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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Visita Igelsia: Diocese of Daet

Last April 4, 2014 I was privileged to go on a Pilgrimage to the Diocese of Daet with my fellow professors. Every person's first job will always be memorable right? Fresh from college, Daet was my first work place. Daet is a town and was quite left behind when the Quirino Highway (now Maharlika Highway) by-passed them. But today, there are recent developments in terms of investments and infrastructures. Apart from these developments, Camarines Norte is home to 400 year old churches which makes it perfect to go on a pilgrimage.

Click on the image to enlarge

An overview of the trip using Google Map

A. Naga City (Starting Point)
B. Saint John the Baptist Parish, Daet
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Daet
C. Saint John the Apostle, Vinzons
D. St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, Capalonga
* E. Our Lady of Candelaria, Paracale

* Supposedly in our itinerary, but the bus that we rented unfortunately had clutch problems.

Now what exactly is a pilgrimage? Here's a few reminder for those who will go on a Pilgrimage this Lenten Season. We were given a material from the Reverend who toured us around the Diocese. 

What is a Pilgrimage? It is a religious journey: a journey to a holy place, undertaken for religious reasons.
What is it not? It is not an educational tour, it is not a party and it is not a picnic.

Objectives of the Lenten Pilgrimage: To have prayerful journey in unity of the sufferings of Christ and to reflect on the sufferings of Christ. 

Here's a prayer guide that you can use in your visit iglesia. Please do take note that it's not limited to these prayers. If you will visit 14 churches, you can also make use of the Stations of the Cross
Click on the photo and download the image

Click on the photo and download the image

Click on the photo and download the image

It is advisable to leave Naga City as early as possible if you want to visit at least 4 significant parishes / churches in Camarines Norte. Travel time from Naga to Daet is maximum of 2 hours. There are five big parishes in the Diocese of Daet and the first one that we visited is the St. John Baptist Parish just right in front of Cam Norte's capitol.

Old folks say that if it's your first time to visit a church, you can make a wish.
St. John the Baptist Parish

 We also visited Bagasbas. But then we just had to look at the beach because surfing was not the reason why we came here.

Off we went to Vinzons Camarines Norte to see the debris of the 400 year old church that was destroyed by a four-hour razing fire after Christmas Day last 2012. Click Here to see a related news.

Travel time from Daet to Vinzons is around 30 to 40 minutes. 

The bell fry and the walls are the ones left standing. As you can see, construction is underway. Notice the front facade of the church? It was beautifully restored. This is probably the most "successful" restoration of an old church (400-year-old) that I've ever seen. I have seen many others that were repainted that eventually destroyed the original look. I might be wrong to say that, but looking at what they did to the Saint Peter the Apostle Church, why can't they do it the same way to the others? Perhaps it's a case to case basis? Now I rest my case, and leave that to the experts.
St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Vinzons, Camarines Norte

This was how it looked liked before the fire incident.

See the marvelous and intricate details?

Only the walls of the church remained. 
According to the parish priest, the strength of the wall was only decreased by 10%.  Now these walls are really strong to survive a massive fire. Experts assessed the remaining structure and planned carefully how to restore and rebuild the church. So it took more than a year to start the reconstruction. Donations to the parish are welcome.

Privileged to have this. Not an ordinary crucifix.
The wood used to make the crucifix is a remnant of the 400-year-old church. The parish priest decided to put a good use on the lumber that were damaged by the 4-hour fire last December 2012. Isn't it amazing? There's still something good after life has given the parish an equally sad and unfortunate event. What's even more amazing is that the parish priest also gives the same crucifix to the families of Vinzons during home visitation. I'm privileged to have a part of the 400-year-old church.

We went back to Daet to take our lunch and at the same time visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Holy Trinity Cathedral's altar.

Below this crown is actually an air-conditioned chapel and has a pretty modern design compared to the other churches.
The chapel is circular in shape, thus the crown on top.
The onyx is the only stone where light can pass through it and according to Bishop Garcera this is rare in the Ph.
The most beautiful sacristy I've ever seen. According to Bishop Garcera, the sacristy if not just for the priests and the lay people, but for everyone. Thus we were able to take a good luck around.
a different angle of the sacristy

Inside the chapel and on the walls are infos about 7 saints with a prayer and a relic? above on each.

