Aside from Christmas, Holy Week is another holiday break that many Filipinos are waiting. Although it’s an official break for the students, working people are the most eager because it’s a long weekend for those who are following Philippine Holiday Calendar (sorry to those working in Call Centers). For many Pinoys this is a great opportunity for reunions, family get together, barkada gimiks, beach outings and or just plain home rest. This is a great time also for resorts and hotel owners for the large number of bookings brought by flocking local and foreign tourists. Boracay in Aklan and Puerto Galera in Mindoro are the most popular holiday getaway destinations during this time of the year.

For the past years, I also spent the holy week break either by having family swimming on the nearby ‘ilog’ (Mangulila Falls or Dalitiwan River) or just staying at home watching movie or TV series marathon. Lenten break for me were always like that ever since, but this year was a different one, I finally had my first ever Visita Iglesia experience. It was a great first time, having to share Visita Iglesia with different Catholic faithfuls who flocked to different churches in the metro. It was nice seeing families along with their kids doing the Way of the Cross. There were also couples who are very solemnly praying (maybe their praying for their relationship to last). It was also characterized by those ‘Teen Barkadahans’ who are sporting party like clothes while doing Via Crusis, there are also Chruch and Barangay groups who came in their uniform shirts. And there are also those who decided to make it more solemn by going solo (like me). Different faces, different backgrounds and or different orientations, but one intention and that is to reflect on the passion of Christ.Here is the list of Churches that I went on this first Visita Iglesia experience last Maundy Thursday (April 21,2011).

First stop is the National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help (also known as the Redemptorist Church) or most commonly known as Baclaran Church.The shrine is a Roman Catholic parish church under the vicariate of the parish of Santa Rita de Cascia in the Diocese of Parañaque. It is situated along Roxas Boulevard in Baclaran, Parañaque City. Considered as one of the largest churches in the country, it also houses the image of the most venerated Marian Image which is the image of  Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Next stop was Our Lady of Pilar Parish Church commoly known as the Sta. Cruz Church.

Located at Plaza Lacson in Sta. Cruz, Manila, it was originally built in 1608 by the Jesuit Priests but later on governed by the Dominicans. The original church was damaged by earthquake and war, that’s why the present church structure was rebuilt in 1957.

Just walk way from Sta. Cruz Church is the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (St. John the Baptist Church) or the very well known Quiapo Church.Located in the district of Quiapo, Manila, this church is considered as one of the most popular churches in the country. It is the home of the most venerated image of Jesus Christ, the Black Nazarene. This church is flocked by thousands of devotees during its feast day every January.

Taking a jeepney ride from Quiapo, I then went to Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, better known as San Sebastian Church.

Located also in the Quiapo district, this church is boasting its title as the first and only neo-gothic steel church in the country and in Asia. The church was completed in 1861 and said to be designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same person behind the Eiffel Tower.

Not too far from San Sebastian is the National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus or the St. Jude Church. This church is the most close to my heart because this has been my resident church when I’m still living in Sampaloc, Manila. Having it close to my boarding house, I constantly attended mass and novena here during Thursdays and Sundays (whenever I didn’t got to the province on weekends). Located in Malacañang Complex in San Miguel,Manila, this church is flocked by different devotees praying for their intentions on health, education and popularly love matters.

Just outside the gate of Malacañang Complex is the San Beda Chapel formerly known as the Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat.

Located inside San Beda College in Mendiola Manila, the church was built in 1925 and supervised by the Benedictine Monks. It houses the image of Santo Niño de Praga and Our Lady of Montserrat.The chapel is renowned for its wonderful interior paintings by Fr. Lesmes Lopez (OSB) and Bro. Salvador Alberich (OSB).

Also a walk away from Mendiola area is Our Lady of Loreto Church or Sampaloc Church.

It is located along the busy streets of Bustillos in Sampaloc, this church was originally built in 1613 and was rebuilt in 1666 by the Franciscan priests. It was also known as “The Twin Church” being adjacent with St. Anthony de Padua Church also in the same compound in Bustillos area.

Last but not the least is the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish or the Sta. Mesa Church. Located in Sta. Mesa district, it is very familiar to students who are studying and have studied in PUP since it is very near there. I also used to passed by this church when I was still studying at PUP.

Lenten Holiday maybe an opportunity to relax from months of loaded office works, a time to chit-chat with friends we didn’t see for a long time, bonding moment for families and relatives who didn’t have much time to talk about anything or just plainly relaxing at home, but this should also be used as an opportunity to bond with the Lord. We can use this time to renew our personal relationship with Him, talk to Him, say our prayers and our confessions. As what the saying goes “Nasa Tao ang Gawa nasa Diyos ang Awa”, God is so merciful and forgiving that He always forgive all our trespasses. His generosity in spite of our misdeeds and sinful ways is so great that He still blesses us with His grace. My visita iglesia experience this year is one of the best if not the best Holy Week experience in years. Praying and following the Way of the Cross is a humbling and learning experience of how Jesus suffered and died for the sake of saving mankind. May we also learn to have courage to carry other people’s burdens, there are many people who are suffering and in need of help. Let us use Christ example of sharing His life to us by sharing also our life to people who are burdened by the crosses their currently carrying. May we become an inspiration for them to take up their crosses and win over all their challenges in life. And may His resurrection on Easter Sunday be the signal and challenge for us to rise from our own sufferings, to combat all our atrocities and rejoice in never ending faith and trust to our Lord Jesus Christ.


“Rest and vacation are not bad, but don’t also forget to reflect on the passion of Christ”

*Credits to the owners of the pictures. Photos courtesy of, and through google search.

Is Kapamilya Network A Teleserye Network?

