THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
By DR. JUN YNARES
Today, December 8, is a busy day for Antipolo.
Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Today, the city is celebrating its big annual feast day which honors its patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the occasion of her being conceived in a manner, the Catholic Church teaches, befitting a person designated to become the mother of our Savior.
Antipoleños expect thousands of pilgrims to visit the city’s cathedral which has been aptly named in honor of the Immaculate Conception. December 8 is one of the city’s busiest days. The influx of pilgrims will coincide with the parades and activities planned and implemented by the local government.
The frenzy of activities and the fervor of those who will take part in today’s Catholic religious ceremonies reflect the ardent devotion of thousands to Antipolo’s Mother and Patroness represented by the centuries-old image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. She has attracted devotees to her altar since her arrival in the 1600s.
We presume that the power of her intercession has been experienced by those who came to her to pray for peace in their hearts and homes and for safe travel. The image is the reason Antipolo became the original “Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines.”
It is said that when one goes on a long journey, one needs three things: foundation, friends, and faith.
Foundation. Friends. Faith. These are the three things that would make one’s journey memorable and meaningful.
“Foundation” refers to the many things in life that made us who we are – family, values, customs and traditions. Having a solid foundation is important. One cannot set his eyes on the destination of his journey unless he knows where he is coming from. The journey to Point B in life becomes more enjoyable when one clearly appreciates the Point A – the departure area.
“Friends” are the people whom we meet along the way as we traverse the road from life’s Point A to Point B. These are the people who point us the right direction or who engage us in delightful conversations during our many stopovers. They are also those who decide to accompany us in our journey and who make sure we make it to our destination safe and sound.
“Faith” refers to the state of the heart that clings to the promise of Divine Guidance and Divine Protection during the journey.
Just like the many who pray at the foot of the altar of the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Antipolo City itself has been on a journey.
Point A was that part of its history when it was a mere small agricultural town nestled on the slopes of the Sierra Madre mountains. It grew into a bedroom community, then evolved into a preferred home of many families looking for an ideal place to raise their children – with the essential amenities of an urban community while preserving the values and environment of a small town.
Today, it is a bustling city which has twice landed at the top of the list of the country’s most competitive component cities. It is a favored destination of business and commercial enterprise due to what has been recognized as the ease-of-doing business in this part of Rizal province.
The country’s top developers have all contributed to the city’s growth. The top financial institutions and some of the country’s best schools have all established their presence there.
Despite its significant growth over the past decade, Antipolo continues to preserve its foundation – its traditions, its landmarks, and its community spirit. Despite its new urban face, Antipolo will continue to be the home of the “suman, manga, at kasoy,” of the Hinulugang Taktak, and of the many other establishments in its nooks and crannies that remind us all of its humble past.
Our friends from the government and business sectors have contributed much to that growth too. We refer to the business leaders who have made sure that their development projects help meet the fast-growing need for residential and commercial establishments in the city. We also refer to the leaders in government who have helped the city make sure that its major infrastructure requirements are met adequately.
Antipolo’s journey will always be guided by its Mother – the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage whom the city honors today.
It is the faith of the many in the power of her intercession that assures our Pilgrimage City that its continuing voyage will be safe, memorable, and meaningful.
We wish our fellow Antipoleños a happy fiesta as we welcome the thousands of pilgrims making the trek up to the mountain city today.
As it has been said over the past many decades, we continue to extend the timeless invitation of “Tayo na sa Antipolo.”
*For feedback, please email it to [email protected] or send it to #4 Horse Shoe Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Bgy. Beverly Hills, Antipolo City, Rizal.