Paete Holy Week Procession

FOLKSY PROCESSIONS. A massive crowd waving Palaspas before an image of Jesus on a donkey called the Humenta is the first procession of the Holy Week. This Palm Sunday Procession recalls Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  Important Holy Week processions follows on Holy Wednesday for the Via Crucis, on Maundy Thursday for the procession of the Eucharist to the Altar of the Repose, on Good Friday for the funeral procession with the Santo Entierro and on Easter Sunday for the Salubong with the image of the Risen Christ.

In the woodcarving town of Paete, Laguna, a folksy procession is held on Holy Wednesday that brings us back to our ancestral world.

A FESTIVAL OF CARROZAS. Arriving late in the afternoon, local spectators and some eager tourists have already gathered in front of the Paete Church. A fellow blogger, Sidney Snoek has already found a good spot to take his photos.

Inside the centuries-old church of Paete is a festival of carrozas. The pews were purposely removed to give way to the massive carriages bearing the images of saints, via crucis celebrities and tableau based from Biblical scenes. It is amazing to see how the carrozas were lined up inside the church.

THE ROLE OF THE RECAMADERA. Completely decorated with flowers and fully illuminated, standing out from the carrozas are the statues carved by the town’s artisans. Some images date back to the 1700s. Old or newly carved, the statues were exquisite.

Images are entrusted to the recamadera who is in-charge of the cleaning and the dressing of the statue and its carroza for the procession.  Traditionally, the recamadera was a matriarch who spends for decorations and the feeding and temporary lodging of those who will join the procession.

HEIRLOOMS AND TRADITIONS. All the statues are family heirloom and are safeguarded at all costs. I have learned from locals that to loose one is considered a grievous offense not only to the family’s reputation but to the entire town as well. During World War II, the heads and hands of the statues were taken to the hills to hide them while the enemy torched the entire town to the ground.

According to local tradition, whoever inherits the statue also inherits a rice field, at a very least a hectare in size. A large portion of the income from the field is allocated for the statues maintenance, its dress, accessories, carroza, lights and flowers when it is taken out on the processions. The rest of the money is spent when the owner of the santo must open their house to all devotees of the statue for a whole day of feasting.

PRUSISYON. I was talking to Sidney, when the ancient tower bells began to toll. I went to my position near the church’s entrance while leaving Sidney somewhere in the courtyard. From the church’s double door the first carroza rolled out followed by the next one. Each float bearing saint or scene is introduced by a voice over.

The Holy Wednesday procession presents scenes and characters from the Stations of the Cross. Traditionally, each carroza is accompanied by guilds based on the image’s attribution. For example, the carroza of the Oracion en el Huerto, a scene in Gethsemene is followed by landlords and orchard owners. Accompanying the Nazareno are jeepney drivers and mechanics much like the scene in Quiapo. The Pieta is followed by workers and owners of funeral parlors. While image of San Pedro is followed by sabungeros, the image of Sta. Veronica with the face of Jesus on a piece of cloth is followed by painters and artists.

EPILOGUE. The procession went through its way across the courtyard and then through the narrow streets of the Paete.

In this day and age when commercialism dominates our traditions and fiestas, an event like the Holy Wednesday Procession in Paete brings us back to our ancestral world.

-Holy Monday 2016


The Journey that Made Me A Travel Blogger

Let me start this article with the following disclaimers: Firstly, I am not a writer. I like reading, doing research, and listening to people but composing an article to make sense of things based from my experiences is most difficult for me. Secondly, I am not techy. I easily get intimidated by high technology and I am slow in understanding things that has to do with sophisticated gadgets. I own the simplest gadgets with the most basic features. So really I don’t have the characteristics of a blogger to begin with.

So, how am I able to keep Traveler on Foot over the years?  Where do I get the motivation to keep this travel blog running? What is that journey that made me a travel blogger?  These are questions I’ll attempt to answer in this article.

January 14, 2008 –I was sharing with Riza Faigao who owns the site Princesa Lakwatsera, pictures of my two-year son, Joaquin in his first walking tour at the San Miguel District with Ivan Dy. Old-fashioned me that at the age of digital cameras and memory cards I still preferred to have our pictures printed on photo paper.  Riza suggested that I a blog about our trip. I was very doubtful if I can keep a blog. But on that same day, Riza set me up for WordPress. She asked me for a title and the first thing that came to mind was the fun experience we had traveling by foot with Ivan. The Afternoon Stroll at the San Miguel District has become the first post in Traveler on Foot and as they say it, the rest is history. Traveling has become a lifestyle.

