Sunday, October 7, 2007

La Naval Coffee Table Book

Images from The Saga of La Naval
Triumph of a People's Faith

Thanks to my mom who bought me a copy.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cannonical Coronation Reenactment & Solemn Enthronement

I skipped OPD duty today to be early enough to get a seat to watch the Cannonical Coronation Reenactment & Solemn Enthronement this year. The preparations this year are really marvelous, from the church being repainted entirely, to the flowers, to the lights, to the orchestra, to the people present... everything is just as should be for Mary, regal, and glorious. I arrived around 1 PM to check out the museum and to get seats near the altar. I saw the Numero Uno cape in the museum, the Ivory Image to be used in the pahalik this year commissioned by Mr. Rei Nicolas, the Gold crown of the Niño, His golden slippers, the gold sceptre with the pectoral cross, and some more interesting stuff.

The Santo Rosario waiting in the Corridor
I was able to get a seat a few rows behind those that were reserved for guests with tickets. I waited and witnessed the image of our Lady being brought down the corridor and the gold halo being placed by a lucky attendant. We took pictures... I touched her cape... How lucky can I get! She was wearing her silver plancha and she holds the gold baton with the big rings with semi-precious stones. The aureola she was wearing was not the one used in the 1907 coronation but the one paired with the siena crown. When she was being brought up the altar, the jewels were dazzling! It's unbelievable! (to be continued...)

The Niño being Crowned

The La Naval being Crowned

Queen Enthroned

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
La Naval de Manila

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Festivity Schedule

A fresh update from Santo Domingo Church, National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary:

Greetings of peace!

Through the years, the collective devotion of the Filipino people to the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a source of pride and inspiration for many. This year, as we give honor once again to Mary, come October, we shall also be celebrating the centennial of her Canonical Coronation. This year shall witness not only another grand celebration but a high point in the renowned La Naval de Manila tradition. It is on this note that we are exhausting all means necessary tomake this once in a lifetime event both memorable and historic. Kindly forward this message to everyone so that in this way, we maybe able to reach to as many devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary aspossible. Below are the important dates to be announced as of the moment:
July 22-August 8, 2007 - SANTO DOMINGO EXHIBIT at the Santo Domingo Information Lobby (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)
September 7, 2007 [7:00 PM] - MARIAN VIGIL (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

September 8, 2007
- MARIOLOGY CONGRESS (Angelicum College, Q.C.)
8:00 - 8:30 AM Registration
8:30 - 8:45 AM Opening PrayerWelcome Remarks* Rev. Fr. Edmund C. Nantes, OPPrior Provincial
8:45-10:00 AM War and Roses: Liberating Our Lady of La Naval from the Myths of History* Rev. Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, OPProfessor, UST Faculty of Theology
10:00-10:30 AM snacks
10:30-11:45 AM Mary and the Fulfillment of God's Plan in History* Rev. Fr. Yulito IgnacioProfessor, San Carlos Seminary
12:00 NN - 1:00 PM Lunch break1:00-1:30 PM Triumph of a People's Faith (a Video Pesentation)* Rev. Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP
1:30-2:45 PM To Contemplate Mary is to Contemplate Jesus...The Three Postures of Mary* Former Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa
2:45-3:15 PM Snacks3:30-4:45 PM Eucharistic Celebration, Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary* Most Rev. Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr., DDRev.
Christopher Jeffrey Aytona, OP andRev. Cecilio Vladimir Magboo, OPMasters of Ceremonies

September 8 - October 14, 2007
- REGINA SACRATISSIMI ROSARII EXHIBIT (Santísimo Rosario Parish, University of Sto. Tomas, Manila)

September 15, 2007
[6:00 pm] - CENTENNIAL CONCERT -Tiples de Santo Domingo at the Philam Life Auditorium (UN Avenue, Manila).

September 29-October 31, 2007
- LA NAVAL DE MANILA MEMORABILIA EXHIBIT at the Museo de Santo Domingo (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

October 4, 2007
[4:00 PM] - SOLEMN ENTHRONEMENT and RE-ENACTMENT CEREMONY of the CANONICAL CORONATION (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.

October 5-13, 2007
[4:00 PM] - SERENATA - Novena days (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)
Oct. 5 [Friday] - Mr. Basil ValdezOct. 6 [Saturday] - Las Pinas Boys Choir
Oct. 7 [Sunday] - Hangad Jesuit Music Ministry
Oct. 8 [Monday] - Dr. Raul Sunico, Prof. Eugene de los Santos (tenor), Prof. Thea Pérez (soprano)
Oct. 9 [Tuesday] - UP Concert Chorus
Oct. 10 [Wednesday] - Mr. Jose Mari Chan and Ms. Jamie Rivera
Oct. 11 [Thursday] - Psalterion of UST Central Seminary and Miss Fatima Soriano
Oct. 12 [Friday] - Elim Community Music MinistryOct. 13 [Saturday] - Hail Mary Children's Choir

October 7, 2007
- FORMAL LAUNCHING - LA NAVAL DE MANILA COFFEE TABLE BOOK: --- The Saga of La Naval: Triumph of a People's Faith --- (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)
Messages Editor's NoteLito B. Zulueta
A. La Naval: a legacy of faith and Devotion by Rolando de la Rosa, OP
B. Battle of La Naval: Rages of Waves, Fury of Faith by Florentino Hornedo, PhD
C. La Veranda Imagen de Nuestra Senora del Rosario de la Naval: An Image Biography by Regalado Trota Jose
D. The Saints in the Procession of La Naval by Regalado Trota Jose
E. Other Venerated Images of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Dominican Shrines in the Philippines by Regalado Trota Jose
F. The Crescent Moon at Our Lady's Feet by Regalado Trota Jose
A. A Pinoy Mariology: Mary i the Heart of Filipinos by Roland Mactal, OP
B. Our Lady's Visage: A Marian Iconography by Isidro Abano, OP
A. Our Lady's Jewels by Ramon Villegas
B. La Camerara: Our Lady's Handmaid by Angelita Reyes
A. Intramuros: Biography of the Walled City by Jose Vitor Torres, PhD
B. The Dominican Section in the Old Intramurosby Regalado Trota Jose
C. Sto. Domingo Church in Intrmurows by Romeo galang
D. Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City by Maximo Noche, UAPE. Sto. Domingo Museum by Rolando Castro, OPF. The Big Church and My "Big Shot" Man by Ma. Lourdes Zaragosa-Banson
A. The Rosary and St. Dominic by Rolando de la Rosa, OP
B. Dominican Missionary Activities in Asia by Lucio Gutierrez, OP
C. Our Lady's Champons: Lorenzo Ruiz and Comapnion Martyrs
A. The Music of La Naval by Julie Ann Hallazgo
B. Sto. Domingo Tiples by Eugene de los Santos
A. The spectacular Canonical Coronation of Our Lady of the Rosary in 1907: a tory of Challenge, Opposition, Persistence and triumph by Ma. Eloisa Parco - de Castro
B. The Long Bumpy Road to the Canonical Coronation and after (1904-1935): a Chronology by Ma. Eloisa Parco - de Castro
C. La Naval fiestas in Pampanga by erlita Mendoza
D. Nick Joaquin: Our Lady's Mintrel by Lito Zulueta
E. A Photographic Survey of Memorabilia
Writers' profile
Interactive CD

October 14, 2007
- FIESTA OF LA NAVAL DE MANILA (National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Santo Domingo Church, Q.C.)

Mere words and gestures are not enough to show our gratitude. Pagpalain kayo ng Diyos at ang inyong pamilya. Maraming, maraming salamat po!

In Christ through Mary,

ChairmanCommittee on Media Promotions for the Centennial of the Canonical Coronation
La Naval de Manila 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Glorious and Triumphant
La Gran Senora de las Islas Filipinas
Nuestra Senora del Santissimo Rosario La Naval de Manila
Photo Credits : Benjamin Empleo
La Naval de Manila Flickr Group

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Crown Jewels

by Francis Jason Diaz Perez, III
On 4 April 1906, the Dominican Provincial Superior, Fr. Santiago Paya, OP, embodied the general sentiment of the nation in his petition to the Holy Father requesting authorization for the canonical coronation of the miraculous image of the Santo Rosario - "that the devotion of the Filipino people to the Virgin of the Rosary may increase day by day, that the Blessed Mother of God may be honored, and that the faith, piety and devotion of the Filipino people may flourish.

When His Holiness, Pope [Saint] Pius X, granted the petition, the date of the Canonical Coronation was proclaimed to the nation. The idea captivated the enthusiasm of the people and electrified a million hearts to action. Men and women from all parts of the country, and of all walks of life, whether poor or wealthy, donated their best jewels toward the crowns and the Virgin's regalia. The response was so enthusiastic and wholehearted that in a short time there was sufficient gold and silver and precious stones.

The Santo Rosario wearing the entire Canonical Coronation Regalia in 1907.
Official Portrait taken in 1991.

The stones from the various pieces of jewelry were dismounted, and their gold melted to go into the common project. The Canonical Crowns were designed by Prof. Vicente Rivera y Mir, a young but reputed professor of sketching at Colegio de San Juan de Letran. It was Rivera's artistry that gave form to the common dream of many devotees. Filipino hands, too, cut and shaped the precious stones that would embellish it. This endeavor brought together the famed jewelers of the time, Gregorio Bartolome and the Macario Brothers, to the Santo Domingo Convent in Intramuros where all the work was done. The design was executed by the plateros of La Estrella del Norte.

In the afternoon of the 7th of September, 1907, the Padre Prior of Santo Domingo, received the two crowns, the Father Rector of the University of Santo Tomás, the Dean of Law, the Dean of Medicine, the Dean of Pharmacy, the Secretary General, 9 Law professors, 9 Pharmacy professors, and 18 Medicine professors signed & certified the deed of donation.

From 1907 to 2007, a hundred years after, nothing matched, in importance and in cost, what the entire nation gave for the Coronation of its Queen.

The Corona Canónica of the Santo Rosario was designed by Prof. Vicente Rivera y Mir of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. The stones were cut & shaped by Gregorio Bartolome and the Macario Brothers. It was later on executed by La Estrella del Norte.

