Saturday, February 9, 2013


Matagal kang nakalimutan, bilis ng ikot ng mundo at takbo ng panahon, sa gitna ng magulong buhay sa syudad, ikaw ay nawala sa alaala...salamat sa isang batang Cabuyeño at muli kang napansin at nagbalik sa aking malayang ngayo'y muli kang tatangkilikin sa pastulan ng alaala kung saan lagin matamis ang mga sandaling ginugugol sa pagbabalik-tanaw.

Muli, salamat Butchoy...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Early morning thoughts from Laguna's beloved son...

"It is no longer the highest wisdom to bow the head to every whimsical order, the highest goodness to smile at an insult, to seek solace in humble tears.

You must realize that it is not goodness to be too obedient to every desire and request of those who pose as little gods, but to obey what is reasonable and just. Goodness is made manifest b
y an upright conduct, clean conscience and right thinking.

All are born free and without chains and no one can subject the will and spirit of another. Why would you submit to another your noble and free thought? It is cowardice and error to believe that blind obedience is piety and that it is arrogance to think and reflect. Why obey blindly when God gave each one his own mind and his own conscience so that he can distinguish between right and wrong? Ignorance is ignorance and not goodness and honor. God, fountain of wisdom, does not expect man, created in his image, to allow himself to be fooled and blinded. The gift of reason with which we are endowed must be brightened and utilized."

~ To The Young Women of Malolos
Jose Rizal
November 18 at 8:12am ·
  • 5 people like this.
    • Jose Carlos Juliano Alconaba AMEN to that!
      November 18 at 8:16am · · 1Loading...
    • Mike L. Cariño It was true then, it is still true now!!
      November 18 at 6:37pm · · 2Loading...
    • Cabuyao - Stories, Anecdotes and Remniscences Tragic how some of these things have not changed over more than 400 years, Tito Mike... *sigh*
      November 18 at 10:40pm ·
    • Mike L. Cariño My two-pesos worth: While we live in a civilized society, it is unfortunate that there is still a "jungle out there" in some respects and where ithe temptation to dominate or even abuse is too strong, it seems, for some some to resist. Thus the words of Lord Acton: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!" But of course this is oftentimes met with resistance from decent folks who make known their disapproval e.g. people power demos.
      November 19 at 10:54am · · 2Loading...
    • Cabuyao - Stories, Anecdotes and Remniscences Bien dicho, Tito Mike, as always!
      November 19 at 11:52am ·
    • Mike L. Cariño Thanks!
      November 19 at 12:07pm ·

Beyond Conservation, There is a Question of Structure ~

Will the proposed project cause the removal of the buttress supporting the right wall of the main altar if that wall will be torn down? And if it will, wouldn't doing so cause some serious structural concerns? An architectural and design expert has expressed his sentiments -- "a structural survey or investigation based on the architectural intent is necessary before a decision to alter the structural components is made". Has such a survey been made or at the very least, is such a survey part of the pre-design agenda? This expert resource continues, "...buttresses are structural elements that neutralize not only lateral forces caused by earthquakes but also vertical loadings." Our concern is made manifest -- removing a buttress, by and large, proportionately weakens the structural support of the main altar, if not of the Church itself.

Relevant to these concerns, we are moved to ask: Who are the structural consultants for this proposed project? Who are in the project design team and what are their credentials? And most importantly, has a Project Design Term of Reference been created as a necessary first step for this proposed expansion?

Ultimately, while in Faith we all aspire for our ultimate union with God our Creator, we sincerely pray that this will not occur as a consequence of the Church of San Policarpo's roof and ceiling crashing down on people's heads.
November 17 at 12:59pm ·

  • 9 people like this.

    • Lordan Alemania How can we stop them from doing the demolition of the right wall of the old church? Does anyone have an idea? You can count me in. Ako, i don't mind being the topic of every sermon. kung gusto nila kahit every sunday sermon pa e. As long as they don't implement their plan.
      November 17 at 2:14pm · · 3Loading...