Traveler on Foot allowed us to share pictures of our amazing and memorable journeys and together with supporting articles, the pictures have become storied. I was strongly influenced in presenting this travel journal in the same style (or at least made attempts to follow their styles) of veteran bloggers and photojournalists who authored visually appealing sites and have written thought-provoking yet candid articles like Señor Enrique, Tito Basa, Sidney Snoeck, Ferdz Dacena, Oggie Ramos, Connie Veneracion, and Estan Cabigas.

Our travels led from one interest to another. Eventually my interest about our country became more defined. I have become interested in Philippine history, Filipino contemporary art, folk art, architecture, food, 19th and 20th century furniture and objects.

Comments began to pour in. It feels good to read kind and encouraging words from regular followers and accidental viewers about how they got reconnected with their heritage after reading a particular post or how a certain post made them a proud Filipino. But really, the most fulfilling comment is when I learn that I get to influence parents to expose their children to our heritage and share the same hope that their children will fall in love with our heritage the same way we do.

It is always a privilege to listen and learn from people we meet in our travels. We are thankful to the people who became part in building this travel blog. This group consists of artists, historians, heritage advocates, journalists, and fellow bloggers whose works I have always admired and feedback I have always sought. Over the years, they have generously shared their time, knowledge, and resources that inspired and made it possible for me to post articles for Traveler on Foot.

So where do I get the motivation to keep this travel blog running? It stems from a belief that God has given us a beautiful country and I believe He wants every Filipino to experience it. He allowed our nation to have a colorful history so that we get to enjoy today a rich heritage and share our amazing culture to the world!

This article is starting to sound like a declamation piece. So, to describe the journey that made me a travel blogger tells of stories about my journey as a father to Joaquin, as a proud Filipino, and as a son who is forever thankful to God the Father for allowing me to experience this beautiful world He has created for us all.

-Glenn Martinez | Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia 2012
That in all things, God may be glorified.

This is myofficial entry to the  July 2012 Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival,  The Journey that Made Us a Travel Blogger, compiled by Edmar Gu-Quibb author of Edmaration Etc.

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm  Comments (5)  
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Tina Decal

It is not surprising when asking people what they know about Quezon Province and they answer just Pahiyas. But what’s amazing is that those who took the road with Kulinarya Tagala would tell stories they learned from Tina Decal about the legend of Sampaloc lake, Miracles of the Sto. Cristo de Burgos, timeless love stories from Sariaya’s grand old houses, the ritual of the Lambanog, and many more.

Thanks to Tina’s Kulinarya Tagala, the road going to her home province is more than just espasol and buko pie.

Traveler on Foot: Kulinarya Tagala is a success story. What inspired you come up with this culinary tour project?

Tina Decal:  My children!  I quit my job as a resort manager in Quezon Province late 1999.  I need to be home in their growing years but needs to earn to help my husband bring my children to a good school, so I have to make a way to earn while being at home most of the time.  It was also after my stint with the resort that I realized local and foreign tourist love my province of Quezon only summertime because of our beaches and the famous Pahiyas Festival.  The entrepreneur in me came out and was inspired to design a food trip that will bring visitors to Quezon.  Who can resist a food trip?  Everybody loves and enjoy food. 

Quezon is left behind in the tourism industry because of the stigma of a leftist group.  However, I took it as a challenge and battled the “negative image” with a platable bait, FOOD!  But through food,  it is a showcase of  the unique culture, tradition and history of province.  It’s like putting Quezon “in a pot”.

Traveler on Foot: What problems did you encounter when you start doing the tour? What challenges do you encounter now?

Tina Decal: A lot!  Even my kababayans were not too receptive of my idea. And the culinary tour needs local counterparts, especially dining areas like restaurants and even homes which will authentically show our dining culture. Some won’t even like to demonstrate because they feel guests might “only steal their recipes and secrets”.  Plus, the attitude of most Filipinos that if it is your idea, then do it!  When you get successful, then that’s the time we join you!