The Corona de la Virgen is wrought from solid gold, of a distinct Gothic style. Its frieze is formed by two bands, the major band supporting a lovely frame composed of a multitude of diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Vine leaves run along its center in gold, and over them gleam diamond stars. The diadem is made up of a band of diamonds and clusters of other gems. On its sides and back are engraved in relief the escudo of the Philippines, the escudo of the Dominican Order and the anagram of the Blessed Virgin Mary, while the front is enhanced by a rich gem donated by the faculty members of the University of Santo Tomás. From the diadem, eight bands run down in the form of laurel vines, delicately filigreed. In their leaves are ensconced hundreds of pearls of all size. These bands join in the uppert part of the corona, on which rests a globe of solid gold encircled by an equator of diamonds. Over the globe stands a cross, also of diamonds.

A dedicatory inscription was engraved in the underside of the Corona Imperial of the Virgen - Real y Pontificia Universidad de Santo Tomás - Manila - los Profesores a su Patrona la Santísima Virgen del Rosario en su Coronación - 5 de Octubre de 1907.

The Corona Canónica of the Virgen showing the frontispiece donated by the Faculties of the University of Santo Tomás

The frontispiece donated by the University of Santo Tomás is composed of an artistic arrangement of precious stones which, by their diverse colors, represent the different faculties of the University. In the center is a beautiful diamond representing the Faculty of Theology, and around it, as if in tribute, are an emerald, an amethyst, a topaz, a ruby, and two sapphires, emblems of the other teaching staffs. One of the stars in this priceless cluster carries on its reverse side the name of the donor and the date and occasion of the gift.

The Corona Canónica weighs 60 ounces or 1,700 grams of the purest gold and is encrusted with a total of 1,083 precious stones.

The Corona Canónica de la Virgen contains sixty ounces of gold [1,700 grams] without counting the weight of the gems or precious stones. These are numbered and classified as follows: 470 diamonds [336 large & medium, 134 small], 62 sapphires, 61 emeralds, 59 rubies, 11 topazes, 7 turquoise, 1 amethyst, 1 opal, 223 , medium & 49 large pearls, plus the array of gems donated by the Faculty of Santo Tomás. All told, there are a total of 1,083 precious stones on the Virgen's corona alone.

The Santo Niño has something to be proud off too: its made from 21 ounces of 595.34 grams of gold and it contains the following stones: 334 diamonds [198 small, 98 chips, 33 medium, 5 large], 79 sapphires, 28 emeralds, 26 rubies, 7 topazes, 1 heart-shaped emerald, 153 large & small pearls, plus the cluster of gems donated by the Faculty of Santo Tomás similar to the one in the Corona de la Virgen. The number of stones in this crown totals 638.

Solid Gold Aureola of the Santo Rosario

The solid gold aureola of the Virgen is a masterpiece of the goldsmith's art and is encrusted with thousands of precious stones [diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, pearls, etc.]. It is of the same style as the 1811 crown in terms of craftmanship and detail, if it was not made together with it. No other image of the Virgin in the country possesses an aureola that can match or surpass this treasure and masterpiece.

The Dominican cross topped by a corona ducal in the middle was made in time for the 1907 Canonical Coronation. It is also solid gold and is encrusted with diamonds. It was meant to be placed on top of the aureola, as the canonical coronation was indeed a triumph for the Order of Saint Dominic. The next Papal Concession after that would come 17 years after for another Santo Rosario image, the Peñafrancia

Gold rostrillo of the Virgen encrusted with the best heirloom pieces of diamond jewelry in their original settings.

the gold aureola of the Virgin enbeedded with best diamonds in their original settings, mounted en tremblant. The perfection of the craftmanship is clearly obvious and the delicate exectuion of each piece of jewelry, said to have come from the name droppable families at that time.

For security reasons, these pieces are no longer used for processions, they have to be removed before the Virgin is brought down and replaced with the Sienna crown or regalia. Its quite difficult to remove this as you have to remove the manto of the Virgen to be able to and this takes time and a lot of effort. And so also for practical reasons, the rostrillo of the Sienna crown is worn as the Coronas and the Aureola can easily be replaced.

According to the chronicles of the Santo Rosario as soon as it was enthroned in Santo Domingo in 1593, it already proved "miraculous" so much so that its devotees showered it with jewels and precious embroidery. The high point came in 1646 with the victories of La Naval de Manila and the years after when donations poured even more.

Somewhere in the pool, is an engraving by Laureano Atlas of how the Santo Rosario appeared in 1759, i.e. instead of gold embroidery, jewels are sewn unto her frontal, that she was literally covered with it from head to foot. The accumulation from the late 1590's to the British Invasion were looted by the British, who also inflicted serious damage on the two images.

Nonetheless, the people were undaunted and donations kept on coming. Some where lost in the earthquakes & fires which destroyed the previous Santo Domingos.

The surviving pieces, together with the recent donations given at that time were mounted on the 1811 Crowns, actually a set.

When it was announced that the Queen of the Philippines was to be canonically crowned, the Junta de Gobierno, or the organizing committee, made a public appeal, the first time in the history of the country, apparently the only one, to this day, for donations of gold and precious stones. This further enriched her treasury.

The Coronation Regalia of 1907 & Jewels as well as the 1811 Regalia is the one that is preserved to this very day.

With the transfer of the Santo Rosario in 1954, jewelry was still the preferred offering to the Santo Rosario even in the modern era. A substantial number of pieces were accumulated that there was no need to bring out the coronation jewels for the annual fiesta.. A cache of these, that was used by the Santo Rosario was lost with the death of Fr. Augusto Antonio, OP in 1981...

Thereafter new ones are lent or given to the Santo Rosario for her gala. We we're lucky enough that in 1997, on the occasion of the 90th year of her Canonical Coronation, the Santo Rosario wore some of my mother's heirloom jewels, in its new settings, some of which came all the way from her grandmother. In the same year also when Nick Joaquin gave his medal of the Ramon Magsaysay award, we had it encased in a gold frame complete with precious stones so that it can be mounted on the peana of La Gran Señora.

It is something that we treasure in our hearts to have been part of this enduring tradition.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Jewels of the Virgin

The Coronation Jewels of the Santo Rosario
A love story between a Queen and a People

by Francis Jason Díaz Pérez, III

published in the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Souvenir Program of the Foundation Day of Quezon City on October 1997 to mark the 9th Anniversary of the Canonical Coronation of the Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de la Naval de Manila.

October 5, 1907 was, in the religious history of the Philippines, an important one for Marian Devotees. On that day, the miraculous image of the Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de la Naval de Manila was canonically crowned – a pontifical concession that was unprecedented in the Far East.

As early as April 4, 1906, the people expressed their deep sentiment to have the image of La Gran Señora de Filipinas crowned canonically so the Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines, Rev. Fr. Santiago Paya, O.P., beseeched His Holiness, Pope Pius X (now a Saint) to grant the Canonical Coronation of the Santo Rosario. The letter of petition noted among other things the hope “that the devotion of the Filipino people to the Virgin of the Rosary may increase day by day, that the Blessed Mother of God may be honored, and that the faith, piety and devotion of the Filipino people may flourish.”

The subsequent approval of the Supreme Pontiff was jubilantly received by the country. The proclamation of the great event was later announced by Church authorities and furthermore, exhorted the faithful to pay her due homage: “this Pontifical concession for the honor and glory of the great lady of the Philippines, while satisfying our legitimate aspirations, bids us as the children of the Church, to surround the act of coronation with all the splendor possible and with that pomp and magnificence which great countries with deep religious sentiments have always displayed whenever it is sought to honor her who is the ornament of our hearts, the august protectress of our ventures, and the happy safeguard of our uprightness and prosperity.”

Sparked by this religious sentiment and the appeal of the National Committee for the Canonical Coronation, our people showed their love for the Queen of the Rosary and spontaneously donated jewelry, precious gems, their dearest heirlooms to become a part of the coronation jewels – assayed as the most valuable of their kind in the world. After the jewels were inventoried, the famed jewelers of the time, Gregorio Bartolome and the Macario brothers cut and set the stones. Following the design of Prof. Vicente Rivera of Letran, the famous goldsmiths of La Estrella del Norte fashioned a masterpiece, where the best stones and the noblest of metals blended into a harmonious artistic whole, proclaiming the sum and substance of our people’s love for the Queen of the Rosary.

The Santo Rosario de la Naval is said to be the richest in the country because the fire of her devotees’ love for her made it so, and even made more resplendent by our people’s unceasing faith and devotion. She has so many gems, but her wealth cannot be measured in terms of diamonds and gold alone, for in the words of Quijano de Manila “around her famous jewels – tribute of four grateful centuries – there hovers a brilliant cluster of legends, each rare stone having a romance behind it.” For offering her these gifts, be it simple or elaborate, was the outlet of that true and unadulterated spirit of homage from loving hearts. Thus had the Santo Rosario been attired as “a royal lady of the court of the Felipes” magnificently adorned, wearing exquisite vestments embroidered in gold and dazzling jewelry befitting a queen.

But these tributes are pale in comparison to the various times she made her presence felt by her people, but the fact that they were engrossed all their lives doing this for her is, the gift that she treasures most dearly. Shown here unmistakably was the pure quality of her devotees’ sentiments for her, the strength of their faith and devotion. It is not the external glitter that counts but the evermore shining example of undampened ardor that matters.
On the 5th of October, 1907, her subjects found their way to Intramuros. In solemn procession the Santo Rosario was escorted by her thousands upon thousands of faithful devotees from Santo Domingo to the special platform erected by the side of the monument to Ferdinand Magellan close to the former Intendencia Building. The faithful upon seeing her face recalls the recorded miracles brought by the Queen of the Rosary: the sick were made whole and the dying and the dead brought back to life with the touch of her mantle, or the holy water in her shrine or by praying before her.

On that day as the faithful crowd raised their prayers of thanksgiving to her, that act of faith signified, too, how her devotees pledged themselves to offer her lasting homage in recognition of her loving intercession as they recall the two galleons emerging triumphant over the superior Dutch forces. That victory, indeed, meant much to them. Were it not for the Virgin how could the defenders have triumphed over the enemy? But, because she was their Protectress, the Islands were saved from being overrun by the Dutch hordes. The battle cry of the defenders remained in the hearts of our people for in times of need, they would utter the prayers of the soldiers of La Naval de Manila invoking her intercession: “Long live the Faith of Christ and His Mother, the Queen of the Rosary!”

As Providence would have it, at that time, the American Governor General of the Philippines James F. Smith, was a Roman Catholic. He, therefore, could very well stand as a sponsor in representation of our people without doing violence to his conscience or dampening the warmth of our own faith on that momentous occasion “replete with elaborate ceremonies of a regal function and yet somber with the solemn rituals of the Church.”

The heavens rejoiced with us and wept. What started as a drizzle soon became a torrent. Yet the ceremonies went on as scheduled. The Apostolic Delegate, Most Rev. Ambrosio Aguis, OSB, received the two dazzling bejeweled crowns from the Governor General. He placed the first on the Child and the second on the Mother, amidst the deafening shout and applause of those present and the tolling of church bells, as if to voice out for all to hear the promise of her Filipino beneficiaries to remain what they had always been throughout the years – her children and the children of her Son.

How much must have been Our Lady’s joy then, seeing so great a crowd before her and acclaiming her Queen? And, her people, in this solemn occasion, have exerted their best efforts to manifest their undying faith and devotion to her. Rich and poor, elite and workman – all of them were in attendance to express how deep-rooted was their love to the Santo Rosario.

This monumental story of love will continue to be told through the ensuing years as the faithful cease not to gather around her as they are held by the bond which ties together in harmony the children of but one Mother, the wards of but one Custodian. Such will be the unchanging relationship between a loving Queen and her faithful subjects. It is a love story which will continue to be told to generations more to come, but even when it may be told so often, never will it lose its flavor, ever enduring and always fresh. And, those who will relate them, as well as those to whom it will be told will not fail to feel that responsive chord in their hearts so tugged, so that, whenever any opportunity arises, there will be that urge to come and that willingness to render tribute due to an ever solicitous Queen and devoted Mother.

On the 90th year of the Canonical Coronation of Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de la Naval de Manila, that pledge of love and devotion will be renewed, perhaps with less splendor but certainly with greater fire. As the Santo Rosario steps out once again in the “procesión de las procesiones”, let us all take a second look at her coronation jewels. It is not the run-down version of a tiara or diadem. It is indeed more than just a set of crowns.

It is a people’s faith, a people’s love, and a people’s dream, all compounded into an external manifestation, as brightly dazzling and warm and palpitating and soaring as the Filipino devotion to Mary most holy, the Lady of the Rosary, Queen and Mother of the Philippines.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

La Naval de Santa Maria

La Gran Señora de Filipinas
Familia Perez
Venerated at San Juan Evangelista Parish
Bagbaguin, Sta Maria, Bulacan

Comment from FJDP in Flickr:

The relic of the veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary & the silver Rosary came from Santo Domingo and is the gift of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary [Santo Domingo Church]. It was invested on her on October 2000 in a solemn concelebrated Mass in the Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception in Santa María. Incidentally, a large official portrait of the Santo Rosario was given to the church & hangs in the office of the Parish Priest to commemorate this event. For the 2007 Marian Exhibit, we pinned beside the relic the bronze medal of the Golden Anniversary of the Canonical Coronation of the Santo Rosario in 1957 held in the new Santo Domingo in Quezon City. With these 3 gifts - so far, makes this the only image of the Santo Rosario to be given this distinction in the history of the devotion to the Santo Rosario & Santo Domingo Church. Actually there is a fourth gift, the silver holder for the baston & the cetro which was originally commissioned for the original La Naval [Santo Rosario] in Santo Domingo but by some mistake was too small to be used by the original image. This was given as a gift to our image to hold her cetro & baston in the late 80's.

From the beginning, to this very day day, this is the Santo Rosario de La Naval of Santa María, Bulacan, duly recognized, and so honored by the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and the Dominican Province of the Philippines by her pre-eminence and by the reverence of the people of our town which was sealed by an episcopal coronation motu propio by the former Bishop of Malolos, Most Rev. Rolando Tría Tirona, OCD, DD on the 16th of October 1998, before which the image was brought to Santo Domingo and was rubbed briefly to the original Santo Rosario.

It was through the devotion to this image that the vicaria of the La Naval de Manila of Santo Domingo was brought to Bulacan in September 1996 for three glorious days when devotees came to Santa María to glorify the Santo Rosario and to recall the 350th Anniversary of the victories of La Naval de Manila.

Photos From : Flickr (owner: robandharry3)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Modern Shrine

House of spirit
By Lito Zulueta
Inquirer News Service

It surprises people to know that the Santo Domingo Church, easily one of the biggest and most important centers of faith in Catholic Philippines, was not originally in Quezon City, where it now stands as a definitive landmark. The original Santo Domingo used to be in Intramuros. According to the CCP Encyclopedia, the church was "one of the jewels of the treasure chest that was Intramuros.

Intramuros was of course "the city of 10 churches," and Santo Domingo's relocation from there to "Extramuros" owes as much to the vicissitudes of war as well as the postwar expansion outside of Manila-to new horizons, new frontiers-much like the missionary spirit of the Dominicans and the other great religious orders, who braved the jungles and dangerous territories of the Philippines to make of the islands a vast green temple of Christ, an unbreakable rosary of the Blessed Mother.

The Quezon City church, in fact, was the sixth Santo Domingo Church. The first Santo Domingo was erected in 1588 from nipa and cogon, frail materials that naturally gave way to the elements, particularly to fire. In fact, the first church was gutted by fire in 1603, prefiguring the fiery history of the Dominican order in the Philippines.

Not fire, but seismic turbulence, however, greeted the next Santo Domingo structures, which were destroyed by earthquakes in 1619, 1862 and 1863. Each time the church was toppled, the Dominicans erected a more magnificent church, defiant as ever. The neo-gothic church that replaced the one toppled by the earthquake of 1863 was particularly noted for its majesty, easily the grandest in a district known for its grand churches.

It was this neo-gothic structure where Jose Rizal attended mass before boarding a ship to Spain to continue his studies. It was this structure that particularly impressed the new American colonizers. In the 1915 "Guide to Manila Catholic Churches" published by Norton, the church was described as "unusually attractive" with "a brilliant radiance":

"Highly agreeable is the first impression of this church, with wide nave, groin vaulting; narrow side aisles separated by pillars, set wide apart (that) gives a very airy appearance... (with a) pulpit of fine workmanship, of molave and other rare native wood... (and in the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary), the gallery of tracery work noticeable; and you are facing a beautiful altar where is standing in surroundings of artistic splendor, the image so famous in history, and now venerated as the patron of the islands."

For nearly a century, the gothic church withstood earthquakes, the Philippine revolution and the American invasion. But alas, it did not survive the Second World War. On December 27, 1941, Japanese planes bombed Santo Domingo and laid it to rubble. But when the Dominicans cleared the debris, they recovered the image of Our Lady of La Naval, the icon of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary that got its name after the Spaniards and Filipinos defeated the vastly superior invading Dutch armada in the 17th century. The image would later head the procession to symbolize Santo Domingo's relocation from Intramuros to Quezon City.

After the war, the Dominicans proceeded to build a new church in Quezon City. During the La Naval feast and procession on October 10, 1954, the church was inaugurated. The image was taken to her new altar, and the Santo Domingo Church was also canonically erected as the National Shrine of the Holy Rosary in the Philippines.

The Majestic Neogothic Baldachin Where the Image of the La Naval is Enthroned Every La Naval Season

Spanish Moderne

In building the new church, the Dominicans commissioned their protege, architect Jose Ma. Zaragoza, who built the church according to the Moderne style that had been prevalent in the 1930s and 1940s, around the time he was an architecture student at the University of Santo Tomas.

His choice was radical. The Moderne style, which was short, was mainly employed in residential structures, in contrast to the earlier Art Deco, which was tall and used in commercial buildings. Thus, while the orientation of Art Deco was vertical, that of the Art Moderne was horizontal.

But the Santo Domingo was anything but short. Like any church structure, its initial thrust at spiritual magnificence was directed upwards, to the heavens. But because of the horizontal orientation of Moderne, the structure appears box-like and massive.

But Zaragoza's most important innovation was to combine the Moderne style with Spanish colonial architecture. In a nod to history, he designed the church in accordance with the Spanish Catholic mission style, attaching the priory of the Dominicans to the church and making the complex the headquarters of the Dominicans in the Philippines, much like the Santo Domingo in Intramuros, when it was the nerve center of Dominican evangelization in the islands.

The new Santo Domingo is the biggest of the Santo Domingo series. Compared with its predecessor, it is 18 feet wider, 13 feet longer, and 28 feet higher. Measuring 85 meters in length, 40 meters in width and 25 meters in height, it is easily one of the largest churches in the Philippines.

The church is spacious. The total floor area is 3,400 sq m, enough to accommodate more than 7,000 people. Its width gives it a cavernous and magnificent appearance. It has two lateral naves, each with a five-meter width. Despite this, there is no column at the center for support, a construction feat even today.

Masterful works

The Middle Panel of the La Naval Battle Bas-Relief Over the Central Portal by Francesco Monti

The facade is notable for its massiveness and its clean lines. At the foot of the 44-meter tower is the relief of St. Dominic, carved by the Italian sculptor Francesco Monti. At the top of the entrance is a dramatic bas-relief of the Battle of La Naval, also by Monti.

One of the Impressive Stained Glass Windows

Inside are beautiful stained-glass windows by Galo Ocampo, depicting the old 15 mysteries of the rosary. The windows are large, measuring some 21 sq m. A huge mosaic of St. Dominic constitutes the simple but imposing altar. The mosaic consists of colored stones imported from Italy and inlaid to form a big picture of the founder of the Order of Preachers.

Another series of windows has the pictures of the leading saints of the Dominican order, including St. Vicente Liem de la Paz, the protomartyr of Vietnam and an alumnus of Santo Tomas and Letran, and the Dominican martyrs of Indo-China, Japan and China.

The late National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco depicted important incidents in the life of St. Dominic in colorful murals at the cupola. Eight in all, the murals in the cupolas measure three meters wide by nine meters long.

On the corners of the cupola are the figures of the four evangelists, done in vivid brown tones by Antonio Garcia Llamas.

The church has natural ventilation. The special plywood ceiling is perforated to allow the escape of hot air. Together with the 13 side doors and the three main doors, the perforated ceiling hastens the refraction of air inside the church.

The plywood ceiling is also painted white to permit the reflection of the neon lights inside, and thus give indirect lighting to the whole interior. This is arranged in such a way that there is no dark nook or corner in the church.

There are actually 2,000 40-watt fluorescent lamps that, however, cannot be seen. The dome is illuminated by a 1,000-watt floodlight. Neon lights at the cove above the altar brighten the altar during mass.

Contrasted against the vast white ceiling are colored tiles imported from Spain and Belgium.

Apart from the main altar dedicated to St. Dominic, an altar houses the La Naval, resplendent in its elaborate robe and jewelry, and another altar is dedicated to St. Martin de Porres, the mulatto saint of the poor.

When it was opened in 1954, the Dominicans called the church a "modern" home for Our Lady, one that would update the devotion to the Blessed Mother amid criticisms that the Church belonged to more backward times. But 50 years later, the Santo Domingo Church remains new and modern amid so much tawdry architecture. It is a timeless showcase of artistry and spirituality.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Fugitive Image

By Ma. Gracia N. Lumba
(reprinted from October 13, 1963 issue of Sunday Times Magazine)

The annual celebration of the feast of La Naval reaches its climax today with a procession of the faithful at Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City. Object of veneration is the image of Our Lady of the Rosary, about whom countless stories of her miraculous intercession in behalf of the distressed have been woven.

Interspersed with these stories are numerous accounts of how the image has survived-unscathed-earthquakes, fires, wars and other disasters. Perhaps, the most dramatic accounts took place during the early days of the Japanese attack on the Philippines, when our Lady (the image that is) became the "rescued" rather than the "rescuer".

But for a courageous group of individuals who undertook the rescue job, the yearly La Naval festivities would be less inspiring. The image with all her costly accoutrements, would not be there.

To Rev. Fr. Aurelio Valbuena O.P., one of the rescuers, 22 years ago seem only yesterday. At that time, this Dominican priest was prior of the 354 year old Sto. Domingo church in Intramuros. "When Cavite was bombed shortly before Christmas of 1941", Fr. Valbuena recalls, "we were alarmed. We immediately thought of placing the statue of the Blessed Virgin inside an underground vault. This vault, 4 meters by 3 meters, was the repository of our Lady’s tiara, crown, scepter and other valuable church articles. Noon of the 27th, Japanese planes rained bombs on Intramuros".

Sto. Domingo church was leveled to the rgound among other buildings. Survivors evacuated the walled city. Father Valbuena and company hurried to Sto. Tomas University on Espana, there to bide their time. Three days later, on the afternoon of December 30, the Dominicans went back to Intramuros, picking their way among the still smouldering ruins, to the spot of the underground vault.

The original rescue team consisted of 15 priests (including Fr. Valbuena), a lay brother and a layman. When they reached the spot, other persons volunteered to help, among them priests from other orders (Augustinian, Recollect, etc.).Letran students and other lay devotees of the Blessed Virgin.

"Some even felt slighted because they had not been notified of the rescue plan", Fr. Valbuena says. "But then the mission was fraught with dangers; the idea had to be kept to a minimum number of people".

Chief danger lay in looters who were roaming he place. There, too, was the possibility of another air raid, Manila having been declared an open city. Work had to be done fast, with maximum secrecy.

Laborers removed the big branches of trees that blocked the door of the vault. The work hit a snag when the combination lock of the outside door refused to budge. The bombing and the resultant heat had caused the steel to expand. A combination expert was summoned, but his 3 hours of trying were of no avail. The rescuers decided to bore a hole through the steel door with a pointed instrument found among the debris. The boring took another hour or so. Then somebody tied a piece of steel to the end of the rope and inserted it through the opening.

The group tugged and tugged with all their might, but still the door would not budge. When the group was about to give up, another hefty pull by the athletic Fr. Salvador finally did it. The inner door easily yielded to a turn of the key. The priests rushed into the vault, only to fall back because of the intense heat and humidity. After a long while, they went in again and lo! There she was with all her paraphernalia intact.

Under cover of darkness, an unscheduled procession wended its way through the rubble. Slowly, carefully, the rescuers carried the image to a waiting truck. Other vehicles driven by anxious devotees joined the motorcade to its destination in Sto. Tomas.

Three days later, January 2, 1942, the Japanese occupied the city. A Japanese soldier who had heard of the Blessed Virgin’s treasure came around looking for Fr. Valbuena. He threatened the good padre with death if the Dominican did not show him to the vault. The soldier was led to the place all right, but when he saw the broken steel door he might have deduced that looters had carted the valuables away. He left, and the matter was forgotten.

When a semblance of normalcy was restored in the city, the image was installed in a provisional throne in the UST chapel. Regular homage to the Queen was resumed by her thousands of devotees for the next 3 years, until the American liberation forces arrived. Again, the statue went into hiding. Another underground vault at the UST seminary served as her refuge. In the ensuing battles, the UST compound was caught between the US and Japanese troops. Miraculously again, she escaped the dangers of destruction. Stories have it that shells or grenades that fell near the place where the image was, did not explode.

In October 1952, the cornerstone for the new Sto. Domingo church was laid and blessed. Two years later, on the occasion of La Naval, about 200,000 devotees saw their Queen enthroned in her new home in Quezon City. She was arrayed in her finest raiment: diamond-studded tiara, golden crown and scepter, silk robe, rosary, rings, comb, bracelet and all—a glittering fortune (estimated at quarter of a million pesos) that might have been lost without the vigilance and daring of the statue’s custodians during the war years.

But above all, this tangible treasure that the rescue had preserved is the spiritual wealth that she holds for all those who seek her Son’s grace through her intercession.

Article Sent by : Mr. Alex Castro

La Naval de Angeles

Ivory Image of the Nuestra Señora del Santo Rosario La Naval de Angeles
circa 1830

October 10, 1830 the first La Naval fiesta in Angeles City was celebrated after its founding date as a town on December 8, 1829. This effort is to promote the devotion of the Sto. Rosario the patron saint of the founder's wife Dona Rosalia de Jesus.

Sent by : Mr. Arwin Paul Lingat

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Novenario de La Naval

Old Versions of the Novena Prayer Book
used in the La Naval Festivities

Sent by : Mr. Alex Castro

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto has been the prototype by which the La Naval miracle has been compared.

The Miracle at Lepanto

Almost from the very beginning of Islam, there were wars upon wars between Christians and Moslems. We remember the Crusade wars, seven major and several minor, which lasted for centuries. This is the story of the Battle of Lepanto, which marked the end of the Crusades and was a turning point in the history of Christianity.

Charles Martel's victory at Poitiers definitely stopped the Moslem invasion of western Europe. In the east Christians held firm against attacks of the Moslems until 1453. In that year, Mohammed II threw huge assaults against Constantinople and by the evening of May 29 the Byzantine capital fell. By 1571 the Moslems were firmly installed in Europe. Their ships ruled the Mediterranean Sea from the Strait of Bosporus to the Strait of Gibraltar and constantly preyed on Christian vessels unless they flew the French flag.

Pope Pius V, in the last year of his papacy in 1571, tried to rally the nations of Europe to join in a Holy League to stop and roll back the Moslem enemy which threatened the entire continent. Spain, whose King Philip II was also King of Austria, responded favorably. The Moslems were then engaged in the conquest of Cyprus, an island belonging to the Republic of Venice.
Leading Venetian officials would have preferred to have worked out some peaceful-coexistence agreement with the Sultan, but under the crusading influence of Saint Pius V, they decided to join the Holy League along with the republics of Genoa and Lucca and the dukes of Savory, Parma, Ferrara and Urbino.

The Papal fleet was of course part of the Holy Alliance. Pius V asked Philip to appoint Don John of Austria, the 25-year old son of Emperor Charles V, as commander-in-chief of a planned expedition against the Moslems. After receiving the banner of the Holy League from the Pope, through Cardinal Granvalla, Don John's fleet set sail from Genoa for Naples on June 26, 1571.

Don Juan d'Austria

Carlos V's Illegitimate Child, Felipe's II Half-Brother

Hero of the Battle of Lepanto

Few historians mention that just before the departure, Philip II presented Don John with a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe which she had caused to be miraculously imprinted on the cloak of the Indian peasant Juan Diego in Mexico 40 years before. Don John placed the picture in the chapel of the admiral-vessel, the Genoese John Andrew Doria, asking for Mary's protection of his expedition.

On September 16, the Christian fleet put to sea. Don John anchored off of Corfu where he learned that the Moslems had leveled entire towns and villages and then retreated to the coast of Lepanto in the Gulf of Corinth.
At dawn on October 7, at the entrance to the Gulf of Patras, the Christian and Moslem fleets finally came face to face for the battle of Lepanto.

The wind and all military factors favored the Moslems, but Don John was confident. He boarded a fast ship for a final review of his fleet. He shouted encouraging words to the men and they shouted back. After Don John returned to his own position, the wind mysteriously changed to the advantage of the Christian fleet. First-hand witnesses wrote about this moment as a most dramatic turn-of-events resulting from an "unknown factor".

At that very moment, at dawn on October 7, 1571--as Vatican Archives later revealed--Pope Pius V, accompanied by many faithful, was praying the Rosary in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. From dawn to dusk the prayers continued in Rome as the Christians and the Moslems battled at Lepanto. When it was all over the Moslems had been defeated. Of some 270 Moslem ships, at least 200 were destroyed. The Turks also lost 30,000 men while Christian casualties numbered between 4,000 and 5,000.

