times. They have no known permanent abode. Often coming in large groups wandering from town to town, where fiesta celebrations are.
Yet again the fiesta in Carcar came to a close with another emphasis on the life of its patroness St. Catherine of Alexandria. The Festival of Lights is not just a mere spectacle of colorful gaiety but more importantly a way to revive the long forgotten devotion to the virgin-martyr. Four carrozas depicting major events in her life, her journey to sainthood, were paraded down passing through a street aptly named after her.
At the first sound of the drum people started to gather at the Balay na Tisa where the processional image of the saint dating back to the Spanish times is kept. The ceremony is reminiscent of dapit which I witness in my trip to Malolos, Bulacan for the Sto. Niño festival early this year. In dapit, different images of the Holy Child borne on carrozas decorated or not, are brought to the church late in the afternoon for a short procession around the town. The procession is first of the three, the remaining two happens the following day, always falling on the fourth Sunday of January. One in the morning and the grand procession in the evening.
The Festival of Lights is never complete without the Kabkaban dance. Fresh from their win from the previous days Kabkaban Festival, the Carcar Central Highschool dancers lent their talent by igniting the jovial mood of the people gathered around as the procession makes its way to the church for the mass.
A sonorous sound echoes this time coming from the church belfry signaled the end of the mass. Then festal music is played by the band as the carrozas went down the hill. The dancers now have changed to their hats mounted with lamps, from a distance one would see them meander through the narrow streets of the plaza.
The last stretch of the procession is a few hundred meters from the house. And then the last set of sounds from the belfry can be heard from a distance. The carroza finally reached its destination. A few minutes more it started its descent together with the untiring dancers accompanied the the joyous Kabkaban beat. They make their final dance before everyone.
Until the next fiesta!
Copy of a painting by Spanish Renaissance painter Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina at the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Embroidery by Raffy Lopez in stylized Kabkad fern commonly found in Carcar. Nakar shells done by James Yee.
Carcar, Cebu, Philippines
Mortuary services are getting the buzz these days after the e-burol or online wake viewing is becoming the practical option for the departed's relatives abroad. Technology really has it's way.
Also getting enough attention are the artsy custom designed caskets handpainted to suit your style. Make a statement with these. Angels and any other religious themes are the popular designs sought.
The dead come here for their final pampering but the furnitures fashioned like caskets are hauling tourists in. Luckily, I was the sole visitor that day as everybody else got so busy in the cemeteries.
Just in case you forgot your prayers, everything is available here. Amulets, herbs, various concoctions, love potions or what have you, these are popular among visitors.
Candles are the most sought-after commodity. This young boy tends to their makeshift store near the entrace at the public cemetery in Minglanilla town.
This young woman takes an early lunch amidst the hustle and bustle of the narrow street leading to the cemetery. A much needed break indeed. Most vendors have been here a day before Kalag-kalag. Flowers grown from nearby towns are the cheaper alternative and will get more cheaper once the festivities are nearly ending.
Masses are held by the hour. The church has the monopoly of this business. Aside from the pamisa, they also exercise control over the lighting of tombs charging a hefty amount for only two days of use.
I decided to see for myself the phenomenon at the South Bus Terminal. Cebu being a small island, the only way to get around is by land transpo. And there is no other way to go down south but thru this hub.
It was already 9 am and the place was unusually noisy and hot. A slight drizzle earlier in the morning made the dust settle down but as soon as the sun took its place clouds and clouds of dust started to spread out. The main building is undergoing renovation and there is no space to move around. There was just this unimaginable long line of people meandering through each corner of the building. And as each bus arrived people started pushing themselves inside the narrow bus entrances, unmindful of the kind torture they are in.
I did not want to experience this kind of agony. I took the unpopular route instead.
Cebu churches were once again the highlight in a painting exhibit by known Carcaranon painter Tony Alcoseba. The exhibit dubbed “Simbahan: Cebu heritage churches in watercolor” was one of the big events in conjunction with the celebration of the commemoration of the founding of the Parian district of Cebu City.
The Carcar Heritage Conservation Society and the newly-formed Taytayan heritage conservation group spearheaded the exhibit at the Cathedral Museum of Cebu last October 11 and runs until October 30, 2008.
Art enthusiasts and heritage conservation advocates alike were joined by no less than Ace Durano, the Secretary of the Department of Tourism of the Philippines and the Archbishop of Cebu, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal. Both ended up buying the church paintings of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva church of Danao City and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral respectively.
Each painting costs Php65,000 but part of the proceeds go to support heritage conservation.