The beauty of Cebu city is that it’s metropolitan, well developed, but hidden behind its progress are sacred grounds that continues to provide spiritual sanctuary for centuries to its inhabitants.
One of my favorite places to visit is the Carmelite convent and chapel, founded in the mid 1900’s by the Carmelites here in Mabolo. It has a quiet small garden, where I would just take a seat and rest. It have several rock benches, mature trees with broad leaves scattered around the convent grounds that supplies ideal shade.
The place is perfect for finding serenity and God– even Arroyo, stressed out with numerous issues on her presidential campaign against Poe (who got cheated big time) silently flew and sought asylum inside the Carmilite convent, startling even her closest cabinet members and perhaps, the sisters.
Inside the classical gothic chapel are beautiful candle stations. I often light candles after dropping coins in the donation boxes. Candles are mysterious things, they have the power to unwind your weary mind, and its light is like a mirror where you could see yourself and reflect on the troubles you face. I’m always looking to lit candles, even when I was a child, I did it for fun then but now that I’ve matured, it feels very different.
Inside the church is a relic – a small piece of rock from Mount Carmel, taken from where the Holy Virgin appeared and delivered her divine message. It’s sheltered inside a transparent container, just beneath a life-sized statue of the Nuestra Sra. Del Carmen.
I’m sure that we all wore Scapulars when we were kids. I use to wore them even when I’m playing basketball. I’ll never take them off until it gets worn out – then I’ll just buy another one. My mother told me that it have mystical powers. Anyone who wears the Carmilte Scapular would be kept away from harm, the Virgin promised, something that I would discovered to be the truth later in life.
I have a scapular, placed inside my car; I’ll momentarily stare at it and say my little prayer before heading out. In 2005, I suffered a terrible accident; I collided head on with a jeep somewhere in Tunasan, my car was badly wrecked, windows smashed into pieces. I momentarily lost consciousness upon impact but regained it just in time to drive my car to safety near the shelter of Pepsi Muntinlupa. It was a hit and run, when the police came they were told by the tambays to look for the jeep, they never caught that bastard who crossed his driving lane to overtake causing the collision.
I was rushed to the hospital; fortunately, it was Asian Hospital, one of the finest medical institution in southeast Asia. Aside from stitches and some hours of observation for possible head trauma, I was out of the hospital in less than 6 hours. I attribute this unbelievable survival to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Being here in the Carmilite Convent and Chapel is always a special occasion for me, I doubt it if I’ll be able to make a pilgrim to Mt. Carmel, I know seeing that little rock in the Carmelite chapel is the closest I could get to that miraculous mountain.