Remember, it takes time to snowball.  I started doing my researches and working with prospective suppliers early 2000.  This means from that time till late 2004, there was no run yet, no takers, no income for me!

You and I believe KULINARYA TAGALA is already a success story, the challenge is how to keep it going, add more excitement by researching for more good food and dining places that will give my guests the enthusiasm to always join me in my tours and recommend it to more people.

Traveler on Foot:  You’ve led different kinds of people from student groups to corporate executives to appreciate the food and cultural heritage of Quezon and Laguna. Can you describe what is giving a tour like? Do you still get the jitters each time you face a new set of audience in your tours?

Tina Decal: Giving a tour for me means that I am SERVING MY COUNTRY IN MY OWN LITTLE WAY and GIVING BACK TO A PROVINCE where I came from!

I still do, of course because I only meet them on the tour day, but I help myself lessen the jitters by checking a little on my guests’ background.  That means, are they Filipinos based in the Philippines, are they Balikbayans or are they foreigners and if so, from what country?

Traveler on Foot:  What do you enjoy most about leading tours?

Tina Decal: I meet people from all walks of life and have helped me develop the kind of person I am now.  Confident, sensitive and caring for others, PROUD OF MY COUNTRY and MY BEING FILIPINO!

Traveler on Foot:  What is the most memorable feedback did you get from your audience?

Tina Decal: After running my very first San Isidro Festival Tour (Pahiyas-Mayohan-Agawan) in 2006 which took me working for almost 24 hours with 2 Tour Bus load and a Coaster,  I woke up  the following morning with a text message that goes,” MS. DECAL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR MAKING  PROUD AS FILIPINOS”!  This message came from a School director who took the tour with two of his American guests.

Traveler on Foot:  What is most annoying for your while doing tours?

Tina Decal: My most annoying experience!!!!! AN EXPAT-PROFESSOR from a prestigious culinary school who lambasted our Filipino culture while I was so proud talking about it!  Calling a gallery of Filipino antiques “just garbage and a warehouse”!  It was a collection of 30 years, the gallery owners almost filed a case to declare her a “persona non-grata in their area”.  But cool heads prevailed, she’s still lucky.  But nevertheless, I sent the school a letter about my sentiments, I didn’t take it sitting down.

Traveler on Foot:  A contributor to the success of Kulinarya Talaga is that is remained focus on rebranding and promoting the heritage of Quezon and Laguna. Aside from the places featured in the Kulinarya Tagala, name three of your favorite destinations in the country and why would you recommend them?

Tina Decal: BANAWE because it shows the ingenuity of the ethnic Filipino in building the huge terraces. Fantastic engineering ingenuity which I hope we can sustain for more generations to see. PALAWAN because its nature at its best! MANILA, of course despite of everything negative about it, it’s vibrant and full of life!

Traveler on Foot:  If you’re not Tina Decal the tour facilitator for Kulinarya Tagala, you are Tina Decal the…

Tina Decal: Nothing more but, A WIFE AND A MOTHER, I love my family.  They are my inspiration!

Traveler on Foot:  The prestige brought by Kulinarya Tagala to your province, the positive reviews, TV appearances, and the on-going demands for your tour services, can you now say that this is what you want? What else do you want to achieve in life?

Tina Decal: I am happy where I am and what I am today.  My only wish is that when I get too old for this I have passed the torch to someone deserving and who will nurture what I started.  But while waiting for that “old age”, I will continue and try reaching out to other parts of Quezon province.

Traveler on Foot:  Not too many regions in country have culinary and heritage tours. What is your message to those individuals who want to start something similar to Kulinarya Tagala in their own town or city?

Tina Decal: First, KNOW YOUR CITY OR PROVINCE AND LOVE IT FOR WHAT IT IS! It is hard to sell something you do not know and you do not love!

I want to inspire them to go ahead, you will never go wrong in a food trip!  Everybody loves to eat, but most of all spice your food with culture, tradition and history!  It adds more flavor to the trip, the rediscovery of culture is what makes it really worth taking.  PATIENCE, DEDICATION and PASSION is what you need.  If you have these, no obstacle will be hard to overcome.

Traveler on Foot: What message do you have to those who have joined your tours?

Tina Decal: Thanks for food tripping with me!  All of them had contributed to the success of Kulinarya Tagala.  KEEP RECOMMENDING so that many will enjoy the same experience they had with KULINARYA TAGALA! 

