Pagsanjan Church

Pagsanjan Church copy

Declared as the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2012, the Church of Pagsanjan dates back in 1687. From wood and nipa, the church was reconstructed in 1690 and was improved in 1853 and its transept was added in 1872. The Church has three-level early renaissance façade with semi-circular arched main entrance and choir loft window. It’s bell tower is three storey high with a dome on top. The church was badly damaged during World War II.

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The Church is the home of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which dates back in 1688. The image was a gift from Mexico and was enshrined in the main altar. The image  was destroyed during the air raid of World War II. The Church’s marker states that “the Parish of Pagsanjan is the oldest Church in the entire Philippines under the patronship of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

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Upon learning that the original image of the Our Lady of Gudalupe was destroyed during the air raid of March 15, 1945, the Mexican Catholics gifted the church with a life-sized image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The said image was made by Mexican sculptor Ramon Barreto. Another image was also carved by Manila sculptor Maximo Vicente.

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On the side of the Church is the Capilla del Tilma de Guadalupe. The image of San Juan Diego and the stone relic from the Tepeyec Hill in Mexico was enthroned in the chapel. Please note that during my visit, visitors were not allowed to take pictures of the Chapel beyond the designated area, so please bear with the limit of my picture. I am also attaching some close up pictures of the Chapel from the Church’s Facebook page. Additionally, the Chapel retained its old façade and flooring. One can also see on the wall, the vestments of the priests who hail from Pagsanjan.

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May is Heritage Month

Heritage month 2014

The month of May has been declared the National Heritage month by virtue of Proclamation No. 439, which was signed on August 11, 2003. For this year, I was fortunate to be updated by their activities since I came across the activities while reading the local news paper and through social media. Click here for the press release of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ month long activity.

Since, I was not able to participate with the activities in Sorsogon, I will go to tonight’s concert with some of the Philippines’ talented artists  at the San Agustin Church ground.

heritage concert 2014

And here are some of my photo-collage of the churches which I visited in the last years and those which I have found easily in my files, in celebration of the Heritage month.







Churches10 Churches7 Churches8 Churches9Churches13 Churches11 Churches12


*Taoid celebration and the Heritage concert photos are from the NCCA’s Facebook page.

It’s the merry month of May

Hello there!

It’s been over a year since I last posted something in my little corner in the internet through this blog. Nothing much has happened, it has been a continuous stalemate (for lack of word to describe my current state of person), save for holiday preparations and some minor stress caused by both significant and insignificant people who comes and go in my life.

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Since February of this year, I have set up a private blog, for my own personal musings akin to an online diary and mainly for personal consumption only. It should not be confused with my blog posts on old churches, old houses and everything in between. I will really try harder to post the churches I have visited this year (some new and some revisited) and the long overdue temples of the Angkor complex in Siem Reap among many others.

You will notice that pictures which were taken by me and subsequently posted in this blog page will be water marked Project Purple. It is my so-called project for this year as I journey and hack my life and simply moving on forward. Additionally, save for quite a number of my old Siem Reap photos which will be posted here, most of them were water-marked “iamjoannroyal.wordpress” since I made it before my Project Purple, but was not able to post it on time.

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Hello May! Hello my old blog! Hello again.

By the way, that is the locally grown dama de noche flower from my neighbor’s garden.

Hello March!

hello march

It’s already the third month of 2013 and I go “Anyare” (Filipino slang for Anong nangyari? Or What happened?) Indeed, the days are long but the year is short. For this month, as I welcome the summer months here in the Philippines, I am hoping for the better days to finally come on my little corner.

For this month, as the fruit trees grow and as the flowers bloom, I hope to achieve these and will definitely aim higher (as suggested from the Project Happiness book I am reading)

Carbs1. Loose unnecessary weight and eat healthy.

2. Exercise, it indeed does wonder with the endorphin to make people (and me) happier.

3. Read at least three books for this month

silverlinings_fbGet a copy and read The Silver Linings Playbook

I got these two books from a thrift shop I know it is from 2005 (and upon checking the net, there are current revisions) but just the same, I bought it, simply because, I am fascinated with old houses and old churches and the guide books have drawings and explanation. For the updates, I can always check and supplement it from the net.

