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April 6, 2008. It’s another beautiful Sunday. I went to the Antipolo Cathedral again for Sunday Mass. I also went to look for the lay minister who was in my winning Palm Sunday photo entry to give him a copy of the photo.

Brother Jim is an amiable guy. He smiles easily and to say that he is accommodating is an understatement. The elderly gentleman is pleasantly warm like morning sunshine. Too bad–no camera equals no souvenir photo. I would have loved capturing his happy face underneath the ever-present sombrero. I handed him a copy of the photo. He said in jest that I won the contest because he had his back turned when I took the picture. He seemed extremely happy as he brought out a pen, asking me to write down full details including my contact number. He wanted to show the photo to Monsy (the Monsignor). I thanked him, but before I left, I asked if he would still be around the vicinity in 5 to 10 minutes’ time. “Yes,” he said.

I went back to the photo developer across the church plaza to pick up the rest of the photos–my own copy of the winning entry and a copy of another photo which I opted not to use as contest entry. I thought the photo looked quite nice, and a nice man like Brother Jim might appreciate another nice Palm Sunday photo. I went back to the church’s office, brought the photo out of its envelope and handed it to Brother Jim. I told him that it was the photo that I personally liked, but I didn’t use it as a contest piece. “Lupa,” he said.

Hosanna!

Puzzled, I asked what he meant. He said as he pointed to the upper midportion of the photo, “Eto o, may salitang LUPA sa larawan na ito (See here–there’s the word LUPA on this photo”. I stared at the photo for a few seconds. Indeed, the tips of the palm fronds on motion blur seemed to have formed the letters L-U-P-A. Lupa is the Filipino (Tagalog) word for earth or soil.

Brother Jim further explained the significance of the word LUPA in my photo. Lupa symbolizes dust. He said, “Dust we are, and to dust we shall return”.

He added, “Sa susunod na Ash Wednesday, magiging abo ang mga palaspas na ito. Ito ang mensahe ng salitang ‘lupa’. (Come Ash Wednesday, these palm fronds shall turn to dust. That is the significance of the word Lupa”. On Ash Wednesday which is the first day of the Lenten Season, dried palm fronds from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned to produce ashes to be used to mark crosses on the Catholic believers’ foreheads, symbolizing repentance before God.

Brother Jim thought that this photo would have made a good contest entry, too, because of the message contained therein.

It is truly amazing how God sends us messages even through simple photos. This is one photo that I definitely will remember for a very long time. I feel blest many times over to have captured this photo and the message it contained. I feel the love of God. 🙂

Related Blogs:
https://angelsgarden.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/clicking-on-palm-sunday/
https://angelsgarden.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/photo-contest-won-by-the-grace-of-god/

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On March 16, Easter Sunday, I went on a solo photoshoot at the Antipolo Cathedral. I wrote in my Easter Sunday photoblog, “This is my first set of photos for the year 2008. Finally! The very first “click” coming from my Nikon in three months is pure, unadulterated bliss! The fact that I found time on Palm Sunday, no less, to bring my camera out for some action is truly a blessing. I can feel that this marks the beginning of better things to come as I continue on my photo journey. ”

Well, I was right!

I posted some of my photos in my Flickr. Shortly thereafter, I received an invitation to post two of my shots in the photo pool of Semana Santa Filipinas (SSF), which I did. The following day, I received an email from a group administrator inviting me to join the SSF Klik and Kuaresma contest. There were several categories, and there was one specifically for Palm Sunday. Voting lasted for three days, and today the results were posted–my entry won the Best Palm Sunday Category!

This is the winning photo:

Blessing of the Palms

It was a closely fought contest. In fact, someone already commented that another entry was leading as of last night. I was therefore totally surprised that I my photo came out the winner.

Initially, I thought of using this photo: Hosanna!
but I changed my mind. I wonder if the outcome would have been the same had I used this second photo instead.