The Rosary had won a great military victory. Like all truly great military leaders who hate war and love peace, Don John retired after his victory at Lepanto. He died a few years later at the age of 31. Another who took part in the great battle of Lepanto, Miguel de Cervantes, lived longer to write his famous tribute to Christian chivalry, Don Quixote.

Following the great Christian victory at Lepanto, Pope St. Pius V declared that henceforth a commemoration of the Rosary would be a part of the Vatican's Mass on every October 7. His successor, Pope Gregory XIII, went further. In 1573 he established the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary--to be celebrated at all Churches which had specific altars dedicated to the Rosary.

In 1671 Pope Clement X extended observance of the feast to all of Spain. Only 12 years later in 1683 the Moslems again swept into Europe. With 200,000 men, they laid siege to Vienna. After months of valiant resistance by a small garrison, the city was relieved by an army under John Sobieski, King of Poland. The Rosary, to which the King was dedicated, was again instrumental in a military victory. Pope Innocent XI consecrated September 12 of that year to the Holy Name of Mary. The Moslem hordes were hurled back yet again at Peterwardein in Hungary by Prince Eugene on the Feast of Out Lady of the Snows, August 5, 1716. As a result of this victory, Pope Clement XI extended the Feast of the Rosary to the Universal Church.


About the Painting: This small painting, originally placed on the left of the altar of the Rosary in the church of St. Peter Martyr on Murano, is probably an ex-voto commissioned by Pietro Giustinian of Murano who took part in the naval battle at Lepanto on October 7th 1571 when the Turkish fleet was defeated thanks mainly to the Venetian ships. The play of tone and light in the lower part depicting the battle is masterly. In the top part, above a curtain of cloud, the Saints Peter, Roch, Justine and Mark implore the Virgin to grant victory to the Christian fleet. In answer to this an angel hurls burning arrows at the Turkish vessels.

Devotion to the Rosary

Beads & Prayers : The Rosary in History & Devotion (abridged)

The Legend of St. Dominic

For four hundred years or more it was generally accepted that the Rosary was given by the Blessed Virgin to St Dominic in a vision. This story was to be found in the Roman Breviary and was attested by various Popes including Leo XIII in his Rosary Encyclicals. (1878 - 03)

St Dominic who died in 1221 aged about 49 was born in Old Castile. He joined the Augustinian Canons and became sub prior. While journeying in southern France, Dominic came across the Albigenses who followed the heretical teachings of the Cathari. He began a mission to the Albigenses in the region of Toulouse where he adopted a new style of evangelization as an itinerant mendicant preacher and founded a community, the Order of Preachers.

His mission was not successful and, according to legend, in the year 1241 he retired to a cave in the woods near Toulouse. After three days of fasting and prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him accompanied by three queens and fifty maidens, the number clearly corresponding to the pattern of the psalter. She raised him up and kissed him, and in the style of mediaeval mystical eroticism quenched his thirst with milk from her chaste breast. She then told him that not intellectual thundering against heresy but a gentle remedy against sickness was required. "Therefore if you will preach successfully, preach my psalter." The blessed Virgin then vanished together with her entourage. Restored and armed with the rosary Dominic went forth and reconverted the Albigenses to Catholicism. The Cathars who did not believe that Christ was a real man, born of a real woman, such as he, Dominic, had now experienced her to be, were to be persuaded by the statement proclaiming: "And blessed is the fruit of thy womb".

The belief that it was through Dominic that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave us the devotion of the Holy Rosary, was the firm and constant tradition of the Church supported by a weight of authority which could hardly be called into question without temerity. But this view was challenged by Fr Thomas Esser writing in the 1890s. Fr Herbert Thurston reviewed the evidence very fully at the beginning of the last century and came to the conclusion that there is a complete absence of St Dominic's name in connection with this devotion until 250 years after his death; there is no mention in biography, recorded sermons, in the documents for the process of canonization, nor in paintings or sculpture. None of the many early Dominican saints used the rosary as such though many of them did recite a multitude of Aves. For instance Blessed Benventuro Bojani said 1000 Aves daily and 2000 on Saturdays.

The link between the rosary and St Dominic would seem to have been proposed by Alain de la Roche, a Dominican Friar and founder of the first Rosary Confraternity in 1468. What is certain is that from that time onwards the Dominican Order of Preachers were the main promoters of the Marian Rosary.

The Origins of the Rosary

If it was not St Dominic who gave us the Rosary where did it originate? My reading of the story of the Rosary will show that there was no one point of origin, rather it evolved over a long period and from a variety of sources. The multiplicity of streams of development and other influences are depicted in the Illustration. If we were to compare it to a river system, there are four main rivers or lines of development. Three have their source in Scripture, the Psalms, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, and finally the use of prayer beads.

>> continue reading here

By : John Desmond Miller (c) 2002
From : Beads & Prayers : The Rosary in History & Devotion [website]

Friday, March 9, 2007

La Naval de Bacolor

They also celebrate the La Naval Fiesta in Bacolor, Pampanga
Sent by : Mr. Alex Castro

A Comment from Mr. Arwin Lingat :

In 1786 the first "La Naval" de Bacolor in honor of Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario was celebrated. The only three places in the Philippines where La Naval is celebrated: Sto. Domingo in Manila, Bacolor and Angeles (1830)in Pampanga.

*Note : I thought I'd bump up this nice comment by Arwin. Thank you very much!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Images from the Transfer to the Modern Santo Domingo

The La Naval in UST

On September 28, 1942, after the Sto. Domingo Church in Intramuros had been damaged during the initial bombing raids of World War II, the image of Our Lady of La Naval was tranferred, for reasons of safety, to the UST Chapel, and was enshrined there until October 10, 1954. The image was again transferred in a solemn procession to the newly-erected Convent of Santo Domingo in Quezon City.

In commemoration of the 50th year of the said transfer, the image of Our Lady of La Naval returned to the University on October 1, 1992. After the nine-day novena, Our Lady was brought back in a solemn procession to her shrine in Santo Domingo Church.

From : The Official UST Website [link]
Souvenir from the Celebration of
50 Years of Devotion to the Virgen del Rosario
in the Philippines

Sent by : Mr. Alex Castro

The Old Shrine

The Old Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros
where the image of the La Naval was venerated

This was the fifth church to be built by the Dominican friars. It was inaugurated in 1868. It is the work of the first "qualified" Philippine architect Félix Rojas, and was constructed in the neogothic style. Its façade is a literal imitation of the façade of York Cathedral in England (13th and 14th centuries).

The church altar prepped up for the La Naval Fiesta.
The image of the La Naval is at the Center, the Dominican Saints surrounding Her.

Sources :
The City of God: Churches, Convents & Monastaries [website]

Photo Credits :
Mr. Alex Castro
The La Naval Flickr Group

Friday, March 2, 2007

Saints of the Rosary

Santo Domingo de Guzman
Founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). Born at Calaroga, in Old Castile, c. 1170. He became a priest with thoughts of misionary work in Northern Europe. But then he saw the dangers in the Albigensian heresy. He lived and preached in evangelical poverty, gathered others around him and founded the Order of Preachers. Dominic labored in France, Spain and Italy. Consumed by work and penance, he died 6 August, 1221.

San Pedro Martir
Born of heretical parents in Verona in 1206. At age 15, he met Saint Dominic in Bologna and begged admission to the Order. He soon became a celebrated preacher and engaged in disputes with the heretics all over Northern Italy. Enraged, his enemies ambushed and killed him on the road to Milan. In his own blood, he wrote: Credo in unum deum. He is the first Dominican martyr.

San Jacinto de Odrowatz
Also known as the Polish Saint Dominic, he was born of the noble family of Odrowatz.He performed astounding miracles and cures. On every occasion of his life, our Lady was to lighten the load for him, and as a last favor, she appreared to tell him that he would die on the Feast of the Assumption.

Santa Margarita de Ungria
Of royal patronage, she was offered to God before her birth in 1242 in petition that her country would be delivered from the Tartar Invaions. In fulfillment of the vow, she spent her childhood in the monastery. Shortly after when her parents obtained papal dispensation for her to marry the king of Bohemia, she refused and said.: I esteem infintely more the King of heaven... than the crown offered to me by the king of Bohemia.

Santo Tomas de Aquino
This great Dominicanteacher lived only for 49 years (1225-1264). But he traveled much, from his birthplace at Aquino in central Italy to Cologne, to Paris, to Rome and to the monastery near Naples where he died. Thomas prayed much and dedicated his brilliant talents investigating the sublime truth of God in the light of faith and the human intellect. Canonized in 1323, he is the patron of all Catholic schools and is titled "the Angelic Doctor."

San Raymundo de Peñafort
A Spaniard born in 1175, he became a rpiest and professor of philosophy and canon law. A co-founder of the Order of the Redemption of Captives, he studied Arabic and the Koran so as to dialogue with Muslims. He died a centenarian on January 6, 1275 and was a declared a saint in 1601.

San Alberto Magno
A doctor and teacher of the church, he is a patron of scientists and philosophers. His most attentive student concerning Aristotelian philosophy was Saint Thomas. He became provincial and then Bishop of Ratisbon but after two years returned to teaching. A profound and holy professor, he died at Cologne in 1280.

Santa Ines de Montepulciano
She was born in 1268 and embraced the religious life at an early age. Because of her precocious wisdom and sanctity, she became superior in her community at the age 15. Later she founded a monastery of Dominican nuns in Montepulciano and became its first prioress. She died in 1317 at age 49 and was canonized in 1726.

Santa Catalina de Sena
The 23rd child of hard-working parents, she was born in Siena, Italy in 1347. She showed early signs of unusual sanctity, joined the Third Order of Dominicans and became a spiritual guide to many. She influenced public affairs and encouraged the pope to leave Avignon in 1377 and return to Rome. She dictated spiritual writings, died in 1380, and was declared Doctor of the Church in 1970.

San Antonio de Florencia
Born at Florence in 1389 and joined the Dominican in adolescence, he was soon promoted to positions of responsibility becoming sucessively prior of Cortons, Naples and Rome. In 1446, he reluctantly became Archbishop of Florence and was noted for his mercy to the poor as well as for his prudence and good counsel.

