Category: Church Life

Christmas for our Lolo Pari

Our beloved priests. They can be happy, kind, calm, strict, or masungit, especially when it comes to decorum inside the church. But, as they say, it’s all in a day’s work.

But what if old age hits them?

For the past 13 years, Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas, Rector of the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, hosted an annual gathering for our dear Lolo Pari–the retired and elderly priests. One of his advocacies is supporting retired and elderly priests. Mons Bobby holds this the Monday before Simbang Gabi, just before the busyness of the celebrations kicks in.

I was once again invited by our Rector for this year’s event, and was asked to render a couple of songs for our dear Lolo Pari. I remember my husband and I have sung for a couple of events in the previous years as well. This year was special, and I will tell you why as we go along in this post.

The Christmas Party for the Lolo Pari starts with the Celebration of the Holy Mass, which they concelebrate with His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D.D., the Archbishop of Manila as the Main Celebrant.

I was seated in a table for FREPS, or Friends of the Retired and Elderly Priests, a group of individuals who support this annual project through their time, talent, and treasure.
I was seated in a table for FREPS, or Friends of the Retired and Elderly Priests, a group of individuals who support this annual project through their time, talent, and treasure.
And here are the priests after Mass, with the FREPS seated in front.
And here are the priests after Mass, with the FREPS seated in front.

Then, it’s time to partake of the feast. In between dinner, there were gifts and raffle prizes given to the priests (appliances, among others), which put smiles on the faces of our special guests and honorees.

At some point after one raffle draw, I was called to sing. Our kind Rector introduced me as a Shrine volunteer and an alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. I chose to sing Filipino classics–Gaano ko ikaw kamahal and Mutya ng Pasig, which definitely were appreciated by the priests. And how I was humbled by their response!

The good Archbishop-Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was asked by Mons Bobby to give a few words, after which, he led the honoring of the Blessed Mother, whose Immaculate Conception was celebrated last December 8, a day after this event. In his speech, he mentioned that he was talking to his seatmate, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, that it was fine if he didn’t win the raffle; hearing my singing makes him a winner already, and that hearing my voice is a miracle. Such nice words from the kind Cardinal. (He actually won a personal ref after saying that. God is great!) He said also in his speech that life is a miracle. Indeed, it is.

Former Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, Bishop Ted Bacani, invited me to reprise the two songs the following week, during the reception for his 50th Sacerdotal Anniversary as a priest. I reported this to our Rector after the party, and he said it was great to hear. He concelebrated Mass along with the Bishop’s priest-friends, which I was also able to attend. Our Rector supported me in that performance as well, in a gym filled with priests and guests. So much love for the ever jolly bishop.

As souvenir for his Golden Sacerdotal Anniversary, Bishop Bacani gave out these books as souvenir to his guests.
As souvenir for his Golden Sacerdotal Anniversary, Bishop Bacani gave out this book, Mercy Alone, which he authored, to his guests.

As we were handing out the gifts to our Lolo Pari, some priests would talk with me and thank me for my singing. Also, they were very appreciative of the gifts that they received and the gathering that was, saying that this doesn’t happen everyday, that’s why they treasure it so much.

It was humbling that our Rector sent me a text message the following day, thanking me and saying that I won the hearts of our Lolo Pari. I replied that I was blessed to be part of that celebration, and to share God’s gift to them.

Our Rector was right. It isn’t easy to be a priest. Aside from the commitment to God, he is also committed to God’s people–saying Mass everyday, hearing confession, performing other Holy Sacraments and church duties. It takes so much to be a priest and these few chosen ones heeded the call, and remained steadfast in their commitment, until they reach retirement, until the end of their days. Pari Magpakailanman! (Priest forever!)

And we're in the news! TV5's Pambansang Good Boy Mon Gualvez covers the said event.
And we’re in the news! TV5’s Pambansang Good Boy Mon Gualvez covered the said event. Here he is doing a short interview with our Shrine Rector.

And here’s a news clip of that event at the Shrine of Jesus, done by our co-Shrine volunteer and TV5 reporter, Mon Gualvez. (Click this link)

So, make sure you greet your priests every chance you bump into them. Thank them, especially this Christmas Season. Their lives are perfect examples of self-sacrifice and service. They are considered Alter Christus, or another Christ, as Mons Bobby mentioned. May we see Christ in their lives.