Next destination is Capalonga. Daet to Capalonga is again 2 hours to travel.

The road is 90% concrete. Enjoy the view!
Once you see the water, then you are near.

The Diocesan Shrine of Jesus the Black Nazarene of Capalonga is also famous next to the one in Quiapo.
St. Lucy Virgin and Martyr and the Diocesan Shrine of Jesus of Black Nazarene of Capalonga
The patron saint of the parish is actually St. Lucy but the Black Nazarene is more famous. Because of that, the Diocese of Daet wanted that the people should also not forget who the patron saint is and so they decided to have the image of the Black Nazarene be transferred to a new place. Where? Seaside, somewhere near this area (photo on the left). The shrine will have a "Kamay ni Hesus" sort of look and construction is on going. 
Inside the church

Once you go out of the church, it's actually the main street of the town already.

After visiting the image of the Black Nazarene, there is a Chinese Temple at the back next to the church.  

Tip: Below is an oil being sold  as one of the souvenirs available at the parish office. During our visit, the prepared bottles were easily sold out. So we had to wait for the staff to refill the small bottles. The waiting time will consume a lot of your time. So if you are interested, better buy first or have them reserved especially if stocks are all sold out. What's the oil for? Others use it for massage especially if a person is sick, every Catholic would know why. You can also use the same oil for your blessed images. The smell is actually the same with that of Ina's manto or any other saint. 
P5.00 per bottle with pieces of cloth same as that of the Black Nazarene's. Now you know why it's easily sold out.
The Chinese Catholic Temple is a very interesting place to visit.
The people in maroon polo shirt will guide you do a Chinese ritual. Now don't worry, they will guide you all the way. 

PRAY. Start by getting three incense and light all of them. Make sure you light all of them. Once your incense is safely burning, hold the sticks between your palms and against your forehead, face the altar and start praying. Chinese folks would say that it is important that you hold the incense high up against your head, and not at the chest height or lower. After praying, bow three times and then put it in the big jar full of ashes of the incense. 

WISH. The next ritual is common in the world of Chinese fortune telling. Get the "kidney-stones-like"(in red) from the plate, make sure that you get the right pair. Shake them in your palms and make a wish, then toss it on the floor. If you get a one side flat and the other piece curved, you get a YES for your wish. If it's both flat or both curved it's a NO for your wish. You have an option to make another wish, but personally I would only ask for one wish which will make it more meaningful. Which I did and yes I got a YES. Wait, it's not over yet! 

Shake the cylinder containing fortune sticks until one falls out. The fortune bamboo sticks has a number written on it. Remember the number of the first stick that has fallen out of the cylinder. The stick is exchanged for a piece of paper bearing the same number. It would be nice if you know someone who can translate or read the paper because it's written in Chinese. 

Safety First. If not because of the clutch problem, we could have still visited the 400-year-old image of Our Lady of Candelaria in Paracale. From Capalonga to Paracale it would be at least another 1 hour travel time. 

To complete the main churches in Camarines Norte, here's a photo of Parroquia Nuestra SeƱora de Candelaria by blogger Lakwatserong Tsinelas. Established in the year 1611, it is the oldest and first church in the Province of Camarines Norte.  The church was built by Franciscan friars and features the miraculous image of Our Lady of Candelaria.
Photo by Lakwatserong Tsinelas
 I simply love the feeling of being in a place that you have first step on to for the first time, I mean, who does not? Since we missed one town, it means I still have a reason to go back to Cam Norte particularly Paracale, the land of the gold. To make things a little interesting, IF my wish comes true, I will really go back to Capalonga. But then, that wish isn't really the main reason why I will go back. I will go back if I will have a chance  and not because of the wish of course. I am asking for something why would I ask Him to give it to me first before I show reverence to Him right? It's a matter of faith. 

We arrived Naga by 10 o'clock in the evening, I did not complain, because it was a very meaningful journey. From first time to visit churches, a 400 year old piece of wood in my hands, a little treat from the very kind Bishop (thank you so much for that personalized welcome gift) scenic seaside view, mountain ranges, and Chinese fortune telling, who could ask for more? Thank you Diocese of Daet, for giving me a chance again to appreciate more what I already have and what I do not. 'Till we meet again.


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