Friday, September 19, 2008


As I see it, lighting a candle breathes life to unfulfilled wishes and to honor the memory of loved ones long gone whose guidance we seek. But most important, I light a candle to acknowledge oneness with the universe and connection with all living things.

In Manila, the Quiapo Church,
home to the famed Black Nazarene, lighting a candle is not allowed inside or its immediate premises. However, the candle vendors out in the plaza provide a space on their portable stalls for you to burn them.

Binondo Church, also
known as Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo, has a section in the lobby for candle lighting and inside its adoration chapel located at the back; the entrance is right on Ongpin Street.

Although not religious in nature, I find visiting a church -- to take the load of my feet and meditate even for a few minutes, as well as light a candle or two -- a uniquely soothing experience.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:04 AM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

you may not be religious in nature, but i believe you are spiritual.

i too like burning candles, more for its relaxing effects.

September 19, 2008 6:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I light a candle in church or even at home whenever any member of the family or a friend is faced with challenges.

Yes indeed, lighting a candle is soothing and also therapeutic. Watching it burn can even put one in a meditative state.

September 19, 2008 8:02 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

we always alot a portion of our budget for candles even if we only have what you call "near zero" to spend.
A couple of friends of ours do that too! And they're as you can classify lower middle economic class. One works for the BIR here in our province. He's the only the office can send to the most remote areas because the NPAs know daw that he's as "clean" as a whistle :-)!

September 19, 2008 8:15 AM  

Blogger EM said...

I remember Quiapo Church and Black Nazarene very well. My mom would bring me with her during her novena to the Nazarene. I remember the devotees walking on their knees from the church's door to the altar. My mom have gone through it numerous times (some of it I would join her). During my university days... I find Quiapo church and Baclaran Church a place of refuge and peace.

I can see that alot has changed since then.

Thanks for sharing.

September 19, 2008 8:46 AM  

Blogger escape said...

i dont do it regularly but it's during my birthday that i make sure to light a candle. it is soothing simply because we fill up a part of our life with things that our creator has placed in us.

September 19, 2008 9:23 AM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

i agree.. a soothing experience..

nagsisindi rin ako sa mga simbahan, kung first time ko mapuntahan...

September 19, 2008 10:15 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I lighted a white candle was in Baclaran Church. In our parish in Cavite, it was a red candle because white was not available.

United colors pala d'yan sa Quiapo at may meaning pa :)

Eh yung mga kwento tungkol sa itim na kandila, totoo kaya yon?

September 19, 2008 10:17 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

There was one "All Saints Day" I was still a kid, my Father took me to the cemetery. After placing flowers, then was lighting candles at the tomb of my grandparents, he notice a Chinese placing fruits & food on his kins' tomb. My father who most of the time was a smart aleck, called the attention of the Chinese...

"Hola! bakit ikaw lagay-lagay nan pakain sa nitso? Ano 'yan mamaya gigisin an patay, pak katapos kain-kain 'yan? he, he, he

The Chinese gentleman just bowed & smile at him. Still smiling, then with a soft reply...

"...he, he ang 'yon patay mamaya gabi, bagon-bangon, tapos amoy-amoy ang mga bulaklak mo?"

September 19, 2008 1:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people have different beliefs and purpose whenever they light a candle at churches.

I know someone who lights a candle for a wish. An aunt would light multicolored candles to improve her status quo. A friend would consider it as an offering or thanksgiving for a granted prayer.

Others would light a candle for retribution. I think this practice may have been the source of the Tagalog saying/phrase "pagsisindi kita ng kadila" to ask the gods to intervene in delivering karma.

September 19, 2008 3:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was in Binondo today to do an errand, Photo Cache and I stopped by the church to light a candle :)

Thank you!

September 19, 2008 8:22 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"Watching it burn can even put one in a meditative state."

I remember when we were kids, Rhoda, during All Souls Day. To keep us quiet, my aunt would coax us to watch the candles burn ... and we did. We'd also make balls out of the melted wax :)

That sounds lile a good idea, too -- lighting a candle in times of trouble.

September 19, 2008 8:27 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And thank God for people like the BIR agent in your area, Bernadette! I tell you, if more and more of our government employees go through a "spiritual transformation," that'd be half the battle won against corruption. The other half are those civilian folks who encourage corruption because of their incompetence to do what's right, or neglect to conform with regulations.

I rarely lit candles inside the house because the candles available for local purchase contain a this metal rod in the wick, which is supposedly dangerous, especially for asthmatic people, or those with respiratory problems in general. Sale of such candles in NY State is banned and illegal.

September 19, 2008 8:34 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Women praying and walking on their knees are still a common sight in Quiapo Church, EM. Don't go to Baclaran, but my sister said there are more devotees who go to Baclaran Church to do just that.

Some campuses have their own chapels but I bet a church is much quieter.

My pleasure, EM!

September 19, 2008 8:42 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Now, I like that idea, donG: to light a candle on your birthday and offer thanks for blessings received during the past year :)

September 19, 2008 8:44 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"nagsisindi rin ako sa mga simbahan, kung first time ko mapuntahan..."

Humingi ka na din ng tatlong hiling, Mimi. Yan ang payo n nanay ko pag bagong bisita sa isang simbahan.

September 19, 2008 8:46 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Same in Binondo Church, Juleste. Red is the only color of the candles they sell.

Do you mean the use of black candles by embittered and vengeful people? Not sure about that, but lighting black tapered candles during intimate dinner parties have become fashionable in New York :)

September 19, 2008 8:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Touché for the Chinese gentleman, Ka Tony ... lol!

Very funny. Thank you for sharing :)

September 19, 2008 8:59 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Reminds me of Tia Victoria who'd scream, "Ipagtitirik kita ng kandila!" whenever you displeased her, TOF!

Check out this old entry of mine:

September 19, 2008 9:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like the thin white candles na mahahaba. :)

not an avid church-goer myself, but i light a candle whenever i can at church to calm my senses.

September 21, 2008 9:54 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm always drawn to red candles, Danii. I guess, I've associated it with energy and happiness as learned from my father.

September 22, 2008 8:00 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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