• The Pasig Review

The Mothering of a Pasigueña

From the Desk

The Philippines is known for its distinct reverence to the family. A Filipino value that knows no bounds. It is the country's answer to the Asian culture of ancestral worship. We regard the family as our "home" a place where you can never be deserted. It is a sanctum of bliss and a place of unconditional love. This may also be the reason why most families are stuck together in one roof and unlike our western brothers, we don't send our old folks to the homes. We are somehow governed by an unwritten law of caring for our parents in their old age. However, this is not a commandment but a devotion and a lifelong affair. Do we do this for their blessing? their respect? their admiration?

Our old parents are already preparing for their eternal homes but we still care for them because we honor them. To seek something in return is taboo but a life of blessings await the caring children. Just like the Trojan Aeneas carrying his father Anchises away from the destruction of Troy in the Homeric poems of the old. The young man was indeed blessed as according to tradition, Aeneas founded the city of Rome that eventually subdued the Greeks! For all its worth, the Philippine may never be an empire, but the country is certainly a stronghold of the family.

Pasig shares this unique Filipino value. We have this deep and intuitive connection to the person that reared and prepared us for the world, our mothers. Their opinions matter and their decisions are all final and executory. Pasig is a matriarchal society. We honor our mothers as the queen of our homes and in the absence of our working fathers, our first friends and teachers. A mother assert her authority in the most subtle of ways, but in all of that is her gentleness her vibrancy and despite her old age she remains in control and eternally new. As a Pasigueña mother who is their model? Is it natural? Instinctive? Our motherly devotion is historically weaved with our culture and mythologies.

The Church, OUR Mother

The belfry of the Mother Church

As a people, we answer to the bells of the Pasig, the mighty stronghold of faith - the church of the people. In the olden days, these bells call us to worship and can be heard across the Laguna de Bae. The Church is a place where people gather and partake the good news of Christian Salvation. Madre Iglesia as we all call it for we regard this church as our mother. For centuries it stood firm on its ground as a witness to the people's happiest and fondest memories. The Church is caring for it is loving. It serenely guards us as it guides us to the Father. The bells of the Pasig rings for us to remind us of our faith. For 2 years from 1762-1764 our mother was silenced as the British infidels ransacked the church's ancient bells and claimed them as their spoils. The mother silently wept, while she watched her children being raped by another invader. The desecration of the British lasted for five days despite the orders of General William Draper to stop spoiling the cities. The 20-month occupation of the Union Jack ended in the signing of the treaty of Paris in 1763 but only reached Manila the year after because of the remoteness of our Islands.

The church was revitalized as Don Balthazar Villela donated two capellanias in 1764 (church grants) as seed money for the reconstruction. The Madre Iglesia tolled once more in all her glories as it produced its first son that entered priesthood in 1768. Don Jacinto Gutierrez Bautista of Bambang was ordained by Archbishop Basilio Sancho de Santas Justa y Rufina. Padre Bautista sang his first mass in the Visita of Bambang and was assigned to the nearby town of Cainta. Despite the damage the British caused it gave a realization to the Filipinos that Madre Filipina - the Inang Bayan has the capacity to be free for the Spaniards are not eternally strong and bows to other colonizers. Spain therefore, can also loose. The islands shakened by this revelation, a handful of revolutions erupted almost everywhere culminating in the martyrdom of the three secular priests in 1872.

Pasig is indeed an El Pueblo Amante de Maria

Mama Mary, the Pasigueña Mother

As we regard the Church as a mother, we also address the patroness as Inang. The Church of Pasig has the distinction of being Asia's first church dedicated to the Virgin Mother. On July 2, 1573, under the Zeal of the Augustinians, the mission Parish of Pasig was inaugurated placing the Our Lady of the Visitation as its first patroness. It was only in April 25, 1587 that it was replaced by the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception - the present patroness of Pasig. Mother Mary is special to everyone in Pasig. Devotions for Christ's Mother blossomed in the communities which also explains why most of the barangays in Pasig have a special Image of the Virgin Mother apart from their patron saints.

Pasig is also frequented by another celebrated Mother by the name of Nanay Paz, the Lady of Antipolo. For many years, the Virgin of Antipolo visits the Pasig on her way to the galleons and when she was crowned in Luneta in 1926, the Church of Pasig was honored for she stayed there for the night. When Mayor Cipriano Raymundo announced the bombing of the Pearl Harbor in the Town's feast in Dec.8, 1941, the people was at the middle of a procession but because of shock that the war is about to begin, people started to run in all directions. However, the men carrying the divine Image of the Mother safely returned her to the Church and protected her in whatever they can. On December 7, 2008 the Immaculate Conception of Pasig was canonically crowned in an auspicious ceremony attended by the people. As they say, Mary's crown is not the crown that she wears, her real crown is the devotion and prayers of our her children - these are her gems, the people that prays the rosary.

The Legendary Mother

Dayang Kalangitan presides over her court

If Pangsinan has the legendary Princess Urduja, Pasig has the Dayang, Dayang Kalangitan. Her name is revered far and wide. She is the last of her kind and the only known woman to lead as a Queen Regnant (ruling like a king). Dayang is known for her wisdom and her bravery. She ruled Pasig centuries before the Spaniards and is regarded as the last Buddhist leader before the arrival of the Islamic Faith. Kalangitan married Gat Lontok of Tondo and because of her strong capabilities, she became the sole ruler of both kingdoms in 1450. Due to the marriage of her child Princess Panginoan to Prince Balagtas of the Namayan Kingdom, Tondo enjoyed its golden age for the kingdom grew as far as the Cordilleras down to Bicolandia. Upon the ascent of the Sultanate of Brunei in 1500, one of Kalangitan's son, Salalila was appointed king of Tondo, Maynila and the whole of Namayan. On the death of the Pasigueña queen, Salalila converted to the Islamic faith and changed his name to the famous Sulaiman. Realizing the extent of his kingdom, Sulaiman decided to divide it for his sons; Lakandula to lead Tondo and Rajah Matanda and Sulayman III for Maynila.

Dayang Kalangitan represents how a mother nurtured and transcended when needed. It still happens today as mothers are known as the peacekeepers of the home. We should be proud because the birth of history was snatched and reared by a Pasigueña mother, the Mother of Manila!

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