~ Touringkitty

Celebrate Advent and Christmas Seasons at the Shrine of Jesus

Last year's First Anticipated Simbang Gabi Mass, December 15, 2014.
Last year’s First Anticipated Simbang Gabi Mass, December 15, 2014. From my personal archives.

Christmas is just around the corner, and what better way to prepare for it is by active participation in the Holy Masses leading to this special day.

At the Shrine of Jesus, we make sure we prepare well for this special occasion. We began with the blessing and lighting of the Advent Wreath and the blessing of the church’s Christmas decors last November 28.

And as Shrine volunteers, we took part in an Advent Recollection, Mass, and Holy Hour last Saturday, December 12, at the Betania Retreat Center in cool Tagaytay City. Our Recollection Master was Fr. Herbert Camacho, the Parochial Vicar of the St. John the Baptist Parish in San Juan City.

The Shrine of Jesus works on a theme for its celebrations. In line with the Pope’s declaration of the Year of Mercy, this year’s Advent and Christmas activities are done under the theme: Awa at Pagpapatawad na Lubos, Handog ng Isinilang na Manunubos.

We also have an ongoing Christmas love offering project: Parol na Makinang, Tulong sa Simbahan. I would like to invite you to support this project for the maintenance and upkeep of our Shrine which has been standing for 16 years already. Through your love offering of P1,000 (you can do it individually or as a family or group), you will light up one Parol decoration inside the church, and proceeds will go for maintenance of the Shrine. Visit our Shrine Office for details. Let us also show mercy and compassion to God’s temple–the church–and contribute to its much needed repairs.

This year's Christmas Project of the Shrine of Jesus. Please do support and help us maintain our church.
This year’s Christmas Project of the Shrine of Jesus. Please do support and help us maintain our church.

And this week, in the great Filipino tradition, we count down nine days before Christmas through Simbang Gabi. Here are the Schedule and Mass Celebrants for the Novena Masses:


ANTICIPATED SIMBANG GABI, 8:00 PM (Monday to Saturday), 8:30 PM (Sunday)


December 15 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas (Shrine Rector, Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

December 16 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP (Saint Paul Novitiate, San Fernando, Pampanga)

December 17 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP (Provincial Councilor, Society of St. Paul, Our Lady of Sorrows, Pasay City)

December 18 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero (Bishop’s Residence, Diocese of Cubao)

December 19 – Rev. Fr. Cris Cellan, SSP (Provincial Councilor, Society of St. Paul, Makati City)

December 20 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP

December 21 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero

December 22 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas

December 23 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP



December 16 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas

December 17 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP

December 18 – Rev. Fr. Cris Cellan, SSP

December 19 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP

December 20 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero

December 21 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP

December 22 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP

December 23 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero

December 24 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas


Our Christmas Eve Concelebrated Mass happens on December 24, 7:30 PM. We usually hold this early so that people could still go home in time for Noche Buena. Do attend this Mass because we have a very special Panunuluyan presentation, and exchange gift among the churchgoers, just like we do every year. My family will be a part of the Panunuluyan (yup there’s a big hint already for you, so do not miss this Mass!).

On Christmas Day, two special Masses will be held in the morning–the 9:00 AM Children’s Mass, followed by picture taking with Santa Claus, and the 10:30 AM Concelebrated Mass, with no less than His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D.D., Archbishop of Manila, as the Main Celebrant and Homilist.

Christmas Season continues with the New Year’s Eve Mass on December 31, 7:30 PM and the New Year’s Day Concelebrated Mass, with His Eminence, Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, D.D. Archbishop-Emeritus of Archdiocese of Manila, as the Main Celebrant and Homilist.

You read it right! Two Cardinals celebrating two important Eucharistic Celebrations at the Shrine of Jesus, in just one week apart. Hope you could attend both to receive the blessings of two Cardinals.
See you at the Shrine of Jesus!



~ Touringkitty

A European Church Pilgrimage

Europe is known to have very beautiful churches. Those old (think Renaissance and Baroque), elaborately decorated, pipe-organ adorned, huge-domed churches. For the past Europe trip, one thing I made sure was to pray in a church in each city we’ll visit. I was happy to accomplish this, and more.

Here are the churches I visited:

1. Church of Our Lady Victorious/Infant Jesus of Prague (Karmelitská 9, 118 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic)

This was it, not an elaborately decorated facade in the middle of Karmelitska.
Hidden in tall greens, we found this n the middle of Karmelitska.

