HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

 

The whole town of Las Pinas which lies south of Manila were once under the St. Joseph Parish with the parish church located at Barrio E. Aldana. Once known for its salt beds and the famous Bamboo Organ, las Pinas became, at the turn of the century, the town center or bayan where the seat of government, the market, the police station, a hospital, and the church were all clustered together. Beyond the town center and the historical battleground that was Barrio Zapote was nothing but a vast field of cogon grass.

People migrated to the south after the war and subdivisions and villages began to sprout within the area. However, transportation was scarce and people who lived far from the Church of St. Joseph oftentimes failed to fulfill their spiritual needs.

This need for spiritual nourishment was soon answered by a proliferation of chapels within villages. Sometime later, when the Holy Family Parish was established in BF Almanza which was close to Talon, its new parish priest, Fr. Ernesto Joaquin, took in these chapels including the Sto. Nino Chapel in Moonwalk. This site was later chosen to house the new church to be built in honor of Mary Immaculate.

THE NATURE CHURCH

The church is the signature structure in the complex which spreads over a 4,000 square meter mango orchard beside a flowing creek. True to the nature concept proposed by the architect, Bobby Manosa, the church stands under a canopy of mango boughs, the altar section concealed from street view by thick tropical palms and plants thus providing the necessary privacy for prayer and meditation.

The nature concept is extensively expressed in the structure of the church itself, its furnishings and its adornments. Serving as beams and pillars to hold and support the cables which suspend an inverted funnel-shaped, canvas-covered anahaw roof are more than a half century old mango trees with six concrete posts providing added strength. It is considered biggest anahaw-covered roof in the Philippines. the intricately woven network of 40,000 anahaw leaves can be appreciated from the inside by simple looking up to the ceiling. Warm yet soft illumination is provided by 176 capiz lanterns depicting doves in flight spiraling from the fringes to the center of the ceiling.

Grouped into three sections on the wide assembly area are pews made from typhoon-felled trees strops and logs, and kneelers made from flat pieces of wood. The flooring is a patchwork of stones and wooden slabs mingling with pebble washout.

The focal point of the church is the organic sanctuary, so called because it seems to have come from natural evolution. It is propped up by big boulders whose crevices serve as plant beds for ferns and creeping vines. The altar is a rough-finished coral marble slab resting on two madre cacao driftwood pedestals. Flat-topped boulders of various shapes and sizes line the altar and are used as seats by altar servers. The flooring of the altar section, similar to that of the aisles, is interplay of wood tiles from tree trunks cut crosswise and white pebble washout.

Below the altar is an awe-inspiring rock garden. Rising about three meters high from altar level, its monolithic grandeur is softened by the refreshing greens of carabao grass, wild bougainvillea, pakpak lawin, and a collection of other fern varieties grown on driftwoods. A man-made waterfall cascades down the boulders to the feet of a seated marble image of Mary playing with the children, and collects in a lagoon planted with colorful water lilies at altar level. Dwarf flowering suntans and orchids add a festive air. Branches from a nearby 50-year old sampaloc tree support the image of the Crucified Christ and at the same time hover protectively over the altars cape. The ambiance created by the natural logs used in the pews is repeated in the vertically arrayed cut-logs on the walls at the right and left sides of the altar. In front of the wall on the right is situated the lector's ambo, crafted from natural twisted tree trunks and vines. Behind this wall is a cavern-like sacristy. On the other hand, the space in front of the wall on the left serves as a projection area for songs and prayers, separating the main altar from the choir section. On this wall hang driftwoods bearing sweet-scented flowering orchids, their silent fragrance courting favors from above.

Tucked at the back of the sacristy, directly under the image of the Crucified Christ, is the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel where parishioners take turns in ensuring adoration from 6:00AM to 10:00PM, 7 days a week. The Blessed Sacrament is ensconced in floral mosaic, making the altar one with its surroundings.

 

PARISH PRIEST - Rev. Fr. Fidel G. Fabile


PARISH PRIEST EMERITUS - Rev. Fr. Pietro Rogliardi


ASST. PRIEST - Rev. Fr. Benedict Than Lwin


ASST. PRIEST - Rev. Fr. Joseph Boonchob Pongsiripat



 

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL