Historia Manila

Lady of Guidance!

March 24, 2019

I got a notification from a website called slife.org a few days ago. They added my blog (here) about Nuestra Señora de Guia as reference. Wikipedia’s entry on Ermita Church used that same blog. But all I did was type, the content came from a worn booklet, “Libreta y Novena”, handed to me when I visited the Church 10 years ago.

It was one of those unplanned stop over. I came off from a US visa appointment. When I left the embassy I thought of exploring Ermita. I’m familiar with its streets, I studied high school not far from it.

One of my stops was Ermita Church. It’s architecture is modern but more than 50 years old. It was designed by Architect Carlos Santos Viola, known for building Iglesia ni Cristo temples. The original was completely destroyed along with the suburbs antillean houses during WWII.

Credit to the owner: Ramon F Velasquez.

The Church was empty that day. So after crossing myself I went straight to the altar. I wanted to get a good look of the Nuestra Señora de Guia. Unlike the life size Nazareno of Quiapo, the Marian image is small, barely two feet, positioned high above the altar. It’s dark too, so it’s hard to see its features from a distance.

I was a few meters away when I saw a man cleaning the floor using a towel. He was as surprised as I was but I assured him I’m no trouble. I told him I should be on my way in a few minutes.

This same man approached me when I was about to leave the church. He handed me the booklet. “It’s for you,” he said.

Maybe our Lady of Guidance, wanted me to put its contents online?

Well, that’s what that blog is doing now—a guide for those who wants to read about Ermita shrine’s history.

¡Viva la Virgen de Guía!

On a different note but still about Ermita shrine.

My parents were married in Ermita church more than 40 years ago.

It was a “very simple wedding” according to my mother. I’m not surprised. They were a frugal, simple couple from Negros.

No picture of the wedding survived. It must have been lost in the floods we experienced over the years.  Fortunately, I still have the aras (Sp. las arras matrimoniales), token coins presented by the groom to his bride. The practice in most Hispanic nations was for the groom to gift 13 coins, the number of apostles plus Christ. Many doesn’t follow this in the Philippines because 13 is considered an unlucky number.

Our parents aras has no numismatic value (except for a few minted early 1900’s) but  they’re invaluable mementos for us, their children. This, along with their original marriage certificate, are the only surviving proof of their blessed union.


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