San Vicente Ferrer
Born in Spain in 1350, he recieved the Dominican habit at the age of seventeen. In his turbulent epoch, he was an angel of peace, preaching the word of God with special stress on penance and the Last Judgement. He was outstanding for the gift of prophecy, worked astonishing miracles and brought back thousand to the practice of their faith.

San Pio Quinto
Elected pope in 1566, he accomplished great reforms in the Church, notably among the clergy and in the Roman Missal. By his prayers, especially the rosary, this Pope of the Rosary obtained from God the naval victory for the Christians at Lepanto. After fulfilling every duty of the "Pastor Bonus," he died on May 1, 1572.

San Luis Beltran
The patron of all Dominican Novices and formation personnel, he volunteered for the foreign missions and was sent to Latin America. There he labored for over seven years among hostile Indian tribes of Colombia, Venezuela and the West Indies. He converted countless numbers through the miraculous gift of tongues.

San Juan de Colognia
Born in Germany towards the end of the 16th century, he was sent to work in Holland, where he brought relief to the catholics cruelly persecuted by heretical Calvinists. With 18 other religious of different orders and secular priests, he was hanged in 1572 for the defense of the Holy Eucharist and the Primacy of the Pope. He was beatified in 1675 and was canonized by Pius IX on June 29, 1867.

Santa Catalina de Ricci
Remarkable for her spirit of penance and life of contemplative prayer, she recieved many extraordinary favors form God including the mystical espousals and sacred stigmata. Nonetheless, she was also an eminently practical person and an able adminsitrator for 36 years as prioress of her community.

Santa Rosa de Lima
The first saint of the Americas, she was born in Lima, Peru in 1586. An intelligent and efficient woman, she took Saint Catherine of Siena as her model. At 15, she recieved the habit of the Third Order Dominican. In obidience to her parents, she did not enter the Convent but lived at home a humble life of penance and mystical prayer.

San Martin de Porres
Today's humble saint, son of a white Spanish father and a black Panamanian mother, was born in Lima, Peru in 1579. As a boy, he learned the art of healing. As a Dominican, he served as infirmarian, healed the illness of the poor and also of animals. He led a life of profound prayer, penance and extraordinary spiritual gifts. He is the patron saint of the poor and the sick.

San Juan Macias
A cooperateor-brother like Saint Martin, he was born in Ribera, Spain in 1585. Embracing the Dominican way of life in 1623, he became a porter and set about at once serving the poor who came to the priory gate for alms. He is distinguised for his great devotion to the rosary and untiring supplications for the souls in purgatory.
Procession Sponsor: Angelicum College QC

Santa Magdalena de Nagasaki
She was left on her own resources at the age of twenty two when her parents perished in the great persecution in Japan. She placed herself under the direction of a Dominican father, Jordan of St. Stephen, and recieved the habit as a tertiary. At a public hearing presided over by the Mandarin, after her arrest and torture, she stood up and cried out her profession of faith. She was martyred in 1634.

San Vicente Liem de la Paz
The first Vietnamese Dominican, he was born in Tra'Lu in 1731. He recieved the Dominican habit in Manila and continued his studies at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros. Already a priest, he asked to return to his land to work among hnis people; he labored for 14 years until he was captured and martyred on November 7, 1773.

San Francisco de Capillas
Francis was born in Baquerin de Campos, Palencia, Spain on August 14, 1607. He entered the Dominican Priory of St. Paul of Valladolid. He arrived in Manila in February 1632, where he was ordained priest. In 1641, he attended the Provincial Chapter held in Manila and asked the new Provincial to send him to China. In 1642, he left for China with his friend, Fr. Francis Diez. He went to the villages and town in Fogan and Funing converting huge numbers of Chinese. He was captured and remained incarcerated for two months. He died on January 15, 1648. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Santo Tomas Khuong
Thomas Khuong belonged to a noble family on Tonkin and could well be a son of a Mandarin. A Christian since childhood, he became a priest and a Dominican tertiary. He was imprisoned many times because of his faith. When he was in his 80's in 1859, he was arrested again. The judge tried in vain to make him trample on the crucifix and invited him in vain to persuade his Christian follwoers to apostatize but he firmly replied, "to redeem mankind, Christ voluntarily suffered death... I too, want to give love for love, spilling all my blood for him." While genuflecting to adore the crucifix, his head was cut off, it was the 30th of January 1860.

Beata Margarita de Castelo

Born a dwarf, deformed, and blind, Margaret was abandoned by her parents but found refuge in the homes of the poor. By her radiant charity, she became a source of hope and consolation for the poor, the outcast, the sick and the imprisoned, to whom she ministered tirelessly as a Lay Dominican. She is Patorness of Pro-Life Philippines.

Beata Juana de Aza
The mother of Saint Dominic, she was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1828. Devotion to her persisted through the centuries despite the poverty of records. The mother of three priestsm, one of whom died a death of heroic charity and two who were raised to the altars of the Church, she can safely be judged to have been not only a valiant woman but also a saintly one. Her picture, as that of any mother can be seen reflected in her sons.

San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila
The Filipino proto-martyr, Lorenzo was born in Binondo, Manila. As a young man, he became a member of the Rosary Confraternity. Implicated in a crime of unclear circumstances, he left his wife and children and set sail for Okinawa in 1636 together with other Dominican Missionaries. Arrested, they were brought to Nagasaki where they underwent hideous torments for their Christian faith, giving up their souls to God on September 28, 1637.

Descriptions: from the La Naval Novenario 2006

Thanksgiving Prayer to La Naval

Queen of the Holy Rosary, Our Lady of La Naval.

We gather as one people in celebration of a battle fought and won; a vow made and fulfilled; a time remembered and held dear; a miracle experienced and kept alive; love recieved and returned; your patronage sought and thanked for; God praised, God adored.

Mahal Naming Ina,

As our lips move in whispered prayers, our hands over beads, our knees bend, our eyes look up to you, we plead for your mercy, your grace your love.

O Mother of Peace,

Give birth to God in our hears. Give birth to Peace in our world. Give birth to the Word who heals all strife, conquers sin with love, overcomes death, brings us life. As once you interceeded for the victory of faith in these islands, pray for us now, now, in our struggle for truth and justice, for peace and love in Christ.

O Queen of the Philippines,

In your loving hands, you hold Jesus, our God, our King, our Savior. You hold him for us to adore and serve, to love and find salvation in. O Mother and Queen, our hearts may be small, but our love is enormous. And we ask you to come and take your place in us, in the company of your belvoed Son; to bless us with your abiding presence; to fill us and keep us in your love and protection; to lead us in the eternal Fiat and Magnificat to God, in whose name we gather. AMEN.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Despedida a la Virgen


Adios, Reina del cielo
Madre, Madre del Salvador
Adios, Adios!
Adios, dulce prenda adorada
Dulce prenda adorada de mi sincero amor.
Adios, Reina del cielo, adios adios.
Madre del Salvador, Madre del Salvador
De tu divino rosto la belleza al dejar
Permiteme que vuelva tus plantas a besar;
He quedado O Maria, abrasado en tu amor
Quedate adios Senora, adios, adios
Dame tu bendicion, Dame to bendicion
Madre del Salvador, Madre del Salvador.
Madre amorosa, prenda de amor
Adios, adios!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Feast of Feasts

It is the Traditional Feast Day that Manila Society has forgotten…

It used to be that Manila’s grandest ladies and gentlemen — from the Tuason, Legarda, Prieto, Valdes, Roxas, de Ayala, Zobel, Zaragoza, Araneta, Ortigas, Vargas, Madrigal, Cojuangco, and other affluent families — spearheaded the preparations for the annual event in honor of “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario” Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary…

Don Felix Roxas y Fernandez [ o 1864 - + 1936 ], Mayor of Manila from 1905 - 1917, recalled the “La Naval de Manila” Novena at the Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros and wrote in 1936: “”Up to the age of nine [ in 1873 ], I remained under the care of my aunts who strove zealously to undertake the responsibility of my early education. All of them very devout women, they frequently took me along to the religious festivities, specially to the church of Santo Domingo during the nine-day novena of the Most Holy Rosary. The devotion to this Virgin, who is venerated in this church, has not diminished a bit in spite of the changes and social transformations in these islands. Last night [ October 1936 ], for example, the torrential downpour that continued during the hours of prayer was not an obstacle to the filling of the church by a devoted crowd anxious to take part in saying its prayer to the legendary Virgin, to hear the sermon of the priest who preached from the pulpit, and to witness the solemn rites of those ceremonies.”"

The Great Dominican Feast of “La Naval de Manila” pays tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario” Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, wrought unbelievable naval victories for the Spaniards over the Dutch invaders of these islands in a series of battles in 1646. What made the Spanish Victory more miraculous was that they only had two worn galleons, the “Encarnacion” and the “Rosario,” that battled the more numerous, and better-armed, fifteen Dutch frigates.


Manila Society venerated the magnificent and beautiful image of “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario,” a legacy of the Spanish Governor General Luis Perez Dasmarinas to the Manila Dominicans in 1593. It was carved from [ elephant ] ivory by a Chinese sculptor under the supervision of Captain Hernando de los Rios Coronel . The image is garbed in yards of precious “tisu de oro” cloth of gold embroidered with silver gilt thread. The crowns of Our Lady and the Child Jesus are of high-karat gold and are studded with many precious jewels, the gifts of generations, indeed centuries, of affluent devotees.