We got lost on our way, but was guided by some signages of shops bearing souvenirs of the Infant Jesus of Prague, and that Infant Jesus image on top. Sto. Nino, or the Infant Jesus, is very close to Filipinos. I can’t really remember if I was able to pass by this church the first time I was here in 2006, but I made sure to visit it this time.

Infant Jesus of Prague
Its name in Czech.

The Solemnity of the Sto. Nino is one of the most important feasts in our church community. Since it also coincides with the Children’s Mass, a special concelebrated Mass is always prepared, complete with drummers and dancers, reenactment of how the Sto. Nino came to our country, and some pakulo for the churchgoers after the Mass. And that our church is dedicated to the youth, I prayed even more for His blessing to our priests, volunteers, especially to our young volunteers (my own child included).


Prayed for all the children of the world to the Infant Jesus of Prague!
Lifted up all the children of the world to the Infant Jesus of Prague.


2. Katholische Kirche Salvator am Wienerfeld (Wienerfeldgasse 11, 1100 Wien, Austria)

Wasn't able to take photos, but this is where we performed.
Wasn’t able to take photos, but this is where we had our second performance for the trip.

It was a Sunday and our performance came after an English Mass for the Filipino community. The church was made of wood, you wouldn’t even notice it being a church at first.

As soon as I started my first note after we positioned, I knew it will be a great performance. Indeed, it was, that I immediately found a place to kneel and pray and thank the Lord for that wonderful performance of the Pasyon. The acoustics are so beautiful, it’s like the sound is instantly mixed.


3. Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria)

Touringkitty poses in front of the Stephansdom.
Touringkitty poses in front of the Stephansdom.

Vienna is definitely one of the cities I’d like to visit again and again. A trip to Vienna isn’t complete without visiting one of its busiest tourist centers, Stephansplatz, where St. Stephen’s Cathedral can be found. It has an active calendar of performances and concert masses, and my co-performers were able to catch one on the Sunday night we were there.

Here I am praying by the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Taken by my friend and co-performer, Ate Cherry.
Here I am praying by the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Taken by my friend and co-performer, Ate Cherry.


4. The Monastery of the Church of the Merciful Brothers (KOSTOL NAVŠTÍVENIA PANNY MÁRIE–Kostol MILOSTRDNÝCH BRATOV Nám. SNP 11 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia)

The instant day trip to Bratislava from Vienna (which was less than an hour away) took us to its tourist center. I saw this by the plaza, and found out it’s a Roman Catholic Church.


There was a Mass going on, and as I entered, it was the Consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ. Just stayed for a few moments, knelt where I was standing, and prayed.
Church of the Merciful Brothers.

There was a Mass going on, and as I entered, it was the Consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ. Just stayed for a few moments, knelt where I was standing, and prayed.

Kostol, Bratislava, Slovakia
After 30 minutes or so of searching the internet, I finally found what the name of the church was!


5. Basilica di San Marco (San Marco, 328, Venezia, Italy)

The Basilica at night. And those are 24K Gold, we found out.
The Basilica at night. Her gold shines bright. Chiesa d’Oro.

I was lucky enough to visit this church in both day and night times during this trip. During the daytime visit, we went inside the church, and there was a queue going in, which moved quickly. Made sure to offer prayers and candles, and buy some souvenirs for family and friends. No photos are allowed inside the church, so we took as much outside.

This was one! So happy to have made a jumpshot in Italy this time.
This was one! Jumpshot in Italy this time. With co-performers Leo and Jhom.


6. Santa Maria della Fava (Campo della Fava, Venezia, Italy)

I wasn't able to take a good photo of the church's facade, so here's the altar instead.
I wasn’t able to take a good photo of the church’s facade, so here’s the altar instead.

And yes, a Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help (on a Thursday night). Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Hour was also held, just before a (very short) Italian Mass and then our concert followed.

Since this was the last official tour stop, I offered again candles and lots of prayers.

Again, in an image of our Mother and Her Child.
Again, in an image of our Mother and Her Child.

Take note that candles would cost about at least 0.50 Euros, or about 25 Philippine Pesos.


7. Propsteikirche St. Johann (Hohe Str. 2, 28195 Bremen, Germany)

St. Johann. And we weren't able to chance upon a Mass because the English Mass happens only every two Sundays.
St. Johann’s facade.

