MANILA, Philippines - Well-known sculptor Ramon Orlina and businessman Ernie Villavicencio, as hermanos mayores, revived a tradition involving the fiesta of Our Lady of Caysasay Dec. 8 and 9.
Mass was first celebrated in the morning of Dec. 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, at the old church in barrio Labac, Taal. Then Archbishop Ramon Arguelles celebrated Mass at 4 p.m. followed by a fluvial procession.
Before the start of the procession along the Pansipit River from Labac to the Basilica de San Martin de Tours, soprano Rochelle Gerodias and tenor Randy Gilongo sang at the old Gahol house facing the river. Mary Anne Espina was accompanist.
When the procession neared the house, Roselle Biscocho recited the luwa (a declamation in honor of the Virgin Mary) and Cocoy Laurel and Mica Torre sang songs from the play ?Caysasay.?
That evening, lines of people waiting patiently along the river bank for the Virgin?s casco (boat) stretched to as far away as Lemery.
Young girls in colorful gowns making up the hila present a delightful picture. It is called the hila (pull) because the women pull the lights that originate from the Virgin?s carossa.
Any parade is not complete without a banda to provide music. It is usually led by dancing majorettes.
In the Basilica
When the procession reached the basilica, the hermanos carried the miraculous image to the altar prepared for her. People kept a Rosary vigil and sang hymns until the Mass the following day.
Orlina?s daughter Ningning recited the luwa from memory. Her devotion to the Virgin of Caysasay was instilled in her by her grandmother Paulina Gahol Orlina who wrote the book ?Taal? in l982 and who wanted to stage a play on The Virgin, but was thwarted by some people.
Finally, her son Ramon staged the play at the Cultural Center of the Philippines? Little Theater 20 years later, in July, 2006.
Thanks to Msgr. Alberto Boongaling of the parish pastoral council and the executive committee, the fiesta celebration was successful.
Santa Lucia well
The miraculous water from the Santa Lucia well behind the church in Labac is helping a lot of people get well. The image of the Virgin of Caysasay was reflected in the water hundreds of years ago.
Two women were collecting water from the well when they saw the face of the Virgin. When they looked up, they saw the Virgin on a sampaga tree with a kingfisher or casay-casay flying above her.
There is a plan to fix the surroundings of the well because the land around it has deteriorated. Those who want to help can text Ramon at 0917-8805108.
St. Therese church
The Active Group, one of the country?s leading real estate developers in the past 37 years, executed recently a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to donate a parcel of land located beside the Gate 2 entrance of the world-class Mount Malarayat Golf & Country Club and Residential Estates in Lipa City for the proposed St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish Church.
The MOA was signed by group chair architect Antonio A. Turalba Sr. and vice chair architect Cristina V. Turalba
A Concelebrated Mass was held by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles with Fr. Toti Mandanas of San Sebastian Parish in Lipa and Fr. Jun Quiambao, who will be the parish priest of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish. Groundbreaking and blessing of the land followed.
Also present during the donation were Jun Araneta, resident manager of Mount Malarayat Country Club; architect Anjeanette T. Fuentebella, CEO, AVT Properties; and Mike Carr, golf director.
A Holy New Year
More and more people are seeking God in many ways. I have a strong feeling that the New Year will bring more conversions, a changing of ways. Let us all pray for that so when we find the peace within ourselves, we can make it a more peaceful world. A blessed New Year to you all!