DK-PragueDK Eyewitness Travel Guides-Prague

DK-Florence& TuscanyDK Eyewitness Travel Guides-Florence and Tuscany

4 . Update the blog frequentlypencil shading copy5.  Practice pencil shading. Yes, I got these practice books from the nearby bookstore and it is a stress-free session even if it’s simply shading. And I now know the different uses of the labels in the pencils. 🙂 For someone with a relatively poor eyesight and did not excel in art classes in grade school, I am doing good right now. 🙂

6. Learn something new— Creative writing perhaps? *winks* A new recipe perhaps.

7. Do my Church project—write ups and pictures of  the nearby churches near my location.

8. Visit nearby towns

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Kawit, Cavite (Aguinaldo Shrine again, St. Mary Magdalene Church)

Imus, Cavite ( Imus Cathedral, City Hall, Town Plaza)

Bacoor, Cavite ( St. Michael Archangel Church, Town Hall, Digman Halo-Halo)

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Sta. Rosa, Laguna (Sta. Rosa de Lima Church, Ancestral Houses, Town Plaza, City Museum, City Arc and Cuartel de Santo Domingo)

garden9. Refurbish the garden.

10. Read, re-write, re-examine.


Here’s wishing you a happy and productive month ahead. See you around.

LTstars March2013

Photo Credit:

Hello March photo from

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs- credit to the owner (I saw it from my friend’s re-post in Facebook)

The Silver Lining Playbook from Fully Booked Facebook page

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides-Prague and Florence and Tuscany both from

Cavite map from

Sta. Rosa map from

Better Days © Noha

Little Twin Star-March 2013 calendar from

Our Little Angel Iah


+ Maria Victoria M. Quijano, January 10, 2013

Victoria is a girl’s name of Latin origin. It means victory and conqueror. Victoria is an ancient Roman goddess who smiled on the Romans for many centuries, and the early Christians adopted the name due to Saint Paul’s praise of “God which giveth us the victory.” God indeed gave our family the victory of having our sweet little angel. Our angel has conquered and triumphed over death, and has left us a memory which our family will always treasure. As the Bible has said: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to search and a time to give up…a time for war and a time for peace.” The family finds comfort in knowing that you are at peace and in good company in heaven our dear Iah. Iah, if you hear Tita Ninang and Ate Gila sing, do clap along with Lolo Pogi for us. And as what Tita Ninang Mai has said, “Spread your wings little one and whisper our prayers to Papa God.” We love you our little angel.

This is a late blog post for my still-born niece Victoria. Words cannot express how saddened all of us, most especially for her parents Yeng and Unard. And I, myself is completely at lost on how to comfort my cousin Yeng and her husband Unard, and all I can do is hug both of them and pray for them. Baby Iah, do pray with us, most especially for your Mom and Dad, and yes, I do find comfort that you are at peace and in good company in heaven. Thank you our little angel Iah.


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2AM Random Thoughts and Memories

For something to do and while waiting for sleep to come, here are my 2AM Random Thoughts and Memories on the 9th day of 2013—


Phantom of the Opera

Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the life you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be. Only then can you belong to me. ♥ (Phantom of the Opera, Manila-September 22, 2012)


“Atashin’chi” 🙂

 I can relate with their everyday conversation. It reminds me of my family in anime version. I highly enjoyed it since I chanced upon my brother watching the “tagalized” version. Photo from a Tumblr blog.


Corona Beer

I answered just for the heck of it the Facebook status question which goes: “What’s going on, Joann?” And I replied cheekily: “In times like this, I am thankful that I am not an only child. nyahaha! I have a built in beer buddy :p On other days, uhmmm, sige na nga payag na ako na may kapatid ako. bwahaha! (Translation: Ok, fine I agree to have a brother.) And I add, I also have a built in movie and TV buddy. I get to enjoy his Asian favorites from animes to Korean TV show to food. Yes, admittedly, I enjoyed western TV and movies having been a 90s kid and him, he’s an anime kid having grown up in the 2000s.