Don Felix Roxas inquired with the PreWar Spanish Dominicans about the origin of the image of the “Santo Rosario”… “”I have often asked myself if the actual image of the Virgin was imported or done by some local carver. My investigations uncovered the following facts:”

“The community of Dominican friars arrived from Mexico prior to the arrival of the Augustinians, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits in the Philippines. About the last years of the XVI century, on the same site where the church of Santo Domingo is actually located in Intramuros, they erected a chapel where the Virgin of the Rosary, the image about two feet high, was venerated, the same image still conserved in an urn lying between the two towers of the belfries at the outer facade of the church. This original image was replaced by the present one which we owe to the chisel of a Chinese carver who executed the work without the intention of becoming a great artist, and completed it as if he were guided by a divine inspiration, something he himself did not take into account.”
“From August 16, 1587, this image has attracted the devotion of Catholic believers, who have multiplied manyfold, encouraged by the favors they received from her. From the very beginning both the the Virgin and the infant Jesus in her arms have appeared with crowns on their heads. In this way they were venerated until Pope Pius IX prepared a ritual decreeing that the coronation of images of Virgins should be done by the highest ecclesiastical authority of each land beginning with the coronation of the Virgin of Savona, Italy, who was crowned by Pope Pius IX himself. Others followed this tradition, such as that of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, who was crowned by a delegate of His Holiness. The turn of the Philippine images came in this century in the following order: The image worshipped in the church of Santo Domingo in Manila; that of Penafrancia in Nueva Caceres, Camarines Sur; that of Manaoag in Pangasinan; and last, that of Antipolo, recently crowned with great solemnity in the Manila Cathedral. The last-named coronation was special: the Apostolic Delegate crowned the Virgin and the Archbishop of Manila crowned the infant Jesus [ sic ], each one by special instructions from His Holiness.”"

[ “Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buenviaje” The Virgin of Antipolo is actually a depiction of the “Immaculate Conception” and She does not carry the Infant Jesus as part of her iconography. Don Felix Roxas must have confused Her canonical coronation with another revered image of Our Lady. ]


Historian Basilidez Bautista explained that during the Spanish Era, it was the tradition of rich and devout Filipino families, specially those of Spanish extraction, to consider the “Santo Rosario” as another ”heiress” to the family jewels. An entire lot was always apportioned and forthwith donated to the Virgin.

Three of the Virgin’s legendary jewels are ”The Carbuncle,” the Roxas ”Granada de Oro,” and the Roxas “Concha.”

“The Carbuncle” is a mythologized large red gemstone that was believed to have crowned the forehead of a large serpent that inhabited the Pasig River. It was immortalized in a story by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, an ardent devotee of the “Santo Rosario.” However, artist Rafael del Casal, who was privy to the Dominicans and to the image of the “Santo Rosario,” says — to great disappointment — that it does not exist. He knows that the largest red stone in the Collection of the Virgin is neither a ruby nor a garnet but is made of faceted red glass and is set in the “Ave Maria” cipher on the Virgin’s “plata” silver gilt dress. Mr. del Casal thinks that “The Carbuncle” could have also referred to a Pearl, and recalls that the Virgin has two big pearls which are set as drops dangling below the orbs in her two gold crowns. A pear-shaped pearl like the internationally famous and centuries-old ”La Peregrina” [ currently owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor ] is set in the 1811 Crown and an L-shaped baroque pearl is set in the 1907 Crown for the Virgin’s “Canonical Coronation.”

Mr. del Casal is of the opinion that Nick Joaquin’s story of the Carbuncle is actually a metaphor for the Triumph of Christianity over Paganism.

The Roxas “Granada de Oro” [ Golden Pomegranate ] and the Roxas “Concha” [ Shell ] had a more historic — and royal — provenance: King Norodom I of Cambodia visited the Philippines in 1872. At a ball given by the Arnedos in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga he met and fell in love with Senorita Josefa “Pepita” Roxas y Manio of nearby Calumpit, Bulacan. But he could not further his intentions because of their different religions. Before his departure, he gave Senorita Josefa Roxas a precious, pomegranate-shaped jewel [ called the “Granada de Oro” ] encrusted with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and pearls and her sister Senorita Ana Roxas a smaller shell-shaped one [ called the “Concha” ] also encrusted with precious stones. Both Senorita Josefa’s ”Granada de Oro” and Senorita Ana’s “Concha” were donated by the sisters and their brother Rev. Fr. Manuel Roxas to the ”Santo Rosario” at the Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros. The “Concha” was inscribed “S.M. El Rey de Cambodia A La Sta. Ana Rojas 1872″ [ “His Majesty The King of Cambodia to Senorita Ana Rojas 1872″ ]. Most unfortunately, the ”Granada de Oro” was lost after PreWar. It was last seen — hanging from the neck of the “Nino Jesus” — in a published photograph of the “Santo Rosario” in a supplement of the “Philippines Free Press” on 03 May 1930. That same photograph showed the “Concha” pinned to the hem of the embroidered garment of the “Nino Jesus.” Unfortunately, decades later, the “Concha” also disappeared upon the death of Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P., the Chaplain of the Virgin, in 1982. He had carefully kept it in his bedroom for scholarly study and it could no longer be found after he died.


It actually rained torrentially during the Canonical Coronation of the “Nuestra Senoral del Santisimo Rosario de ‘La Naval de Manila’” on 05 October 1907…

Don Felix Roxas reminisced the Canonical Coronation of the “Santo Rosario” in 1906 [ sic ], which took place during his tenure as Mayor of Manila, and wrote in 1936:

“”I remember the glorious day of the fifth of October, 1906 [ sic ], when the canonical coronation of our Lady of the Rosary, who was venerated in the Santo Domingo church in Intramuros, was pompously celebrated in this city by order of Pope Pius X.”

“At that time, in anticipation of the said day, the prior of the Santo Domingo convent announced to the faithful devotees who used to fill the pews of the church that from that time on Manila had nothing to envy the renowned sanctuaries of Zaragoza, Lourdes, Monserrat, Begona, and many other sites selected by the Most Holy Virgin Mary as the throne of her mercies.”

“On the day set for the coronation ceremonies, as foreseen, there was an extraordinarily large crowd consisting of delegations from the provinces, carried by their devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary, anxious to witness the event. The organizing committee in charge of the ceremonies secured a permit from me to erect a stage for the ecclesiastical authorities and lay guests invited to the memorable event on Magallanes Drive.”
“Preferential seats at the center of the stage near an altar were given to Governor General James Smith, the Commissioners, Chief Justice Arellano of the Supreme Court, the undersigned as Mayor and other officials of the insular and city governments.”

“An incessant and persistent rain fell at the precise moment when the image of the Virgin passed near the small altar where the Papal delegate, Monsignor Guidi, assisted by Mons. Petrelli as secretary, was preparing to place the crowns on the infant Jesus and on the Virgin. Despite the rain the Governor General, who was a Catholic, calmly assisted them in the coronation rites.”

“Dona Encarnacion Roxas, the sponsor of the coronation, and her retinue of ladies, without abandoning their posts and in proof of their devotion, brilliantly fulfilled their obligation of carrying and delivering the crowns adorned with a valuable collection of precious stones.”

“From this moment almost all of those who took part and witnessed those rites firmly believed they had crowned the Virgin of the Rosary as the patroness of the Philippines.”"

……. “At the risk of being repetitious, I want to relate that it was in the afternoon of October 5, 1906 [ sic ], when, in the midst of a torrential downpour, high dignitaries of the church, of the government and of the Filipino people gathered around the platform erected beside the Ayuntamiento building toward Magallanes Drive for the ceremonies.”"…….


From his sickbed, Don Felix Roxas wrote in October 1936: “”This afternoon, if the weather permits, this image will leave in a procession that will start from the Santo Domingo Church and tour around the streets of Intramuros. Devotees will have the opportunity to look upon her once more, enthroned on the brightly lit carriage to spark the human imagination in beholding her at the height of her glory.”"

In its last days of glory PreWar, All of Manila Society, dressed in their grandest, congregated at the Santo Domingo Church inside Intramuros for the annual “La Naval de Manila” Procession, which was always celebrated every second Sunday of October.

The “La Naval de Manila” Procession in PreWar featured only ten Dominican images interspersed with the “estandartes” banners of the Fifteen Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Yet, it was already the longest and the grandest of the Intramuros processions. It was headed by the image of San Pedro de Verona, … Santa Rosa de Lima, and those of Santo Tomas de Aquino, Santo Domingo de Guzman, San Jose, and the “festejada,” the “Santo Rosario.”

Manila oldtimers remember that it was the time-honored custom for the faithful to kneel reverently, even on the Intramuros streets, as the image of the “Santo Rosario” passed by during the annual “La Naval de Manila” procession. It was a tradition that was portrayed on film by director Lamberto Avellana in his screen adaptation of Nick Joaquin’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino.”


Just before the War, the affluent Sor Catalina Osmena of the Dominican Sisters initiated — with her own substantial donation — a fund drive for the construction of a new, large, and magnificent “carroza triunfal” [ boat-shaped carriage ] entirely of solid silver [ 85 % ], an absolute masterpiece of the “Talleres de Maximo Vicente,” for the use of the Virgin during the “La Naval de Manila” processions. Mrs. Carmen Reyes, the current “Camarera” of the “Santo Rosario,” told Rafael del Casal that the PreWar devotees had donated real silver coins [ 85 % ] for the “carroza triunfal.” Mr. del Casal also met the old Ireneo Taruc, a longtime silversmith at the “Talleres de Maximo Vicente,” who as a 19 year old apprentice had labored on the elaborate silverwork of the ”carroza triunfal” just before The War. He too, remembered that it was entirely of solid silver. Unfortunately, it was burned inside the Santo Domingo Church and Convent in Intramuros during The War.
The present, simpler “carroza triunfal” was a memorable work of the “taller” of Santiago Santos in PostWar [ in 1946 ]. The workshop was located at the back of the University of Santo Tomas.