We weren’t able to chance upon a Mass because the English Mass happens only every two Sundays. Took a quick visit inside and look what’s the last thing I’d see:

Either I missed my husband, or my husband just assures me they're doing great back home.
A Saint Anthony! And those two candles on the left top portion were offered for my family and friends and their intentions.

Either I missed my husband, or my husband just assures me they’re doing great back home.

Seven churches in five cities. Hooray for this #TKEurope2015 achievement!

It was a humbling experience to see all of these beautiful churches, one pilgrimage I will never forget. And to have shared the music of the Pasyon to our audience, fellow Filipinos especially, it was a blessing to bless them with our music.
~ Touringkitty

The SOJCC turns nine!

What better way to celebrate than with food! After a filling lunch and an obligatory photo with our ever supportive Rector, Mons Bobby Canlas, and Youth Ministry Coordinators Gela and Justin.
What better way to celebrate than with food! After a filling lunch and an obligatory photo with our ever supportive Rector, Mons Bobby Canlas, and Youth Ministry Coordinators Gela and Justin.

Nine years. Wow. I am super happy to have served at the Shrine of Jesus all these nine years, along with these super kids! We still have three pioneer members who started in 2006. Many have come and gone, but the group remained steadfast in our duty as church servants.

We thank everyone who have trusted us all these years: wedding clients, organisations, companies, institutions, and to the choral festivals we have participated in (Madz et al, San Sebastian Basilica Musica Sacra Festival)–to whom we have shared our music with. We look forward to working with more people in the future.

We thank our parents for being ever so generous of their time, support, love, and care. For bringing the kids to each and every rehearsal and performance. For selling tickets to our shows. For preparing our costumes.

We thank our Shrine Family–our beloved Rector, Rector’s Council, Organization Officers and Volunteers (especially of the Youth and Music Ministries), for assisting, supporting, and guiding us as we serve the Shrine community. To the pianists who have taken my place when I am absent for Masses, your assistance is much appreciated.

On a personal note, I would like to thank my own family–my mom and sister–for being present in almost all performances of these kids.

I would like to give special thanks to the co-founder of this group, my husband, for seeing this vision with me. We only wanted to continue our church service after years of hiatus, and having our own choir to nurture and teach and starting again with a new community is a good comeback for both of us.

Lastly, the singers, past and present. I know God had a purpose for bringing the group together. I had my own doubts because you come from different schools, communities, and cities. But you managed to be friends, be good to each other, and sing well together. I have been blessed!

The song in our AVP shown earlier was perfect fit for your friendship you’ve built:

You can count on me like 1, 2, 3
I’ll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like 4, 3, 2
And you’ll be there
‘Cause that’s what friends are supposed to do.

Here’s to nine years, and beyond! Looking forward to our tenth year next year, and the projects we are about to launch.

And while we’re at it, it is our pleasure to invite you to join us!


If you have kids 8-14 years old, we welcome them in our tribe. Message us on our Facebook Account and let’s schedule your audition. Please prepare two minutes worth of two songs sung a cappella–one must be a Mass song.

Let’s sing and serve for our Divine Master and His people!

~ Touringkitty

Holy Week 2015

 As I was tidying the house a few days ago:

“Mommy, April na!” (Mommy, it’s April already!)

“Yes, it’s April 1 today.”

“Change na natin calendar.” (Let’s change the calendar.)


So there goes my conversation with my little girl who turned four years and seven months on the last day of March. Oh, how excited was she to turn the page of the calendar to signal the start of another month. And another quarter of the new year. And that first week of the month is

How time flew. The past three months were a mixture of good and bad things. But as a dear friend told me, always let the positive things outshine the negative ones.

Holy Week always gives me a special blessing. This year, it’s the blessing of strengthening our role as church volunteers. This is made special because our little girl is already part of the church activities, and getting more active as days pass.

On Palm Sunday, she was the littlest angel among the youth volunteers, while I sang for the choir and my husband played guitar during the procession.

On Good Friday, we brought her with us to attend the Veneration of the Cross and the Way of the Cross outside the Shrine. It was a first for her, witnessing our Shrine priests and apostle actors carrying the cross like Jesus did. I was carrying our little girl using a ringsling, and she was singing along the choir then eventually took a nap even it was a little warm that day.