Gila’s Strawberry Salad

This is Gila’s strawberry salad. Mommy and Ninang finished this whole bowl in one sitting last New Year’s eve, then Gila was looking for it the following day. haha! Sorry, Gila, nasa mabuting tiyan na ang strawberries mo. (Translation: Sorry Gila, the strawberries are in Mommy and Ninang’s {Godmother} stomach.) We owe you one kilo indeed. haha! (Photo from Mommy Mai)

adamAdam Levine *swoon*

This photo was taken from a local clothing store. And for two weeks, it’s Maroon 5 in the earphone. Yes, I am crushing on Adam Levine. Haha! And I said in a previous post: “I can’t help it, surreptitiously took this picture and was going back and forth in this area even if I don’t have anything to do with it. haha! Yeah, make a joyful noise (and be swooned) xxx”

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I am still crushing on A and his abs. haha! The Blue-bubble picture is from Who’s A? I am not answering. Haha!

inoxcrom fountain pen

Inoxcrom Fountain Pen

I want a new fountain pen and a blue-black ink. I used to have four in the past, but for all the weird reason, I ended up throwing and breaking them. Picture from:


I think, I am ready to finally read Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, after crying a bucket for The Kite Runner years ago.

Will buy and read the following (as per my BBC Book list)

1) Atonement – Ian McEwan 2) The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger 3) The Color Purple – Alice Walker 4) Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 5) Brave New World – Aldous Huxley 6) His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman. I have to add (I already have a copy): 7) The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald  8) Life of Pi – Yann Martel (before watching the movie which will come out this week in Metro Manila theaters) 9) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl.

Will read John Green too 1) Looking for Alaska 2) An Abundance of Katherines 3) The Fault in Our Stars

I should have a reading plan— both for leisure reading and for my attempt to write a “training material”

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I wanted to visit Bacolod again. I don’t know, but for some reasons, I feel connected with this city. Actually, this house is the Balay Negrense in the nearby town of Silay. And the chocolate cake is from Bacolod’s famous Calea.

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Pearl Farm

I wanted to go to the beach, perhaps Pearl Farm again, or Panglao, Bohol.


Or maybe Boracay once more, this time to enjoy the night life. haha! Last time, I visited, I just want to enjoy the sun and the sand, and said to myself, it’s far off my mind to visit it again, till I was reminded by someone about it, perhaps the fruit shake convinced me.


January 9- Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo

January 9- The Feast of the Black Nazarene. It was dubbed as the “biggest Catholic feast in the country (perhaps in the world). An overnight vigil every January 8 is held annually in the Luneta Grandstand, and  grand procession will follow, which usually lasts ten to twelve hours. Masses are held in the church and a high mass at 6AM will be celebrated by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Quirino Grandstand. I was fortunate enough to take this picture amidst all the suspicious looking characters in the area during my Visita Iglesias in 2008.

And finally, a picture quote from All Famous Quote’s Facebook page.


Hello 2013!


I am still lost for words on what to write here is really an understatement. I’ve been attempting feebly to organize my thoughts in two notebooks— the pink and blue notebooks. The pink notebook is supposed to be for love stories I’ve been trying to make since 2008 and as of late last year, it had four character changes, and it still remain as an outline of the stories. Another flimsy reason why these stories are shelved out is maybe I am still having internal debate of whether or not ten out of the fifteen stories will have a happy ending. Meanwhile the blue notebook is more of the “editorial/opinion” type regarding the issues I’ve been meaning to give my thoughts since 2010. Assuming that I will be able to write something about it, there will be developments like that of the RH bill, now the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Act of 2012 (yes, I am pro-RH), the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona (oh my, it’s almost a year), and even the “ flash points” in the Middle East, among other things. I also remembered making notes in my mobile phone about my daily thoughts, of the places, food, movies and books, some outline about my 2012, my recent Indochina trip and the old churches. I think I should set-aside some days to re-organize all of these, pictures included.

The world did not end as what the Mayan’s predicted and was taken out of context by some, instead a new cycle begins. As it unfolds, I am setting my sights this year to be the year where dreams come true, braving new heights, dreaming some more, laugh and love some more, and definitely the phoenix will raise once more. And I just have to agree to what @rapplerdotcom tweeted last January 4 “#ThoughtLeaders Now is not the time to delay ambition, nor settle for the mediocre. Here’s to daring greatly in 2013!” As always, I will be taking it one day at a time. I have resolved that I will do more this year, and do things that will make me happy, after all making a conscious effort to be happy is really the way to be, because you and I deserve it, after all it’s still a happy place to be (despite of and in spite of). And yes, we should not forget to have a thankful heart.

I will definitely take what the Phantom said… “Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world…. Let your soul take you where you long to be.”

Here’s wishing you a happy and blessed 2013.