The image of the “Santo Rosario,” along with her regalia — her gold crowns and renowned jewels — along with the other Great Treasures of the Manila Dominicans — the jewel-encrusted gold chalices, monstrances, reliquaries, ecclesiastical accoutrements, silver tabernacles, candlesticks, torcheres, missal stands, banners, ornate ewers and basins, important centuries-old documents, and many other valuables — had been stored by the Spanish Dominicans in their large vault located on the ground floor of the Church Complex. The late Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. described the Santo Domingo Church Vault to Rafael del Casal as having had very thick walls. As The Fire raged for many days and nights, and while the Manila Dominicans prayed for the safety of their Greatest Treasure — the 350 year old miraculous image of the “Santo Rosario” — The Great and Terrible Possibility loomed that the image of the Virgin would not survive the Extreme Heat from The Fire which had completely permeated the vault — and the entire Church Complex as well…

An Eyewitness recounted:

“”In December of 1941, the Japanese warplanes bombed Intramuros. One of the first casualties was the Santo Domingo Church and Convent. The towers were destroyed and only the walls were left. The Church and the Convent burned for many days. Wisely enough, days before the bombings, The Dominican friars had stored the centuries-old image of the “Santo Rosario,” along with her crowns, jewels, and vestments in the “Tesoro del Convento” The Convent Treasury, which faced Plaza Isabel II. But because of the intensity of The Fire, No One really knew if the image of the “Santo Rosario” had survived…”"


But She did, miraculously as always. The Extreme Heat of The Fire had bent, twisted, deformed, and in fact almost melted several of the important gold and silver objects. But the 350 year old [ elephant ] ivory and hardwood image of the ”Santo Rosario” actually survived The Conflagration which had consumed her beautiful, rose-colored, Gothic-style temple from 1875 — the Santo Domingo Church and Convent in Intramuros, a masterpiece by the Europe-trained, patrician architect Don Felix Roxas Sr. — and it also finally laid waste to the historic site of her home beside the Pasig River since 1593.

An Eyewitness recounted:

“”The Prior of the Santo Domingo Church and Convent, Rev. Fr. Aurelio Valbuena, O.P. — a respected and trusted man — decided to transfer the image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ and her crowns, jewels, and vestments to a safer place, to the University of Santo Tomas in Sampaloc District. That was, of course, if She survived…”
“On 30 December 1941, three days before the entry of the Japanese Ground Forces, the Japanese Air Force had started the aerial bombardment of The City. Electricity had been cut off; Blackouts were the norm. Word went around that Massive Looting would take place. Rev. Fr. Aurelio Valbuena, O.P., the Prior of the Santo Domingo Church and Convent, was advised by well-meaning friends and devotees to finally secure the treasures of the Manila Dominicans, paramount of which was the centuries-old ivory image of the “Santo Rosario.”
“And so, on 30 December 1941, at 4:00 p.m., Everyone concerned — the Manila Dominicans, their friends and devotees of the “Santo Rosario,” two Augustinian Recollect priests, and some Manila policemen — got together at The Ruins of the Santo Domingo Church and Convent in Intramuros to see if the ivory image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ had possibly survived The Conflagration within the confines of the “Tesoro del Convento” The Convent Treasury, and if so, to bring her to relative safety at the University of Santo Tomas in Sampaloc…”
“The Vault Door of solid metal was extremely difficult to open. The Group initially thought of blowing it up with a grenade but they found out that it would not be necessary…”

“They decided to use an Acetylene Torch. But The Vault Door resisted to a remarkable degree.”
“Nearly four hours later just before 8:00 p.m., They were still firing away at the mechanism of The Vault Door in Complete Darkness [ Electricity had been cut off; Blackouts had been imposed ]. It was very difficult to open!!!”
“Finally, by 8:00 p.m., They had already succeeded in making a small opening… A few minutes later, the mechanism finally gave way and They were able to force The Vault Door open…”
“The Dominican priests were eager to enter The Vault but an Infernal, Boiling Heat gushed out from it so they had to retreat!!!”

“But from the Vault Entrance, They saw that The Image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ was intact. She had survived!!!”
“Tears of happiness gushed forth as They All immediately knelt down on the wet stone floor of The Convent and prayed the “Salve” aloud. They had never prayed more intently. The Silence, The Blackout, the Faint Moonlight, the Deep Shadows, the Wet Walls… all contributed to the dramatic, almost ‘theatrical’ experience…”
“The Silence was broken by the bursting of canned goods in The Convent ‘Almacen’ Storerooms. All the factors: the Darkness, the Bombings, the Fear, the Assault… all contributed to the Great Emotion of the scene.”"
After the image of the Virgin was retrieved from the smoking vault by the Spanish Dominicans, the Ortigas brothers, their Ramirez-Ortigas nephews, along with some other brave souls, undertook the perilous and heroic task of transporting her secretly, in a rundown “camioneta” truck through the back streets of Sampaloc District, to the Chapel of the University of Santo Tomas, where She remained throughout The War.

“”The image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ was wrapped in a thick blanket. Her image, the wooden chests containing her crowns and her jewels, and the wooden boxes containing her elaborate vestments were all loaded in the same truck.”

“The truck exited through the Colegio de San Juan de Letran side…”

“The silent caravan made its way to the University of Santo Tomas through the dark and deserted streets.”

“The truck was followed by several other cars who escorted the “Santo Rosario” to the University of Santo Tomas.”

“Several people were waiting for the rescuers at the University of Santo Tomas. In fact, there was quite a crowd waiting to receive the ’silent procession’ from Intramuros.”

“Although the ‘Santo Rosario’ was not appropriately dressed, the priests lifted the thick blanket so She could be seen by the assemblage. The crowd knelt reverently and gratefully prayed the “Salve”…

“The Virgin was Saved!!!”

“The next day, some priests returned to the ruins of the Santo Domingo Church, to the “Tesoro del Convento” the Treasury, to retrieve boxes of documents of lesser value, but these had already disappeared in the intervening hours. Had they not retrieved the image of the ‘Santo Rosario’ the previous night, She too, might have disappeared!!!”

“The most important thing is that the historical Virgin is still venerated at the new Santo Domingo Church with the vestments, jewels, and crowns given to her by the Filipino nation.”"

As the eminent Dr. Nicanor Tiongson observed: “The devotion to ‘Nuestra Senora de La Naval’ was always traditionally aristocratic in nature.”



*According to the memoirs of Don Felix Roxas y Fernandez [ o 1864 - + 1936 ], Mayor of Manila from 1905 - 1917, the Senoritas Josefa and Ana Roxas y Manio were the sisters of Rev. Fr. Manuel Roxas y Manio and were the children of Don Rafael Roxas y Arroyo, one of the twelve sons [ actually fifteen children ] of Don Antonio Roxas and Dona Lucina Arroyo of Binondo. According to Don Felix himself, Don Antonio Roxas was the progenitor of the “poor” branch of the Roxases. He further said that these Roxases “spelled their surname interchangeably with an “x” or a “j” and were often mistaken for the proletariat” [ it explains why the inscription on the Roxas “Concha” was “… A La Sta. Ana Rojas…” ]. Don Antonio Roxas was a brother of Don Domingo Roxas [ + 1843 ], the progenitor of the very rich Roxas-de Ayala-Zobel-Soriano Clan. Don Antonio and Don Domingo Roxas were two of the three, or five, children of Don Mariano Roxas and Dona Ana Maria de Ureta.
The Roxas y Manio siblings were the first cousins of Don Felix along with Dona Rosa Roxas de Zaragoza [ married to Don Jose Zaragoza y Aranquizna { + 1895 }, the publisher of the much-admired sophisticated magazine ”La Ilustracion Filipina,” which ran from 1890-95 ], the mother of Dona Carmen Zaragoza y Roxas, who married the famous lawyer { Atty. } Don Gregorio Araneta y Soriano Dy Ching of Molo, Iloilo. The prominent couple Don Gregorio and Dona Carmen had twelve children — Don Jose Araneta, Don Salvador Araneta, Dona Pacita Araneta de Lopez, Don J. Antonio Araneta, Dona Rosa Araneta de Alcuaz, Don Ramon Araneta, Dona Teresa Araneta de Albert, Don Vicente Araneta, Dona Margarita Araneta de Singh, Don Luis Maria Araneta, and Rev. Fr. Francisco “Fritz” Araneta S.J. — and were known as “The Manila Aranetas.”
Another first cousin was Don Felix’s sister, Dona Lucina Roxas y Fernandez, who married Don Enrique Brias Roxas. The parents of Don Felix and Dona Lucina were the prominent architect Don Felix Roxas y Arroyo { Sr. } [ o ca. 1820 ] and Dona Cornelia ”Concha” Fernandez. Don Felix Roxas y Arroyo { Sr. } had designed, among others, the Neo-Gothic Santo Domingo Church and Convent in Intramuros, completed in 1875. He also designed the Neo-Renaissance San Ignacio Church, also in Intramuros, begun in 1878 but completed 11 years later in 1889, after his death.

Also a first cousin was the unfortunate Don Francisco L. Roxas y Reyes — the only son of Don Juan Roxas y Arroyo and Dona Vicenta Reyes of Binondo — a rich and prominent businessman who, despite his being a “Consejero” Adviser to the Administration [ along with his second cousin Don Pedro Pablo “Perico” Roxas ], was accused of Sedition by the King’s representative Fiscal Castanos in late August of 1896, imprisoned in Fort Santiago, and executed on 08 January 1897. He was married to Dona Maria Elio, a Spanish lady from an influential family from Pamplona. They had six children: Salvador, Maria Vicenta, Juan, Presentacion, Carmen, and Javier.

Another branch of the family was that of the painter Don Felipe Roxas y Arroyo [ o 1840 - + 1899 ] married to Dona Raymunda Chuidian. He lived and died in Paris.

Yet another branch of the family was that of Don Andres Roxas y Arroyo married to Dona Teria _____. They settled in Calauang, Laguna.

*Rev. Fr. Augusto Antonio, O.P. should have been the first Filipino Dominican priest. But he gave way to Rev. Fr. _____ Vargas, O.P., who gained that distinction. Fr. Augusto Antonio was of Chinese ancestry; his original family name was Tantungco. His mother was a Tambunting. According to him, his mother had strongly opposed the family’s entry into the pawnshop business, and that her opposition had caused a bitter family feud.

From : Remeberance of Things Awry [website]
By Toto Gonzales

Additonal Notes from Mr. Gonzales : (February 26, 2007)

This article is basically derived from three written sources: the articles “Coronacion” and “Salvamente” in the 1957 “La Naval de Manila” souvenir program, the articles “The Glorious Image of the Virgin” and “Our Lady of Guadalupe” in “The World of Felix Roxas,” the “Recena Historica,” etc.. Invaluable information was shared by my good friend, the artist Rafael del Casal, who has worked with the Dominicans and on the image of the “Santo Rosario.” Rafael also generously translated and annotated the Spanish texts.