We culminated Holy Week with the Easter Sunday Mass at church. We served for two masses this morning. The kids had a simple Easter egg hunt after the children’s mass. Aria and the other volunteers were given a special role to give a gift to our Bishop-celebrant as the second Mass is about to end.

During the week, we interspersed reading and watching videos about the Passion of Christ and why we celebrate Holy Week. The prayer that she formulated out of all this: Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.

Every Holy Week is a blessing, renewal of faith, strengthening of the ministry of church service, and a much needed pause for reflection. Above it all, it is a great blessing for all of us who lived another year to commemorate Holy Week and be with Jesus as we trace His earthly journey to die for us. Even if it’s tiring, seemingly repetitive, and for some, boring perhaps. But we still move on and look forward to the next, every year that we are here on earth.

I wish your families the best this Eastertide.


~ Touringkitty

Touringkitty Sings: Pitong Huling Wika ni Hesus (Tinnah M. dela Rosa)

Because it’s the last day of Women’s Month, and while we’re in the midst of Holy Week, I’d like to share this music which is a collaboration among three women.

As you know, I have been a contributing writer for PraySing Ministry for more than a year already. The ministry has been blessed with great talents–musicians and writers alike, and have been blessing church ministers and lay people through its fresh psalms composed every Sunday, as well as written reflections twice a week.

This music is a setting of the Filipino translation of the Seven Last Words. The music is written by Tinnah M. dela Rosa (the founder of PraySing Ministry), while the accompaniment was done by Ledda Vinzons. Here’s a sampling of the music, which I sang. If you’re interested with the music sheet, you may download and use for your own churches and families for free in this link.

Be blessed! Happy Women’s Month!

~ Touringkitty

Papal Visit PH: All you need to know in one go

The Catholic Faithful are counting only a couple of days for Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines! And as of this writing, he had arrived in Sri Lanka where, among other things, His Holiness will canonize an Indian saint.

How do we prepare ourselves for his visit? Here’s all we need to know in one go:


Papal Itinerary as posted in social media sites.
Papal Itinerary as posted in social media sites.

Since the faithful are expected to welcome His Holiness, and given that this is an announced non-working holiday for Metro Manila, road closures will take effect starting Thursday, Wednesday for some. Details here. Likewise, as he visits Palo, Leyte, there will be road closures and rerouting. Details of Tacloban-Palo rerouting, which will take effect starting January 16 here.

THE LITURGY for the Mass at Quirino Grandstand: Download here. The copy of the liturgy was produced by Bayard Presse, an international publishing company sponsored by the Augustinians of the Assumption (Assumptionists). Since limited printed copies are made available, the faithful are encouraged to download or print this copy for their use during the January 18 Concluding Mass of the Pope.


THE LITURGICAL MUSIC: Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ was commissioned by Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President, Archbishop Soc Villegas, to compose what is now known as the Mass of Mercy and Compassion. The text is set to seven languages, and the scores are made available for download through this link, while study guides are available here, as recorded by the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

Is it coincidence that a Francisco composed this music for the good Pope Francis? Maybe it’s Divine Intervention, who knows!

REMINDERS, REMINDERS, REMINDERS! Someone said to me that the cure for forgetfulness is a gentle reminder. Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, gives out several reminders for those who will take part in welcoming the People’s Pope, whether as volunteer, part of the liturgy, greeter, expectator. Watch the reminders for the Papal Visit here.

THE VISIT’S THEME SONG. Filipinos are well known for creating theme songs for everything. Since Filipinos are a very musical culture, it is but fitting that a song would forever remind us of Pope Francis’ visit. We are all God’s Children was created with that in mind, in which lyrics remind us why the Pope so wanted to visit our country–to bring the message of mercy and compassion, especially the victims of the typhoon two years ago, one of the highlights of his visit. Learn the song and hand actions in the video.

If we can recall, 20 years ago already, Tell the World of His Love still rings a bell, or a tune in our heads, in memory of Saint John Paul II’s (then Pope John Paul II) visit to Manila for the World Youth Day celebration.

Now we’re ready, we’re set, then let’s go welcome the Pope on Thursday! Whether you’re setting foot to where he is or not, check out the tips here so you could better prepare yourselves physically and spiritually (and musically!) for this rare event. If anything, I am just touched that the popes remember to visit our country. That’s why I look forward to his visit, and hopefully, get a glimpse of him in person, far or near.