Thanks a lot Glen!  I enjoyed answering your questions!  I do appreciate the gesture.  I failed to mention that along the way I met people who are blessings in my life and you are one of those. KULINARYA TAGALA is here because GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD!


To learn more about Kulinarya Tagala, you can reach Tina Decal at 0927.563.09.89 or send her an email:

Jose Bautista House of Malolos

CARYATID HOUSE. A quick glance at the 1877 Don Jose Bautista House gives the first impression that it is not the usual bahay-na-bato. While the ground floor with its arched double door is typical of houses built during the colonial period, the second floor decoration isn’t. The main feature there is the famed female caryatids on the house’s street façade which was a rare feature found in colonial houses.

This ancestral house-turned museum is located in the Kamistisuhan District of Malolos, where a number of ancestral houses serve as reminders not just of the affluent lifestyle of the landed Filipino-Chinese families but also the struggles of Filipino patriots in achieving independence from foreign rule during the colonial period.

JOSE RIZAL WAS HERE. Built in 1855, the Jose Bautista House was reconstructed in the Neoclassical style in 1877. It played host to important Manila-based visitors including Dr. Jose Rizal.

A painting in the caida just above the grand staircase depicts the historical meeting in June of 1892 when Jose Rizal visited Malolos to present to Don Jose and two prominent Bulakenyos about his plan of organizing the La Liga Filipina. Rizal was arrested and was banished to Dapitan days after the meeting took place.

SECRETARIA DE FOMENTO. During the Malolos Republic, the house served as the office of the Secretaria de Fomento or Ministry of Interior Affairs. After Don Jose’s passing, the house has been used in different occasions as municipal hall, primary school, and Japanese barracks.

In the 1970s, well-known set designer, writer/historian, antique collector, and descendant of the Don Jose, Basilidez “Dez” Bautista restored his ancestor’s grand mansion.

HERITAGE FURNITURE. The area that used to contain two bedrooms has been transformed into a lavishly decorated sala major where Dez fittingly displayed his collection of antiques and ornate furniture.

The locally sourced period furniture like the Carlos Trese set, mariposa sofa and matching butacas were not part of the original house but the formal arrangement of these colonial furnishings in main living room evoke the era when the dons ruled the town with aristocratic fervor.

GODDES OF HARVEST. Red walls and floral patterns highlight the elaborately-framed paintings on the walls and ceiling. One painting on the ceiling shows the goddess of harvest.

HIDALGO’S LA BANCA. Artworks on the walls include works on paper and canvas by Fernando Amorsolo, Lorenzo Guerrero, and Felix Ressureccion-Hidalgo.

A replica of Hidalgo’s La Banca presides in the main living room. This controversial Hidalgo painting, possibly depicting a creek in Makati near the artist’s vacation house is now owned by antique collector Teyet Pascual.

ANTIQUES AND HEIRLOOMS. To the left of the caida is the formal comedor with its long hardwood table and a pair of plateras. A wide walled-in verandah on one side of the comedor provides cross-ventilation.

Beyond the formal dining area is the informal comedor used for daily meals and beyond that is the cocina then the azotea.



 ORATORIO. At one side of the caida, to the back of the staircase is a small but opulently-decorated oratorio filled with century old santos that are placed on carrozas during religious procession.

This large collection of different religious statues is something expected from someone like Dez who has shared his knowledge and expertise in coffee table books he has co-authored like Cuaresma and Filipino Style.

DEZ BAUTISTA. Filled with great stories of the past and beautifully preserved, the Don Jose Bautista House of Malolos continues to link generations of Filipinos to their historical and cultural legacies. Future plans for the ancestral house include a revamped garden for wedding receptions and other social events.

For now, Dez continues to share his passion for culture and history through his Bulacan Heritage Tours. Aside from touring ancestral houses in Malolos and selected Bulacan towns, participants are treated to heirloom Bulacan recipes and period meals. For more information call Dez Bautista at 0915.989.73.33.

La Naval de Manila Procession


PROCESION DE LAS PROCESIONES. I like reading essays about Intramuros that refer to this now popular tourist destination in the past tense usually with reference to prewar Old Manila or even older like Ciudad Murada. Writers like Nick Joaquin and Alejandro Roces immortalize Intramuros, its cobbled streets, its seven glorious churches, its traditions and processions.

