Do you believe in miracles? I do; people who have been "touched" by the Sto. Nino de Providencia give testimonies about their miraculous healing, and that's how I learned about it. Fortunately, a former secretary in my husband's company knew where it was.
The story on the miraculous Sto. Nino's healing oil is traced back to the time Rodrigo “Boy” Gonzales Jr., then a medical intern, had an accident on Good Friday of 1982. He was struck on the head by what seemed to be a steel bar near the Labor Hospital. After an operation, he went into coma for 6 months, until the neuro-surgeon gave up on him, and told Boy’s mother Cora and sister Lorna to bring him home.
Hearing about Boy's condition, a friend brought the cape of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and put it around him; he woke up but had amnesia for many years. He did not recognize anybody, but he shed tears when someone called his name. Such condition led his sister Lorna to question God’s mercy; she stopped praying and going to Mass... until the first sign of Sto. Nino's miracle happened at about 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 27, 1992 when the image was placed in their living room and the family prayed incessantly for Boy. Fr. Noel Adolfo, then a deacon, was with them; he blessed the image.
When Lorna was alone in the house, she saw a liquid that seemed to be like oil oozing from Sto. Nino. She confirmed it was oil when she touched it. Instinctively, she scooped up the oil and repeatedly rubbed her brother with it. The nuns of St. Pius X in Philamlife Village were asked by the Gonzales family to help put things in order. They wiped the oil off the floor with towels and later used these to wipe the sick. Healing reportedly occured.
A chapel was built next to the Gonzales house (ironically, it would have been Boy's clinic). Msgr. Josefino Ramirez blessed the chapel in 1992; it was dedicated to the Infant Jesus of Providencia.
News about the miraculous Sto. Nino spread. Sick people came and prayed to the miraculous image. In thanksgiving, they celebrated the anniversary of the miracle every Jan. 27. When Boy's mother died away in 1995, Lorna continued the celebration. Devotees donated food. Later, celebration of Sto. Nino's fiesta became every 4th Saturday of January. Thanksgiving packs containing a Rosary, prayer, tiny bottle of oil and handkerchief are given away.
By the way, Boy recognizes his sister, is aware of his surroundings, and eats properly. Lorna believes the Sto. Niño healed him.
The chapel is open Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
If you have more free time, don't just settle for a chair massage (for head, shoulder & back). Have a detoxifying sauna and a whole body massage after. You can choose your type of massage: Chinese, traditional "hilot", Thai, Swedish, etc. You need not go to a resort spa to do that. At SM Southmall, you can have the pleasures of a resort spa in the mall complex.
Again, my daughters and I prefer Relaksasi for this. When you enter the door of Relaksasi, you seem to be transported to a different place, what with the Buddha images, harem-like rooms and smell of aromatherapy candles and exotic flowers, the sensually romantic lighting effects and piped-in music. The uniformed staff attend to you like you're the most important guest in the house. And after the massage, you are given a face towel and basin with wam water to pat on your face and body, in case you don't want the feel of the massage oil. Then, you will be served a cup of hot green tea or iced tea, whichever you prefer.
If you had a tension-filled day, release your tension at a spa nearby and have a head, shoulder and back massage before you go home. At SM Southmall, there are spas you can choose from; my daughters and I particularly like Relaksasi because of the relaxing ambience and professional staff.
We go to SM Southmall when we feel like going t the mall, but wouldn't like to waste time in the heavy traffic of South Luzon Expressway. SM Southmall is a mall complex composed of SM Department Store, SM Supermarket, SM Cinema, SM Food Court, Boutiques for Branded Apparel, Flea Market For Muslims' Jewel Crafts, Restaurants, Amusement Centers, IT Shops, Beauty Salons & Spas, etc.
I was very fascinated when I finally saw the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ which is one of the finest and most unique old organs in the world. Its construction of bamboo material has given it a truly unique, melodious sound. The instrument was built in the classic Spanish style by Fr. Diego Cera. Work on the organ started in 1816; it was first heard in 1821 though without the horizontal trumpets yet; the work was completed in 1824, with metal used for the horizontal trumpets. The original bamboo resonators now serve as the rear facade pipes of the organ.
Through the years, calamities like earthquakes and typhoons damaged both church and organ. Fr. Cera was said to have made the first repairs, and later the locals whom he trained did the subsequent repairs. At the start of the 20th century, the organ wasn't functioning well. Several attempts were made just to keep it playing, but after the Second World War, major restoration became more pressing. Finally, in 1972, a contract for restoration was awarded to Johannes Klais Orgelbau of Bonn, Germany through the efforts of the CICM priests of St. Joseph's Parish, Fr. Mark Lessage and Fr. Leo Renier. The entire instrument was shipped to Germany in knocked-ddown parts in 1973, and was restored under strict simulated climatic conditions like those at Las Piñas. The restored organ was returned in March 1975 to a joyous homecoming welcome.
Since then, St. Joseph Church became the scene of many concert festivals, with the Bamboo Organ as the "Star".
Although more known as the home of the famous bamboo organ created by Fr. Diego Cera, St. Joseph Church is also a favorite site for Visita Iglesia, a Catholic tradition. It is also often visited by curious Architecture students and photography enthusiasts.
St. Joseph Church was constructed with adobe stones in the "Earthquake Baroque" style by the Augustinian Recollects between 1797 and 1819. It replaced the original structure made of bamboo and nipa. It was later damaged by several earthquakes and reconstructed again in 1883. Subsequent restoration of the church was done by Architects Francisco Mañosa and Ludwig Alvarez between 1971 and 1975.
Inside the church convent is a church bell said to be donated by the Queen of Spain.
When your feet get tired from shopping, Pamper yourself to a foot spa and foot massage. If you have more time, you can have a pedicure,too.