~ Touringkitty

Touringkittyps: Five ways for a meaningful #MerrySMChristmas

Christmas is just around the corner, literally. Eight more days and we once again feast, celebrate, gather family and friends, and feel God’s abundant blessings.

Are you fond of making Christmas lists? If you haven’t yet, maybe you could include these five things that I hope would make Christmas more meaningful to you.

A meaningful Christmas is:

1. Thanking God for His gift to mankind. Have a few minutes of reflection at the start or end of the day, and recall how God’s love is manifested through the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Giving back. As you complete your Christmas list, don’t forget to set aside for your favourite charity.

Our church, the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life near SM Mall of Asia, has an annual Christmas fundraising project for the Shrine’s maintenance and repairs. Last year, my children’s choir donated and we’re planning to do the same this year, hopefully with a higher amount. Your P1,000 donation will go a long way. Contact our Shrine Office from Tuesday to Sunday for details.

3. Serving others with gladness. Be it volunteering for an institution, visiting the poor and sick, or sharing your talents and skills for the church. Sharing is serving.

4. Doing good. In the simplest forms, like not littering, recycling, supporting local products, showing courtesy, following traffic rules. There are a thousand and one ways to do good anytime, anywhere.

And teach others to do good. MY daughter did her own share of doing good by donating to the SM Cares’ Bears of Joy. P200 for two bears, in which one is given to charity. She chose to give both.

Do good and teach others to do good.
Do good and teach others to do good.

5. Connecting with family and friends. Especially those whom you have not connected with for a long time, even enemies! Give love on Christmas Day may just be a song, but it holds the real essence of Christmas, which is God’s love for us.

And from the mall chain that has got it all for us, here’s how they make a very #MerrySMChristmas! Visit for more details, and watch “How #MerrySMChristmas Begins.”

Have a good one!

~ Touringkitty

Caritas et amor in the noblest way

I have been wanting to write about this for weeks now, but I was not able to create the best title for this, until I found this:

Caritas et amor (Gregorian chorale) by Z. Randall Stroope (*1955)
Sung by the Philippine Madrigal Singers
Church of St. Matthias, Munich-Fürstenried, Germany, 2010.
Video credits: isispartners

And that’s what I experienced during my visit to two institutions last month: Elsie Gaches Village and Kinder Zoo (now known as Adventure Jungle).


Christian love of humankind. Charity.

The Shrine of Jesus volunteers visited Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa as our outreach activity. As we arrived, we were briefed by one of the social workers there, as to what to expect. They only have a few social workers taking care of some 500 people, young and old, with physical disabilities and special conditions, specifically the mentally challenged. If I recall it right, the proportion is two social workers to one cottage with about 50 persons. That’s too much! A salute is not enough for their noble work.

We were ready. The patients trickled in, and so did the rain. We would have wanted to take a peek of the 16-hectare area donated to the government that used to be a summer villa of philanthropists Samuel Gaches and Elsie McCloskey. One of the volunteers cracked the ice by teaching the patients an action song, which I accompanied with the guitar my husband brought. We were asked to render some songs for them later in the morning.

Randomly, some volunteers would pull me out of a group to play guitar for the others. And they were all delighted to listen to the guitar! Some patients have amazing voices, like the girl who sang Journey popularized by Lea Salonga. Some requested songs and I tried my best to play them well. Mind you, I had to play everything without sheet music, and I did it! What power and love music can give.

One specific reminder that was mentioned to us is that these people appreciate being touched as a sign of love, because of the lack of it. High fives, handshakes, and hugs filled that rainy morning, and were generously given by the Shrine volunteers, and reciprocated by the patients.

We capped the visit with snacks and a simple gift-giving. Theirs are such appreciative and kind souls. We, for sure, are the strangers in their special and blessed world. And as we part, we can’t just help but wonder when they will feel that love again, and from whom. The social worker told us that since the holidays are coming in, a number of organizations wanted to pay the village a visit to do an outreach as well.

I can’t explain how I felt but I was just grateful to the Divine Master for this opportunity not only to do our apostolate to those in need, but also for the chance to do this with some of the nicest people I know — the Shrine volunteers and our Rector, Mons Bobby. They are all inspirations to us as we continue to do our ministry in the Shrine. Challenging days in the Shrine are always outshined by days like this.