TV has always been part of my life. Whenever I’m in idle, I used to be in front of the television watching my favorite shows. Prior to the re-launched of ABS-CBN in 1987, I think our TV is set to either channel 9 or channel 7. I cannot vividly remember the shows I enjoyed watching then but I know Eat Bulaga was part of it and I can remember Harry Gaser and Cathy Santillan as the ‘in’ newscasters then. When ABS-CBN was re-launced which also gave birth to TV Patrol, from then on, the Star Network has become the star also of our TV at home, and from then until now I’m a certified Kapamilya follower.

ABS-CBN has always been part of my life being a TV addict. During my school days, TV was never taken away from me, as I was able review and do my assignments even in front of TV. Thanks to my mother (my father is an OFW then) she allowed me to multitask during those days. My frequent bonding with the television also made me dream of becoming a journalist and follow the likes of Kabayan Noli de Castro, Ted Failon, Korina Sanchez, Angelo Castro and CheChe Lazaro (but I never consider it as a lost dream, cause I consider myself a Netizen Journalist now. hehehe). From then until now I used to follow every news programs of ABS-CBN (with the exceptions of some Kapuso Documentaries). In fact even in social media specifically Twitter, I am a follower of mostly Kapamilya newscasters and reporters. Having said that, I am now dismayed by how the ABS-CBN management is treating the NCA department. Yes indeed, maybe they are gaining more money with the Entertainment department but is Kapamilya Network a Teleserye Network only?

Taken for Granted?

For quite sometime now, with the flooding of teleseryes in ABS-CBN’s primetime block, NCA programs are seemingly taken for granted as they are pushed on the midnight block which is formerly owned by the color stripes. While it is ABS management’s prerogative to give more airtime to the entertainment shows (as I’ve said earlier maybe it gives more profit) they should also consider that there are people who are NCA program fanatics and followers. Kung dati ay hanggang 2 or 3 teleseryes at entertainment programs lang ang naghahri sa primetime, ngayon ang primtime block ay may 5 teleserye na, may 1 koreanovela at isang showbiz oriented show pa. Yung paboritong news program ko nga na Bandila ay minsan ko nang tinawag sa twitter na “CROSS-OVER NEWSCAST” kasi nagkocross ng 2 araw. Magsisimula ng before midnight at matatapos after midnight. Because of that the weekly current affairs shows have no choice but to be aired on a very much later timeslot, thus making it un-synchronized with the networks programming schedule. If you will take a look at the programming line up, for example XXX is slated on Monday evenings but since primetime Mondays are dedicated to teleseryes XXX became an early Tuesday current affairs show. And with that late airing, many NCA followers are failing to watch the shows because before it come out on their TV sets, they are already making love with their respective beds.

It’s quite disappointing to see that it seems ABS-CBN management is taking for granted the NCA programs. Are they really only for the entertainment department just because it remits bigger revenues? As I look at the TV ratings then and now, NCA programs have really declined in audience share mainly because of the timeslot they are in. During those times that the weekly current affairs shows aired at 11pm, they dominate the ratings game vs GMA’s public affairs show. But currently, Kapuso News and Public affairs shows have beaten its Kapamilya counterparts with higher ratings. Ang dami pa naman magagandang shows and NCA department like Storyline, and Patrol ng Pilipino, but because of their timeslot many people were not able to watch. If only it will be put on an earlier time I believe its audience share and ratings will go up considering ABS-CBN’s large following.

I hope ABS-CBN’s top management (Ms. Charo and Mr. Gabby Lopez) will consider this. Can’t they see the trend, that putting shows on a later time is taking its toll on them? Say for example the teleseryes scheduled on the later timeslots, they are also suffering from low ratings and audience share Look at what happened to Imortal, when it was on an earlier timeslot it landed on rank 1 many times, but when it was transferred on later time, it succumbed to its Kapuso competitor. Sino nga naman ba ang maghihintay sa isang palabas na sobrang late na umere, lalo pa’t ang bilis na ng attention span ng mga viewers ngayon at marami naman ibang shows na kapareho ng format, so the initial reaction is ilipat na lang. Most specially when it comes to news programs, why would I wait for Bandila which will come out before midnight when there is Saksi already available at 11pm? Of course to an ordinary viewer, they will settle for Saksi cause they will be able to know the news, and at the same time they’ll be able to get to sleep early.

I am hoping the management will take notice of this, cause I’m really a loyal follower of their NCA programs and I’m disappointed that they are lagging behind Kapuso public affairs shows maybe because of its program scheduling. Sana ay maglaan ng panahon ang mga namamahala na tignan at silipin ang naturang aspeto na maaring nagiging dahilan kung bakit ang ibang network ay nakakaungos na pagdating sa national ratings at audience share. Of course what’s more important is the quality of the shows being offered to the viewer but how can the audience appreciate it if they are not able to watch it. ABS-CBN is dubbed as the Asia’s Most Admired Media Company, so I think it’s right time to address the issue on its timeslot so as to balance the admirations that it is capable of illiciting. The attention and support that they are giving to the entertainment department should be the same attention and support that should be given to the News and Current Affairs department. I once watched the Storyline episode featuring Maria Ressa and she said something (with regards here leaving the company) like “ABS-CBN is not gearing towards that”. I just assumed that it is something about managements support for the news department, but am not really sure and I hope I am wrong in assuming that. As what their slogan says “Panig sa Katotohanan, Panig sa Pagbangon ng Bayan”, I hope the ABS-CBN management will invoke their “Panig sa Entertainment pati na sa News Department”.


 “Always consider the holistic part, not only those part who earned so much”
 *Credits to the owners of photos taken from Google Search