Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nuestra Señora dela Soledad (Soledad Series - Part 1)

September 2008

Photo Shot at 10:59

The Marian Exhibit of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in General Trias, Cavite is annualy held during the last quarter of the year. This year, the main subject of the Exhibit is the Nuestra Señora dela Soledad de Porta Vaga. Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga, also called "Reina de Cavite" and "La Virgen de la Soledad", is the patroness of Cavite City. The Blessed Virgin Mary is depicted as Our Lady of Sorrows. Mary, garbed in black and white attire, seems to be on her knees as she contemplates the Passion of Her Son, Jesus. Before her are the crown of thorns and the nails, the instrument of Christ's Crucifixion.

Main Altar2

A legend narrates that many years ago, a small detachment of Spanish carabiniero was stationed at a sentry post called garita located at the end of the Isthmus of Rosario. One stormy night, while a Spanish sentinel was at his post, he perceived a halo of a bright shifting light. A dazzling apparition rose form the currents of Cañacao Bay startling the sentry with suspicion that it could be Muslim pirates who were out to ransack the puerto because that time, Cavite was at the peak of economic prosperity because of the galleon trade. Frightened, he shouted "¡Alto! ¡Alto!" ("Halt! Halt!"). However, instead of stopping, the light proceeded toward him. Hence, in a loud voice he asked, "¿Quién vive?" ("Who is there?"). He then heard a sweet and melodious voice saying; "Soldadito, ¿por qué el alto me das en noche tan fría? Dame paso. ¿No conoces a Maria?" The sentinel, struck in awe and confusion, humbly and repentantly replied, "Perdóname, Virgen Maria, Reina de mi devoción; pues solo soy un soldado que cumplo mi obligación!"

The morning after the stormy night was serene and sunny. The early risers, mostly fisherman and workers at the Cavite Royal Arsenal, usually passed through the Porta Vaga gate in entering the puerto, and to their surprise, along the beach of Cañacáo Bay, they found a framed image of the Virgen de la Soledad. It was close to the spot where the Virgin appeared the previous night. They brought the image to the parish priest who temporarily installed it in the parish church. Later a small chapel was built near the Porta Vaga walls, and for three centuries it was the shrine of the Virgen de la Soledad.

Another story tells that the image was found by a fisherman on their way back home from work in an unoccupied banca (fishing boat) near the Garita, a tiny school house in the isthmus.

The image of Our Lady is painted on a canvas. An inscription was found at the back of the painting. A doze de Abril 1692 años Juan Oliba puso esta Stma. Ymagen Haqui, which means, "The sacred image was placed here by Juan Oliba on April 12,1692. This particular icon was used to bless the galleon plying between Cavite and Acapulco (Mexico) during formal sending off ceremonies. Thus, she was called the Patroness of the Galleon. The most venerated image of La Virgen de la Soledad de Porta Vaga is an invaluable treasure inherited by the Caviteños from their antepasado (ancestors). This is the oldest existing dated Marian painting in the Philippines. The Virgen de la Soledad was acknowledged as the Celestial Guardian and Protectress of the entire province of Cavite and the port since her arrival in Cavite shore.

Special thanks to for the facts about the Virgen.


JM said...

This is very interesting: have you noticied that the top of the altar looks like the roof of a mosque? That is not a common shape among catholics, it has something of muslim art in it.

Steven (Cavite Daily Photo) said...

y JM! I haven't noticed that! Yah! It does look like it is from the roof of a mosque. Filipinos are really influenced by our Muslim heritage. Before Magellan conquered the country, more than 2/3 of the Filipinos are Muslims maybe, until now, it really has become a sturdy part of our culture! Thanks so much for that trivial assessment^^

babooshka said...

Absolutely fascinating. That is what I enjoy about blogging. Learning from real people who live there.

the donG said...

thats more than 300years! wow! good preservation method.

Joy said...

Love the first pic! It depicts the colourful religious beliefs we have in the Philippines.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments. Sorry for the late visit. Recovering from the flu. Have a nice week!

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Kris said...

Where would these little altars normally be kept? Is there a specific way that you are supposed to house them?

I enjoyed this post, very informative!

Steven (Cavite DP) said...

babooshka, the dong, joy - Thanks very much for those kind words! I really am delighted to know that you like my post. Hope you guys enjoy the rest of the series^^

Kris - Welcome to Cavite Daily Photo! Thanks for enjoying my post!

These little altar are usually placed with other saints in a larger table that will serve as the main altar. Here in the Philippines, altars are placed straight in front(even from a distance) of the main door of the house. Because they protect us and guard the home from evil.


Anonymous said...

hi steven,

some corrections: cavite's capital is imus not trece martires city as posted on your blog. it's total population is 2, 991, 295 (2007)

more power on your blog!

from ann of cavite province