La Naval: A Glimpse and Some Thoughts

La Naval

I was very upset when I found out that the digicam I bought last year is already having some problems. A strange dark spot started appearing on the lens and this appears on all the pictures I took. So I started looking for the box and the warranty card.

I got even more upset when customer service told me that the only service center that can help me is in Quezon ave. Which is not very convenient for someone living in the south as you can imagine.

Then the customer service representative reminded me to alight at the Sto Domingo church – How can I respond to something like that?

This is my consolation, and this to me became more important than having the gadget fixed. I no longer have an excuse not to visit La Naval. I’ve been wanting to see it, even promised myself that I would one day join one of its feast, but never did because of my laziness.

While I was inside the church, I suddenly remembered the story of Joaquin about a red jewel that belong to a great serpent that dwell in the banks of Rio Pasig. I did not bother to ask if its in the church or if it ever existed. I read from somewhere that the Dominican’s had confirmed that there’s no such gemstone. I believe the story was a symbol, a metaphor for Catholicism’s achievements.

Reading Joaquin, an ardent devotee of La Naval, made me understand that Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario’s significance was not confined to religion alone but also to the historical development of the Filipino and his state.

Natives together with the Spaniards defended the state with enthusiasm and tenacity – and their victory was inspired and attributed to our  Lady of the Holy Rosary. Had the Dutch succeeded picture what everything would look like today.

I’m sure of one thing – we would be gulping Heinekens instead of our sinfully delicious San Miguel beer!

Its important to note that the war against the Dutch, the longest war in our history was by no means less significant because it pitted the Dutch armada against the Spaniards. Filipinos fought in it — held their ground against an invading force. Their loyalty to the Catholic King and their adopted religion was an identity that bred solidarity. The victory of La Naval belongs to them as much as it does to the King of Spain.

The image, which was said to have been carved by a Chinaman who later converted to Catholicism, has miraculously survived countless wars and revolutions. I wanted to get a closer look but the Lady is safely tucked above  and enclosed in glass.

I found a great website that has great information about La Naval. There are rich sources available online and in print that talks about the history of La Naval. Of course not to be forgotten is Joaquin’s “La Naval”. Thanks to people like him, our generation can still see these images – but only with our eyes closed.

This unexpected visit made me think about the old neogothic Dominican church inside Intramuros and the October celebrations and its long colorful processions  marching down the cobbled calle’s of the walled city. What a dreamy picture! Just beautiful!

July 2010


3 responses to “La Naval: A Glimpse and Some Thoughts

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