It was also a great opportunity to meet the social workers and listen to their stories. They are the patients’ heroes. They are our heroes! No one can match the caritas they selflessly give.


Love. The greatest gift.

Love for animals. They say that animals are a man’s best friend. For zookeepers, this love is so pure.

I took my daughter to Adventure Jungle, found in nearby Manila Zoo, through the invitation of their PR officer, Grace Nicolas, a fellow mom blogger. We’ve been to Manila Zoo before, but this is another facility inside the zoo. And we saw new animals and Aria even got to ride the horse! Truly a highlight for my little champ.

There also, we met and talked with two people, Neng, who has been a zookeeper for more than a decade already. She explained to us that a zookeeper should be mindful of the animal’s feeding schedule, diet, and the like. She had studied these animals on her own, and she’s not even a veterinarian! It was just pure love dedicated to these animal friends.

We also met Mr. John Chua, brand ambassador for Canon Philippines, and a volunteer elephant keeper at the Manila Zoo. He frequents Manila Zoo and he loves Mali the elephant so much, that Mali follows his commands! The kids during the tour were able to feed Mali with some bananas, and Mr. Chua asked Mali to hug one of the media people who covered the event. And he is not paid for this.

If these animals could only talk, I am sure that they will profusely thank Ms. Neng and Mr. John, and their loving zookeepers.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. God is defintely there, in these two places.

~ Touringkitty

Mother of Milk celebrates Feast Day on October 11

Nuestra Señora de La Leche Y Buen Parto, or more popularly known as Our Lady of La Leche, is the patroness of mothers and mothers-to-be. Her image is that of the Blessed Mother breastfeeding her Baby Jesus. All mothers, particularly pregnant, nursing and trying to conceive, come to Our Lady of La Leche with their petitions.

La leche at hp
Image enshrined at Harrison Plaza Chapel.

The Our Lady of La Leche Movement aims to make the devotion to Our Lady known throughout the Philippines, giving spiritual nourishment to the Filipino family.

Devotion to Our Lady of La Leche steadily grows in the country through the movement that started in 2000. The following churches are fortunate to have an image of Our Lady enshrined in them:

1. Basilica of the Immaculate Conception -Intramuros, Manila
2. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Mariveles St., Mandaluyong City
3. Espiritu Santo church – Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila
4. St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral – Camp Crame, Quezon City
5. Sanctuario de San Jose – Greenhills East Subd., San Juan City
6. Church of Sta. Clara – P. Burgos St., Pasay City
7. Our Lady of Loreto Parish – Bustillos, Sampaloc, Manila
8. San Roque Parish – San Roque St., Mandaluyong City
9. Holy Family Parish –Faraday, Makati City
10. Shrine of Jesus, Truth, Way & Life – Reclamation Area, Pasay City
11. St. John Mary Vianney Parish – Barangay Cembo, Makati City
12. St.John the Baptist – Pinaglabanan, San Juan City
13. San Carlos Seminary chapel – Edsa, Guadalupe, Makati City
14. San Roque Cathedral – A. Mabini, Caloocan City
15. St. Francis of Assisi church – Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong city
16. Sto. Nino de Violago chapel – E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City
17. Parish of the Risen Christ – Bulihan, Silang, Cavite
18. Holy Trinity Parish – Calabash Rd., Sampaloc, Manila
19. Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Maricaban, Pasay City
20. Capuchin Retreat Center – Lipa, Batangas
21. San Rafael Arcangel Parish – Calaca, Batangas
22. Harrison Plaza chapel – M. Adriatico, Malate, Manila
23. San Agustin Parish – Palatiw, Pasig City
24. Medical City Hospital Chapel – Ortega, Pasig

OLLL in Mandaluyong
Special Mass hosted by the OLLL Movement last August 30 in Mandaluyong.

Her Feast Day is celebrated on October 11, and in line with this, the OLLL Movement will celebrate the Feast Day with a special Mass at the Harrison Plaza Chapel on October 11 at 5:00 PM. Pregnant and nursing mothers with their babies and devotees are invited to join this special Mass. Those who would like to have a special part during the Mass, preferably pregnant and nursing mothers, may get in touch with the OLLL Movement by sending a Facebook Message at

The Our Lady of La Leche Movement prays for all pregnant and nursing moms for a safe delivery and plentiful milk that will nourish our children–our country’s future.

Image enshrined at Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Image enshrined at Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. With my four year old nursling.