|The Nuestra Senora del Carmen in her niche at the altar (left), before she was brought up to the balcony (top right), |
and as she looked out to see the Nazareno, the 'dungaw' (below right).
In a story I wrote for the weekly FilAm Star of San Francisco, CA on 21 January 2014, I mentioned that the 'dungaw' tradition of the Recollects revived during the 'traslacion' of the Itim na Nazareno that year.
For the first time, the Basilica opened its doors this year to the public to view the 'dungaw' from the bell towers and balconies. It used to be exclusive for the media.
|My Dungaw pass to the balcony of the Basilica.|
In a way, the 'dungaw' was invitational. We failed to register online for slots in the viewing areas but we hoped for a chance when we went to the office of the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation on 'traslacion' day. Thanks to the graciousness of the the project officers, we were able to join the 'exclusive' viewing group.
The Nazarene procession from the Quirino grandstand to Quiapo church took 22 hours this year with thousands of barefoot devotees, male and female, jostling their way to hold on to the rope for pulling the carroza of the venerated image, or to clamber onto the andas to touch the image or the cross.
|Taken from the balcony as the 'traslacion' passes by on its way to Quiapo church.|
The frenzy of the devotees was tempered briefly when the Nazareno, coming from Hidalgo St., paused at the Plaza del Carmen. The image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Nuestra Senora del Carmen) came out to the balcony of the San Sebastian Basilica to 'look' at her son. Prayers were said, and the anthems to the Lady and the Nazareno were sang, the devotees singing along and waving their white towelettes.
This is the 'dungaw' (Filipino for looking out), a representative image of Mary's encounter with her son Jesus on his way to Calvary, one of the stations of the cross of the Roman Catholics.
Both images are around 400 years old, both of Mexican origin, that the Recoletos brought to the Philippines. The firs mission of the order comprising 14 religious arrived in Manila in 1606. It is said that the Nazareno came also that year,
The Catalogo de los Religiosos Agustinos Recoletos (Sadaba, 1906) tells us that the image of the Nuestra Senora del Carmen arrived with Mission III comprising five Recoleto fathers in 1618. Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel brought it from Mexico.
Fray San Miguel was with the first mission. He exercised his sacred ministry in Bataan and Zambales, which established missions in Mariveles, Subic and Masinloc.
He went back to Spain in July 1614 and sailed back in July 1617 as Commissar and President of the third mission, arriving in Manila in 1618. He held the post of Vicar Provincial of the order until 1622.
In 1621, he founded the convent of San Sebastian outside Manila where the image of the Nuestra Senora del Carmen that he brought from Mexico was enshrined for veneration. Fray Rodrigo also founded the ministries of Cebu and of Caraga in Mindanao.
The Recoletos are celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the Nuestra Senora del Carmen this year. Events are expected to be announced soon.
- Available from Google Books: Francisco Sadaba del Carmen. 1906. Catalogo del los Religiosos Agustinos Recoletos de la Provincia de San Nicolas de Tolentino de Filipinas. Madtid: Imprenta del Asilo de Huerfanos del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus.