Thursday, November 24, 2005

An Excellent Film

Last night we went out to the cinema to see the film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". I was a bit apprehensive because I never, ever watch horror or scary films as I just don't see the entertainment value but I was reassured by the PG-13 certificate. I really wanted to see it because it had been recommended by the Bishops Conference here as a very instructive movie. It turned out to be not a horror film at all but a very inspiring and moving account of the true-life story of a very devout girl who was the victim of demonic attacks. In our contemporary world there is so little awareness even amongst Catholics of the danger of the dark side of the spiritual so I think this film could be very helpful in reminding many people that this life is nothing less than a spiritual war. Pope John Paul II used to encourage people to say the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel penned by Pope Leo XIII every day. I like to do this myself and include it here for the benefit of others:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do Thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host by the power of God thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Most Sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. (3 times)
In Christ through Mary,

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Villa San Miguel

I've just returned today from an overnight stay at a Hot Springs resort in Laguna province called Villa San Miguel. The piety of the proprietor can be seen in this beautiful statue of Saint Michael Archangel slaying the devil who tempts the revellers at the resort to engage in sins of the flesh by eating and drinking too much! There is also a grotto at the side of Our Lady of Lourdes complete with a kneeling St. Bernadette. The owner is a self-made man who very nicely attributes all of his success to his trust in God's providence.
There were three pools all full of lukewarm water which comes free of charge via the sleepy volcano that can be seen from the resort. We had a great time there eating, drinking, swimming and singing karaoke. I of course was the only one who soaked up the sun. The reason for the trip ostensibly was the meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council but since I'm not on the Council and didn't understand the proceedings anyhow I was free to lounge around. A very restful and happy trip.
Happy Feast of St. Cecilia,
In Christ through Mary,

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Christ the King

An altar set up by the Parish Mother Butler Guild on the roadside to greet the procession as it passes down the street.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King and it was celebrated here with a very elaborate procession of the Blessed Sacrament that wsa performed in a relay fashion. The local deanery, the San Jose deanery consists of five parishes. The parish priest of the first parish carried the Blessed Sacrament til he reached the next parish when he then passed on the monstrance to the next priest and so on until the last parish, San Ezekiel Moreno was reached whereupon mass was offered by all five priests and, the chief celebrant being the Bishop of our diocese Deogracias Iñiguez. The walk was quite long and I was glad to be among the privileged few (the priests, myself and one of the parish councillors) who got to sit down and eat merienda (snacks) straight after the mass. Here's San Ezekiel's sanctuary:

I've just now realised my foolishness in writing a post about a procession only to realise that I in fact don't have any photos of the procession itself. Mea Culpa. Never fear, however because one of the brothers from Santo Domingo had his camera so I will email him and ask him to send me a few. Expect them shortly. Sorry about that.

In Christ through Mary,


P.S. Going swimming at the hot springs resort again tomorrow. Going to stay overnight this time: yay!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bartolome de Las Casas Dominican conference for Justice, Peace and Care of Creation

Today was the Bartolome de Las Casas Dominican annual conference for Justice, Peace and Care of Creation. Bartolome de Las Casas was a Dominican friar in New Spain (now Mexico) who fought passionately for the rights of Native Americans. In the face of tremendous opposition he wanted the Indians to be recognised as children of God endowed with all the same graces as the Spanish. He is thus our inspiration in the Dominican family for and justice and equality in this broken unjust world so tainted by original sin. The conference was held at Dominican College in San Juan, Metro Manila. Father Allan gave the welcome remarks and we made the Powerpoint presentation together. There were three speakers spread over the day. The first was on "Migrants and Itinerant peoples". The second was "The trafficking of women and children" and it was startling to realise how bad this problem actually is here, with up to 12 children a day being trafficked into all kinds of horrible situations: from forced labour to prostitution. The last talk was in the afternoon and was about "Justice and Peace spirituality" where the speaker mostly concentrated on informing us about the model of the human pysche as understood by Carl Jung. It was glad it was Jung and not Freud because Jung was generally very positive about religion whereas Freud was notoriously anti-Christian.
Tomorrow is the Christ the King procession,.
photos to follow shortly,
In Christ through Mary,

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I just got out of hospital

Sorry for my prolonged absence from this blog but I've just got out of hospital today. I had acute gastrointeritis and was hospitalised from Monday til Thursday, that's today. I went to the University of Santo Tomas (Dominican) Hospital. I had my own room with my own bathroom but it was very boring because there was no TV and the companion who was with me all the time couldn't speak any English and I can't speak much Tagalog so we couldn't really communicate. I'm feeling very tired now because they would wake me up every day at 4:30am to take my vital signs. Also, I've lost weight because I didn't eat for 2 days before I went to hospital and then once I got there they didn't allow me to eat or drink for another day. So I'm looking thin, pale and tired, going to go take a nap.
Hope everyone is well,
God Bless,

Monday, November 07, 2005

I've been tagged again

Br Lawrence at Contemplata Aliis Tradere has just tagged me to do this meme so I will oblige because I like them and don't have anything to blog about at the moment:
Three names I go by:
Dan ( only my Dad and my sister Anne call me this, they alone have the priviledge ;-)
Brother Daniel (by the Filipinos)
Three screen names I have had:
Three physical things I like about myself:
My gradually developing tan (thanks to the Philippines!)
My eyes: unusually slanted for an englishman
My feet
Three physical things I don’t like about myself:
I wish I were taller
I wish I were stockier, more athletic
I wish I could tap-dance
Three parts of my heritage:
Irish ( my maternal grandfather, hence the Catholicism)
Don't know of a third
Three things that scare me:

Violent Crime

Eternal Damnation

Dogs that are trained to kill/injure (they look so evil!)

Three of my everyday essentials:

Daily Mass and Rosary

A good wash

Food and Drink

Three of my favorite musical artists:

Choir of the Brompton Oratory

Sarah McLachlan

Natalie Imbruglia

Three of my favorite songs:

Deserts miss the Rain by Everything but the Girl

Let it be by The Beatles

World on Fire by Sarah McLachlan

Three things I want/have in a relationship:




Three lies and three truths in no particular order:

I wear a miraculous medal

I'm originally from London

I'm an aspiring Dominican

I love peanut sauce

I love to read novels

I'd like to be a politician

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to me:

Nice hair

Nice clothes

Cheerful disposition

Three of my favorite hobbies:


Listening to Radio 4

Going to galleries/museums/stately homes/churches

Three things I want to do really badly right now:

See my family and friends

Eat European food

Have a little fun before I die

Three careers I’ve considered:

Architectual Historian

Manuscript preserver

Working for English Heritage/National Trust

Three Places I want to vacation:



New England

Three kid’s names I like:




Three things I want to do before I die:

Visit the Holy Land

Help to save souls

Become more learned and accomplished

Three ways that I am stereotypically a girl:

I'm an extrovert

I like to go shopping

I like musicals and opera

Three ways that I am stereotypically a boy:

I'm disorganised

Masculine pride

Like to be around other guys

Three celeb crushes:

Britney Spears


Keira Knightley

Three people I would like to see post this meme:

Elizabeth at A Little Flower Garden

Patti at Mercy Drops Falling

Rachel at Testosterhome


Friday, November 04, 2005

Despidida ni Helene: Helen's leaving do

Here's Helene and her sister Murielle enjoying the delights of watching the videoke screen. Not a great photo I know but all the others came out fuzzy.

Pray for me dear bloggers

Please pray for me dear bloggers. I just posted my application to join the English province of the Dominican Order and so am now officially an aspiring Dominican. I'm glad that it's finished and sent already because my mind was so focused on it recently that I didn't feel that I was really here in the Philippines at all. I was in here in body but not in spirit.
Last night was the despidida of Helene, one of the French volunteers here. I'm going to post on it properly this evening once I have the photos.
In Christ through Mary,

Thursday, November 03, 2005

More floats from La Naval

So, I've been anonymously informed that this is John of Cologne

And this is Louis Bertrand

In Christ through Mary,


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The High Life

Monday night we went out to have a drink at the Diamond Hotel. The hotel is just a road away from Manila bay which can be seen from a completely new angle from the Sky Lounge bar on the 27th floor. The walls were made of glass giving one a superb view of the surrounding area with its glittering towers and colourful lamps that cast a benevolent glow upon the bay. The bar was very subdued: low lit with oil lamps on the tables and the music provided by a pianist and lounge singer. The piano had a beautiful sound; I think it must have been a Steinway or of a similar quality and the singer had a fantastic, soothing voice. Maybe this makes me strange but although I'm only 22 I have to say that I much prefer this kind of setting for an evening out than some noisy place where one can hardly hear oneself speak. It was very relaxing and oddly comforting: you have a nice drink, the music is good, everything is right with the world. This is I suppose the product that the bar is selling. As we entered the lobby I saw some German girls who couldn't have been any older than me going up to their room and it made me wonder what life must be like for those for whom a hotel like that is their standard travel accomodation. I don't know, but one thing I do know is that I'm glad that I'm not somebody who has come to this country and stayed in the best hotels and eaten at the best restaurants all the time, oblivious to the political crisis and grinding poverty that affects so many here. For better and for worse I've seen the real Philippines: its people, its ways, its good side and its bad side. And that, I think, not a fancy hotel, is real travel.
In Christ through Mary,
Today is the feast of All Souls when the Church remembers and prays for the eternal rest of all the departed. Let us remember them in our prayers: May the Divine Assistance remain with us always and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace +. Amen.