Way too many Filipinos are looking for culprits; grief is personal

This is THE context. Those who are agitating for war ought to have their heads examined.

The Society of Honor: the Philippines

the fallenI got into a twitter argument with popular columnist Boo Chanco over President Aquino’s decision to welcome Japanese investors to the Philippines rather than welcome war casualties for burial. Boo was livid about it.

I like Boo. He did a story about one of my blogs long ago. He thinks earnestly.

Blogger Cocoy Dayao explained that this is a cultural thing, the expectation of hand-holding over grief such as loss of a loved one (“malasakit” he called it). Well, I accept that. My cultural founding is very different, having been shaped by a warmongering nation that often brought bodies back in bags, and the President rarely went to say “sorry about that” (Have U.S. Presidents in the Past Attended the Funerals of Dead Soldiers?).

My war experience was Viet Nam. There were 50,008 killed and the Presidents couldn’t greet very many of them. A lot of those…

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A Consolidated Fiesta Album


Guinarona fiesta, May 17, 2012, Photo credit: Romel Maray


As deeply ingrained in their culture and ethos, Filipinos live and breathe fiestas.

Here is a consolidated album of past fiestas in Guinarona, the small parish in Leyte, Philippines, where San Pascual Baylon lords it over.

We would like to suggest that livelihood be incorporated into the fiesta by way of product promos and trade fairs.

Bidding Farewell. . .


President Noynoy Aquino waves goodbye to the Pope. January 19, 2015


And so it’s over. The most successful Papal Visit ever for the Philippines, January 15-19, 2015.

Yes, Virginia, a picture do speak a thousand words. The picture above evokes both triumph and poignancy. It also speaks volumes about the character of President Noynoy Aquino.

A person full of sincerity and truth. And the Filipino people are a lot better for it now than yesterday.

Again, congrats Mr. President. Congrats to the Filipino people.


And so he comes, like the rain that slakes the thirst for humaneness, rectitude and salvation.

Welcome to the Philippines, Pope Francis.

And please help us find our missing San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona.




Much kudos and congratulations to President Noynoy Aquino and the organizers for the smooth, well-run and very successful hosting of the Papal Visit PH 2015.

Mabuhay and adieu to Pope Francis.

The History of San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona


The Missing San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona



NOTE: We are appealing to Pope Francis to look into the disappearance of the miraculous 111-year old San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona image. The circumstances behind the precious icon’s disappearance point to an inside job.

In 1903, in the midst of a cholera epidemic, THE FOUNDERS OF GUINARONA sent Timoteo Daclizon to Manila to procure the image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON, known far and wide to possess miraculous powers. Residents of Guinarona offered contributions in the form of cash, abaca, palay and coconut for the purchase. Contributions totaled two pesetas, a substantial amount during that time.

Dagami’s Parish Priest, then was Fr. Manuel Pascasio.

After a month-long voyage by sea, the image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON arrived in Tacloban City. The barrio founders met the image at Dagami after which a procession followed, bringing it to Guinarona.

As oral history would have it, SAN PASCUAL BAYLON’s first miracle was when the cancerous lesions on Pedro Tibe’s foot healed after a handkerchief patted on the image was placed on it. News about the miracle spread like wild fire and pilgrims flocked to Guinarona by the hundreds. Because of their sheer numbers, some pilgrims had to stay overnight in Guinarona. San Pascual’s image was then in the care of Raymundo Casarilla.

Guinarona’s reputation as a pilgrim’s mecca gradually spread in Leyte and Samar, and this contributed in no small measure to the prosperity of the place. Guinarona then had all sorts of businesses mostly owned by Chinese traders.

The image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON’s accumulated much cash from its devotees such that in no time a church was built, initiated by barrio illustrados such as Francisco Benitez, Alfonso Maray, Fernando Sudario, Esperedion Raquel, Raymundo Casarilla and Basilio Raquel.

The church and convent were completed in time for the second fiesta celebration, Don Alfonso Maray having been voted as the first Hermano Mayor.

On April 30, 1930, a big typhoon hit Leyte, totally destroying the church and the convent. It was so strong that the entire church was blown to a distance of about six meters from the original site. The altar was also destroyed, but the image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON was well intact as though nailed to the floor. After the disaster, the Parish Priest of Dagami, Fr. Pedro Aruta, enjoined the people of Guinarona to build a temporary chapel for SAN PASCUAL BAYLON’s image.

Upon the initiative of Jose Raquel and Teniente del Barrio Apolonio Bacal, son-in-law of Antonio Justimbaste, the church was built as pilgrims doubled in number.

On November 5, 1971 at 7:00 AM, Guinarona was inaugurated as the Parish of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON during the visit of Msgr. Manuel S. Salvador, Bishop of Palo. The creation of Guinarona as a separate parish came about through the noble efforts of illustrious Guinaronanhon, the late Msgr. Esteban Justimbaste, the Vicar of Carigara Parish. Guinarona’s first parish priest was the ebbulient Fr. Romeo Mazo.

The Old San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona


We cannot overemphasize the importance of recovering the old San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona. Our ancestors are calling for it.

It has been missing since June 2010. The circumstances of the icon’s disappearance point to an inside job, what with the Guinarona Parish Church being gated and locked.

We appeal to Pope Francis to help us with the image’s recovery, inasmuch as the Church hierarchy in Leyte has been oblivious to it,

I am not saying that there is a correlation, but Leyte has been battered with so many calamities since San Pascual’s disappearance.

The 111-year old San Pascual image is a memento from Guinarona’s founders and a distillate of their blood, sweat and tears. Photo credit: Salvacion Navora.