    • Cabuyao - Stories, Anecdotes and Remniscences At this point, I believe that disseminating information on what is at issue here, what are the pros and cons, driving intelligent and courageous conversations among our townsfolk, and enabling them to decide wisely on whether to support this or not -- genuine people emporwerment -- this is what we can do, Lordan...thanks for stepping up to be counted.
      November 17 at 2:33pm ·

    • Lordan Alemania Siguro nga Sir, for the mean time. Pero baka dumating yung point that we need to do actual protest or maybe a letter to the Bishop with signature from Cabuyenos who are against their plan.
      November 17 at 2:53pm ·

    • Cabuyao - Stories, Anecdotes and Remniscences We will have to look at our options with prudence and care, but we will keep all our possibilities open. I just think that we should have a well informed community as a necessary first step to succeed in all other future actions that we may need to take in this matter. Let us keep our communication lines open through this page so we can coordinate our efforts. Thanks again, Lordan!
      November 17 at 4:04pm ·

    • Sid De Monteverde Acuna Being the chief structural engineer of the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan for several years I belive that the wall from the top should be removed stone by stone. The buttress walls takes care of the seismic(esrthquake and gravity loadings(roof structures). Remember that when constructed, there are no reinforcing steel bars and portland cement having been invented yet.The adobe stones are held together by limes.
      November 17 at 9:20pm · · 1Loading...

    • Guring Ramilo I guess we can approach and have a dialogue with the municipal cultural council (i heard there exists one in our municipality)regarding this matter and ask them to help us disseminate this information and solicit support from townsfolk who really care for the preservation of our old San Policarpo church. And if i may ask... are all church organizations supporting this renovation?
      November 17 at 10:54pm · · 1Loading...

    • Cabuyao - Stories, Anecdotes and Remniscences As to your first point, Guring, I am all for that if that will help disseminate correct information and drive intelligent discussions among our townsfolk regarding the issue. Can you help check this option and give me feedback on how to proceed if ever? As to your second point, I am not really sure. It would be interesting to find out if our lay organizations have given their full and wholehearted support to this proposed expansion. Can we get feedback?
      November 18 at 7:25am ·

    • Joseph Lauguico Nasubukan na po ba natin kausapin ang mahal na obispo? I'm sure mayroon pong mechanism within the Church on how to resolve controversies like this one. Kailangan din po natin ang massive information drive but it will take time, baka po late na kapag nagising na ang mga taga-cabuyao. May element of urgency po kasi ang situation. Baka din po ma-antagonize ang parish priest at pagmatigasan nya ang position nya at kumanlong siya dun sa Constitutional doctrine na separation of Church and State na sa tingin ko ay di naman po applicable dito....kaya lang mahabang usapin na namn at nire-resolve po yun sa civil courts. alternatively, though, pwede din po mag-file ng case sa court kung may proper representation ang injured party. hindi din po natin dapat tigilan ang effort na mai-declare ng National Historical Commision na historical nga po yung simbahan based initially dun sa document na nai-post dito ni Kevin. wag din po natin tigilan ang kakadasal at nang magbukas ang langit sa ating mga hinihiling...magkaroon nawa ng matinding Liwanag sa buong Cabuyao.
      November 18 at 6:26pm ·

    • Cabuyao - Stories, Anecdotes and Remniscences I believe that the local Ordinary (the Bishop of San Pablo) is properly the office for escalation in this case. I agree with you, Joseph. Let us look into this course of action as soon as we can.
      November 18 at 10:43pm ·

    • Elmer Antioquia
      The Most Reverend Leo Murphy Drona, D.D., S.D.B (born October 18, 1941) is the p...resent bishop of the Diocese of San Pablo, which belongs to the Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippines.See More

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beyond Mere Blocks of Stone

The question goes beyond old blocks of stone, laid one of top of another to form an old wall. To look at it this way is to be sadly shortsighted. Those stones are valuable precisely because together, they form part of a great wall, which in turn forms part of an ancient Church. It is this Church in its entirety, in its structural integrity and wholeness that we aspire to conserve and protect. Can we say that it remains whole if a part is removed or destroyed? If the part that is removed gives way to a new part, are we not creating a new wholeness, different from what it used to be?

If we dare remove and change significant names, dates, places and events from our history books, are we not in effect altering history? And if we do, will there not be consequences? Will we not defile our understanding of our collective journey of pain, pride and progress as a people? Will we not ultimately blur and distort our understanding of ourselves -- who we are and what we have become because we had the shameless boldness to change the stories about what and who we once were?

Is this the way we aspire to go with the Church of San Policarpo? This old temple is not only a mute witness to Cabuyao a larger and equally meaningful sense, it is history itself. We have dared change it in the past...and proceeded to change it yet again, and again. Today, efforts are underway to change it one more time. When will we ever stop? When this old Church is no more? When we have changed it beyond collective recognition? When we gaze at it and see nothing in it that reminds us of the sublime meanings that once illuminated our proud sense of history and identity as Cabuyeños?