October in the old walled city was so famously nostalgic because this was the month of grandest procession called La Naval de Manila. Touted during the prewar years as the procesion de los procesiones, the event pays tribute to the Blessed Virgin as Nuestra Señora de Santissimo Rosario for Her miraculous intervention during a series of naval battles in 1646. The battle concluded in favor of the Spaniards over the Dutch pirates.

LA NAVAL DE QUEZON CITY. Nick Joaquin left us with a description of Old Manila’s procesion de los procesiones. He said that in an October evening while watching this procession of La Naval, and having divined, by a general excitement, the approach of the image, he has heard the cries of trumpets of the passing concourse. He has seen her blazed into vision against the skies of his city, born upon cloud of incense and music, her face on fire with jewels and mysterious with the veneration of centuries, with gleaming rainbows forming and falling all about her and silken doves bobbing whitely among her flowers of gold and silver –Oh, beautiful and radiant as an apparition! –the Presence at Lepanto, Lady and Queen and Mother of Manila and Virgin of the Fifteen Mysteries.

Centuries passed, La Naval remains one of the most venerated images of the Blessed Virgin in the country. While the procession is no longer held in Intramuros since the Gothic Dominican church where the image of the La Naval was originally enshrined was destroyed during World War II. Today, the grand procession is held at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City.

TREASURES OF LA NAVAL. The image of the La Naval was a legacy of Governor General Luis Perez Dasmariñas. He wanted a statue to memorialized both his deceased father who was murdered by the Chinese and the his own regime. The beautiful image was carved from ivory by a non-Catholic Chinese who was later converted. Governor Dasmariñas entrusted the image to the Dominicans. During World War II, La Naval together with Her vestments, jewels and crowns miraculously survived the inferno that reduced the old Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros to rubble and ashes.

The image we see today follows the Old Manila tradition of dressing the La Naval in yards of precious tisu de oro embroidered with silver gilt thread. The high-karat golden crowns of the Virgin and the Infant Jesus are studded with various precious jewels mostly gifts from generations of devotees who considered the Virgin as another heiress of the family jewels. True story or myth, the treasures of the La Naval range from a red gem on the image’s head said to have come from the mouth of a giant serpent in the Pasig and the jewels given by Prince Norodom I of Cambodia to two maidens in Bulacan, Josefa and Ana Roxas during his 1872 visit to Manila. These jewels were donated to the La Naval but was never seen. Also, we have yet to see the National Artist medallion offered by Nick Joaquin to the Virgin.

TIME-HONORED TRADITION. The La Naval procession in Old Manila only featured ten statues of Dominican saints namely San Pedro Verona usually depicted with an axe on his head, San Vicente Ferrer with angel wings, Santo Tomas de Aquino with book, Santo Domingo de Guzman with his dog, Santa Rosa de Lima with infant Jesus, San Jose with child Jesus, etc. They are interspersed with estandares of the Fifteen Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

It was a time-honored tradition in Old Manila for the faithful to kneel reverently even on the Intramuros cobbled streets as the image of the Nuestra Señora de Santissimo Rosario passed by during the La Naval de Manila Procession.

WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN. The line-up of Dominican saints in the La Naval de Quezon City procession includes Filipino saints San Lorenzo Ruiz and other Asian saints like Sto. Tomas Khuong, Sta. Maria Magdalena de Nagazaki and San Vicente Liem de la Paz. 

Interesting are the saints with their symbols and their stories like the crowns held by a cherub on the feet of Sta. Margarita de Ungria because she was of royal descent who refused marriage to a king. The monstrance and image of Mama Mary held by San Jacinto de Odrowatz, who is also venerated by the Aglipay Church. The philosopher San Alberto Magno is depicted tilting to his right was inspiration to the tilting typeface called Albertus.

EPILOGUE. Some years ago, we took part with the thousands of devotees who thronged Sto. Domingo Church for the centenary of the canonical coronation of the first Marian image in the Philippines and in Asia.

We witnessed how a crowd went on a state of energetic calm while waving their white handkerchiefs in the air as the boat-shaped carroza bearing the La Naval exited the main door of Santo Domingo Church to the streets.

-Feast of Nuestra Señora de Santissimo Rosario La Naval 2011
Patroness of Quezon City