The Prizes:

1. Actually, I joined the contest because the coffee table books were hard to resist. The winner gets to choose either a copy of The Art of the Cross published by the Ayala Museum or Simbahan authored by Regalado Trota Jose. I picked “Simbahan: Church Art in Colonnial Philippines 1565-1898”.

2. Am supposed to receive a much-coveted ribbon from one of the group administrators–or at least I think he is an administrator. I failed to ask if this is a real ribbon or a virtual one with all those HTML codes.

3. Am qualified for the Grand Prix and I have a chance to win One Year Flickr Pro account.

Well, I don’t expect to win the Grand Prix anymore. Semana Santa Filipinas is a group that caters to Philippine Ecclesiastical Arts and Traditions with main focus on Semana Santa (the Lenten Season). A good number of members have religious images that one normally sees during a saint’s feast day or Lenten procession. I have observed that much weight is given to photos of Catholic religious icons. I expect the photo showing imagen with correct iconography according to Catholic tradition to come out as a winner. Believe me, the images I saw in the other categories are beautiful! At any rate, I am ecstatic to have made it this far.

I am humbled by this experience. I truly believe that divine intervention made me win. I feel that there now is a greater purpose to my photography. It’s more than just a hobby to kill time, more than just capturing cute images and doing trick shots. I trust that this photo journey of mine will continue to be guided by the Creator of this universe. Where it may lead me, i do not know. I only hope that I can get internet access wherever that may be, to document the whole trip for the love of Multiply (and WordPress, of course). 🙂

To God be the Glory!!!
Related Blog:
https://angelsgarden.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/clicking-on-palm-sunday/

By the way, SSF’s photo pool and discussions may be viewed by members only. I can say that I have learned many things about Catholic traditions as practiced here in the Philippines. SSF’s sister group, Santos: Images of Faith or SIF is equally interesting. Should you wish to join these groups, please click the icons below.


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March 16, 2008. Antipolo, Province of Rizal, Philippines. —
The photographs shown here are from my first set of photos for the year 2008. Finally! The very first “click” coming from my Nikon in three months is pure, unadulterated bliss!

Happy Palm Frond Vendors

Warm Smile

Please buy.

The fact that I found time on Palm Sunday, no less, to bring my camera out for some action is truly a blessing. I can feel that this marks the beginning of better things to come as I continue on my photo journey.

Blessing of the Palms

There are actually three churches that are closer to home, but since it is Palm Sunday, I wanted to spend the mornng at the Antipolo Cathedral (The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage). The cathedral feels like home to me, and I call it my personal storm shelter. This is the first place that I would run to in times of crisis, and also when I am exceptionally happy and thankful for anything good that comes my way.

This morning, the cathedral took on a festive mood as vendors filled the sidewalks with palms of all sorts, mostly woven into fancy shapes. The business of making and selling woven palm fronds is an annual family affair for most of the vendors that I spoke to. Said Jay, an FX (public transport) dispatcher, “Wala naman akong duty ngayon kaya tinulungan ko na rin si misis sa pagbebenta ng palaspas.” (I am off duty anyway, so I am helping my wife sell these palms). The kids did their share, too. The young ones made surprisingly good hawkers and ambulant vendors.

The cathedral was filled to the rafters. Those who could not get inside found shelter under the shades of the trees at the plaza. As for me, I was oblivious to the heat. After hearing Mass, I walked around with my camera, hoping to capture all the sights and colors that would mark this as Palaspas, Antipolo style. I saw the usual Sunday bikers. There were the vendors that will hound you no end unless they’re camera shy and get shooed away at the sight of lenses. Oh, and there was Sarge Sagat, my fave policeman. A pleasant surprise running into him today, woven palm in hand, making his way to the elevated platform where elders blessed the palms with holy water.
Hosanna!

My Nikon caught a drop of holy water, so I guess you could say that I have a blessed camera. 🙂

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