When we do, and reach a point of no reversal in the changes we have made and persevere to make, then there will be no restoration possible. We can pull our hair, heave and sigh and cry till the heavens fall, but then there will be no point in our regret and sorrow...because I fear that by then, God forbid, what we have lost, what we have destroyed, will be gone forever!
November 16 at 11:23pm ·

  • Evie C. Locsin and 8 others like this.

    • Mike L. Cariño Sabi ko na nga ba 'wag kang pagiinitin eh!
      November 17 at 10:14am · · 1Loading...

    • Pilut Schuler Thanks for the info. Now I know how important it is to remove the shrubs and the trees growing between the adobe stones of the fascade, more than anything else.
      November 17 at 1:27pm ·

A Shared Prayer

Let this be our shared prayer...

Tell Me

As you have seen from all my posts, I have spoken publicly and openly. I have not conspired in secret, nor criticized in whispers. I am not moved by hopes of personal gain or vain glory. I have written from the heart and bared my true Cabuyeno's soul for everyone to see.

If I have spoken with disrespect or or written falsely, then bear witness to my rudeness or falsehoods that I may apologize promptly.

However, if I have spoken honestly to cultivate intelligent and polite albeit courageous conversations about your project -- with the aim of resolving serious questions and issues of common interest -- then why do you use your pulpit against me?

· November 15 at 11:04pm ·

Res Ipsa Loquitur

My spirit weeps for you, oh sacred temple of my ancestors!

They have ripped you apart, stolen your treasures, defaced your interiors, robbed you of that historical soul which has inflamed the hearts of so many across countless generations...and yet, they are not done with you! Not yet...not until they have destroyed every last valued bit of your artistic integrity and historical worth! The rape of the ancient Church of San Policarpo continues with reckless impunity as her children helplessly, and worse, oh so willingly, stand idly by to watch her unabated yes, I rip my garments in grief and lift my gaze to heaven as my spirit weeps for you, oh sacred temple of my ancestors!

O, mores! O, tempora!


I fear and tremble at the thought that there may come a day when we will wake up and find you gone...or see you standing but far beyond our collective recognition.


I have recently been home for the All Saints/Souls' Day memorials and part of my usual routine each time I am back in the old hometown is to take a stroll around the poblacion (yes, braving it-- at the risk of cardio-pulmonary complications from inhaling all the infernal gas fumes spewed by tricycles and jeepneys all over, *chuckles*). And the same bitter realities as I walked around haunted and bit my consciousness with a renewed nerve-wracking jolt...all the familiar scenes of childhood are now sadly gone forever! Not that this is a totally new discovery...I have known it, written about it, raved and ranted against it for so long people like you must have grown tired of hearing and reading about it from me. But it still bites every time it hits rubbing salt on old wounds each time it bites that the pain never really wears off with each homecoming.

The old Cabuyao bridge, gone. The ever familiar town market, gone. The grassy playgrounds of our town plaza with the old Rizal monument, gone. The oyster-shaped bandstand (reeking of the pungent smell of goat dung and the haunting echoes from childish laughter and applause), gone. The old houses that once lined Calle Real (and the familiar faces in their front porches and behind their window shutters), gone. The old Cabuyao Institute building, erstwhile ancestral home to the Batillers, gone. It was like being caught in the twilight zone...terra incognita, a different world, casting altogether unfamiliar scenes and shadows that distracted my native consciousness. At some point, it looked like I was in the inner ghettos of Manila...shades of Blumentritt, Singalong and San Andres even came to mind, alas! Not the cherished and caring town of my boyish memories, but a geography all at once known and yet totally unfamiliar.

It is only at the sight of the old Cabuyao Church of San Policarpo, as I stood on its hallowed grounds that I recovered my bearings...that I found refuge and delight in the epiphany that I am still on Cabuyao soil, the town of my childhood and growing up years. As I gazed upon the exterior of my old hometown church, the memories came rushing back...happy, bittersweet, and yes even sad and painful...but Cabuyao memories nonetheless, reminding me that I am home in my beloved town. If I rant and rave about preserving this old structure and conserving its heritage, when I rail to the dying of the light until the sun's rising against the loss of its countless historic treasures, valuable because they are priceless but also because they are FAMILIAR, trust me all of you -- it is born out of a nostalgic Cabuyeno's fight for his birthright, for his personal sense of meaning and unrelenting effort to hold on to this last historic symbol of an essential consciousness that he is Cabuyao's native son and seeing it from belfry to main altar, from inner nave to kubol grounds, filling him with the unquestionable certainty that he is indeed home at last.


