Sunday, 27 April 2014

Santa Maria della Strada Church: Cardinal Sin's Legacy

Santa Maria della Strada Church: Cardinal Sin's Legacy

              Traffic was not moving that particular afternoon along the northbound lane of Katipunan Avenue.  A cargo truck sideswiped a taxicab, which in turn, hit two other vehicles.  Traffic enforcers were investigating and were in the process of untangling the traffic buildup.  I reckoned it would take more than an hour and, upon seeing a circular church at the right side of the road, slowly and, little by little, I moved to that direction, parked under the shade of an acacia tree, made some stretching and walked inside the church compound.  The Church's name is Santa Maria della Strada Parish.

              Santa Maria della Strada Church in Pansol, Quezon City is named after the miraculous Our Lady of the Way, the patroness of the the Society of Jesus whose founder, St. Ignatius de Loyola, used to pray at its shrine in Italy. With its sides open, allowing fresh air and, at the same time, getting rid of noxious air, the church serves the spiritual needs of residents of La Vista, Xavierville, Alta Vista, Pansol and Balara, among others. The man responsible for its establishment as a parish in 1981 was the eminent Cardinal Sin who immediately acted on the petition of the parishioners for a new parish.  First parish priest was Monsignor Patricio Lim who served for more than 20 years.

             While most churches, notably those with Gothic and Baroque styles, have their bells up high a tower, Santa Maria della Strada Church has its bells within a structure constructed separately from the main edifice of the church. The steel bell tower stands to the left of the church, which is near the administration offices. At its right is a colombarium with a limited number of niches.  It was so artistically designed that it looks like a small park. There are native bamboos that enhance the beauty and serenity of the place.

             An hour lapsed, but traffic was still heavy.  Such has always been the traffic situation in that area of Katipunan which is considered as one of the most dangerous traffic black spots in Metro Manila. So critical is the situation along Katipunan that the MMDA made a commitment to field about 2,000 traffic enforcers for that area alone. It is surprising why Katipunan, where there is a heavy concentration of schools and students, was made part of the much ballyhooed Circumferential Road. But, then, where? It was half an hour later that I made it to the Quezon Memorial Circle. With an overheated engine.

- Konted

Santa Maria della Strada is at the right side of Katipunan Avenue when you are northbound, several meters after the main gate of La Vista in Quezon City.  It is near Miriam College and Ateneo de Manila University.

The sides are open, allowing cool, fresh air to circulate inside the church.

The beautiful garden in front of the church.

Statue of Madonna della Strada

The steel bell tower of the church erected separately from the church's structure.

There is balance or symmetry in the landscaping of the areas surrounding the church.

There are small shops and offices near the entrance of the church.

The main entrance of Santa Maria della Strada Church.  There are other side entrances.

Area where you light candles and say a little prayer or make petitions.

White is the balance of all colors.  It can be used at any ritual.

Church's interior

The main altar.  The icons are covered with purple linen in observance of Holy Week.

The marble altar table was used by Pope John II during the canonization of San Lorenzo de Ruiz. The life-size Crucifix above the main altar has a brown Christ (covered by linen in observance of Holy Week).

Mission statement of Santa Maria della Strada Parish community

Vision of Santa Maria della Strada Parish community.

Donations for a particular group

Covered icon

Another covered icon usually unveiled on Easter Sunday.

Walkway with railings for the handicapped.

Cardinal Sin was the man responsible for the establishment of Santa Maria della Strada Church.

The Colombarium's entrance.  It is at the right side of the church.

The box-shaped structures are niches.

Artistically designed

Flowers for their loved ones

Ornamental plants and trees enhance the serenity of the place.

Ball-shaped lamp at the center of the oval-formed cluster of niches.

More niches.  Some are still empty.

At the back of the church.  The vaults containing the niches serve as retaining walls.

Native bamboos or Buho

My attention was drawn to this corner vault.

It has the niches of Alexander B. King and Catherine B. King who were siblings of close friend Manny King. The Kings own Belman Laboratories.

Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

La Paz Batchoy

La Paz Batchoy

              I call her Ilongga girl.  She is petite, with such a light weight that you can easily lift her without much effort. She is light-skinned, almost flawless.  She likes, sometimes, a few bottles of San Mig Light beer paired with chicharon that has nothing in it but air.  When Ilongga girl gets tipsy, she grabs the microphone and, with good timing and suggestive body movement, starts singing:   Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh...Me gotta go pole the piroque down the bayou...My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh...Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou...Jambalaya and a cross fish pie and fillet gumbo...Cause tonight I'm gonna see my cher amio...Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o...Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou.....

             Next is her story telling.  They are stories repeated many times over.  Of how she misses her hometown of Concepcion in the province of Iloilo. Of how, at a very young age, she hitched a ride to La Paz  by befriending a delivery van driver. And at the public market, she had two bowls of steaming hot La Paz Batchoy.  And, from then on,  she talks about La Paz Batchoy as if it is the best noodle soup in the world.  It becomes a refrain. And on her birthday, she prepares La Paz Batchoy for a few friends.

             La Paz Batchoy is a soup dish that originated from the district of La Paz in Iloilo City.  It consists of miki noodles mixed with beef or pork or chicken strips, spring onions and bits of chicharon with hot broth poured into it.  Innards and eggs are sometimes added.  It is best eaten when served hot. The broth alone tastes good even without any condiments added.  La Paz Batchoy is the soup dish that made the district of La Paz famous. La Paz has been interchangeable with Batchoy.

             One summer day, some years back, Ilongga girl approached me. She wanted to get married but she lacked the required documents: Kulang papers ko.  Malayo ang Iloilo. At parang di daw pwede kasi underage pa ako, 17. Tulungan mo ako. So I talked to the Mayor who was a friend. Problems were threshed out and a civil ceremony was scheduled. The day came and, upon my request, the Mayor officiated.  I was the lone sponsor present.  There were no guests as it was supposed to be a 'secret'.  No celebration whatsoever. Ilongga girl wanted it that way. But a few days after, a big cauldron was sent to our house with a big bilao. It was La Paz Batchoy, steaming hot and the aroma filling the air. And it came from Ilongga girl. Her way of saying thank you.  It was so good that I had burnt tongue for two days.

- Konted

Ted's La Paz Batchoy outlet at the Ali Mall in Quezon City

You don't wait long as waiting time is 5 minutes.

A variety of Batchoy to choose from: Beef Batchoy, Beef Miswa, Beef Sotanghon, Beef Bihon, Sotanghon Batchoy, Bihon Batchoy,  Special, Super Special, Extra Super.

I ordered Beef Batchoy and fresh Puto.

Dining area

Beef Batchoy for P101

Special Puto for P25 (4 pcs.)

Batchoy and Puto go together.

Special Batchoy with liver added

Special chicharon by Daboy

You may add soy sauce and white pepper to your Batchoy.

In the business since 1945, the year the Americans liberated the Philippines from the Japanese Imperial Army.

The 7 districts of Iloilo City.  Batchoy originated from the district of La Paz.

Map of Iloilo Province

Ilongga girl prepares and cooks La Paz Batchoy in a very special way.

After a bottle of San Mig Lite, Ilongga girl does not need prodding.  She holds the mike and sings her favorite song Jambalaya.
With Ilongga girl

Ilongga girl's daughter Rachelle