Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PHILIPPINE HERITAGE MONTH 2010 part 3 " Saludo de la Virgen de los Desamparados "

Philippine Heritage Month 2010 brings us to one of the most important landmark in the district of Santa Ana, Manila,  Nuestra Senora de los  Desamparados or Our Lady of the Abandoned. Better known today as the Santa Ana Church. The church is a living testament to the rich history of the Philippines.

It is one of the oldest church outside the walled city of Intramuros. This church was built in 1720 by Fr. Vicente Ingles who was a parish priest there at that time. It was also Fr. Ingles who brought the image to the church of Our Lady of the Abandoned.

The statue of Our Lady of the Abandoned was carved in 1713 and it was said that through the grace of Our Lady of the Abandoned Santa Ana was saved from destruction from World War II. The feast of Our Lady of the Abandoned is on May 12. The parishioners usually have a 9-day novena before the big day. Today was one of those days... we were there to cover the Misa Cantada for the Virgin.

and the opening of a photo exhibit in honor of Our Lady of the Abandoned.

As you enter the main entrance of the church your eyes are immediately caught by the retablo. It is an 18th century gilded screen behind the altar. It is the only one of its kind still in place in a Manila church. It has 13 niches which contains The Blessed Sacrament and saint's statues mainly Franciscan saints. In the center niche is the venerated image of Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados, our Lady of the Abandoned. Once a year this statue is taken out and dressed differently and shown to the worshipers in a procession.

Other things to see inside the Santa Ana church:

the hall of saints..

old paintings on the ground floor and corridors of the church,

I was able to enter the " Camarin de la Virgen " or " Dressing Room of the Virgin ". The Camarin was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum. As you enter the door you will find yourself in a large room facing the back of the Virgin, her long hair cascading down a cape of heavily embroidered satin. Here devotees may touch the Virgin's long cape. To kiss the image is not allowed anymore.

 The room is large, the ceiling is covered with paintings as old as the church making them the oldest datable paintings in the Philippines. They show scenes of the life of The Holy Family.

The silver statue of Our Lady of the Abandoned located behind the altar in the camarin. It is a replica that was bought in Spain. The original version is found in Valencia, Spain. 


It is not easy to find the church of Santa Ana. It is found in the Santa Ana district of Manila. Surrounded by the Pasig River, Paco and Padacan ( districts of Manila ), and Makati. I only know one way to get there, through Makati and I would probably get lost if I take some other road. In fact-- Iggy and I nearly got lost on our way to the church.  The best route to take is Pasong Tamo and just after the Philippine Daily Inquirer office and J.P. Rizal Avenue is already Santa Ana.  The roads leading to the church are narrow and there are many one-way streets in the area. I was just thankful that the people around the place were very helpful when asked for directions. 

We made it a point to come earlier than the scheduled time of the mass because we were not sure of the place, which was a good thing because the small parking area inside the church still had some vacant spaces. Perhaps what was more important was the fact that it gave me some time to go around the place, marvel at its beauty and take pictures. 


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