I just got back from Cabuyao and I found out that the plan to open up the right wing of the church to build an extension (adjacent to the left extension area) is true. I have spoken to a few people about this plan and after hearing their stories and opinions, here is my PERSONAL take on the matter:

(1) There appears to be a need to provide more room/space for parishioners who attend Saturday and Sunday masses. I have nothing but the deepest respect for what church authorities perceive to be their legitimate pastoral needs and necessities. But space in the long term, I must insist, will always be limited. There is only so much space that the church can provide to accommodate a consistently growing population of Catholic faithful under its jurisdiction and care. Ergo, I do not believe that expansion is the answer in the long term.

(2) I will stay out of the controversies that have been raised (whether real or imagined) about and against the pastoral administration of the parish. There will always be those who will like the state of affairs on one hand, and those who will be against these on the other. What I have is a question: How extensively has the consultation been on this proposed project? Have there been discussions of the benefits and costs vs. other possible alternatives within the council and beyond it, to include the sentiments of members of the parish community?

(3) Beyond the conservation and pastoral care of built ecclesiastical heritage such as this old church (which I will take up separately in our other page), has there been serious consideration of the architectural integrity and the structural soundness of the proposed expansion by the proponents and their technical consultants?

(4) Lastly, I am concerned that this is beyond a mere numbers and space issue -- this strikes at the heart of a communal responsibility to agree that heritage conservation, including and perhaps especially in the "house of God", is everyone's concern. That it should not be the most expedient option. That a commitment to conservation is a measure of respect for history and the legacy of our forebears. That structures and objects of wood, stone and steel have stories to tell of our past and point us to a better understanding of ourselves and our community, today and in the future. In short, that cultural heritage is not dispensable at the slightest demands of "necessary works" attendant to the compliance with practical, and in this case, pastoral, needs and necessities.

We should be prepared to provide options or suggested alternatives to this personally undesirable option. Let me throw in my 10 centavos worth:

If the current space (without the expansion) provides a seating capacity, for example, of 1000 seats ( I am working with hypothetical figures here since I do not have the exact numbers) and the proposed expansion will provide an additional 150 seats, then we are proposing to provide 900 additional seats for 6 Masses on any given Sunday (150 x 6).

If that is the case, and if my mathematics is correct, wouldn't one additional Mass on a Sunday provide an equal number, if not more, seats to achieve the same end result?

If we agree that this is a better and less costly approach yet we are faced by the limiting factor of the the lack of priests to provide more masses on a given day, then shouldn't the focus of our problem solving efforts be geared towards requesting for additional curates to provide pastoral care to our parish rather than to the more costly, time consuming and conservation unfriendly approach of expansion?


Part of my pain is that these (mistakes) are in fact not the "unintended consequence of the natural order of things"... if it were that, it would perhaps be, at the very least, easier to accept. But this sad state of affairs is, I'm afraid, borne out of communal irresponsibility, leadership greed and neglect,  and to a considerable degree, a result of man's inhumanity...and sadder still, I look at my hands and they are not totally clean, they too are smudged with the grime of this collective culpability. But as the old line goes, "hope springs eternal"... my advocacy is to expose and discuss, to stir the collective thought and imagination, to excite and yes, even anger, the communal Cabuyao psyche to a realization that there is something sadly wrong in the status quo...hopefully help in working for a reversal and a turnaround, even with small steps...

Let's hope these events are not irreversible...for the sake of generations yet to come!


As you have seen from all these, I have spoken publicly and openly.  I have not conspired in secret, nor criticized in whispers.  I am not moved by hopes of personal gain or vain glory.  I have written from the heart and bared my true Cabuyeno's soul for everyone to see.  If I have spoken with disrespect or or written falsely, then bear witness to my rudeness or falsehoods so that I may promptly apologize.  

However,  if I have spoken honestly to cultivate intelligent and polite albeit courageous conversations among our people with the aim of resolving serious questions and issues of common interest, then why do you use your pulpit against me?