Philippines

Going away for my birthday…

I’ll be celebrating another blessed year the best way I know how. By going away.
I know I have yet to detail here our Taipei trip, hopefully I’ll get to it by next week, but I am glad to inform you that I am off to discover another great place — and no airplane ticket required!

I have heard so much about Potipot Island in Zambales that I just have to be there for my birthday. In two weeks, I will be off to discover this wonderful place with my family.

another version of paradise

another version of paradise

I was able to score cheap accommodations on a resort just a few minutes away from the island, and in a great show of coincidence, was also able to generate good discounts for a twelve-seater van. I can’t wait for the election weekend to arrive! So while Manila is reeling from last minute electioneering and campaigning by pathetic fools masquerading as politicians, I’ll be in Potipot — happily chilling and away from the madness of the city.

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Taiwan, Travel Tips

Hearing Mass in Taipei

Note: Sorry for the long-delayed posts on my Taipei trip. Things in the real world has been very hectic and stressful that I had to take a breather from blogging my travel posts.

For Filipino Catholics who want to start their Taipei trip with a quick visit to the church or to hear mass in Taipei (especially if you happen to be there on a Sunday), I highly recommend that you visit St. Christopher’s Church in Chungshan North Road near the Taipei Expo Park.

When you are directly in front of the Expo, cross the street to the right... this is Chungshan N. Road

Cross the street to the right… this is Chungshan N. Road

To go there, take the MRT going to Yuanshan (Red Line), fare is not more than NTS20. Upon exiting the MRT, walk east of Minzu W. Road (this is directly in front of the MRT exit), cross the Zhongzhan N. Road and walk south of Zhongshan N. Road. This will lead you to the sign of the Taipei Expo Park.

From there, head right. You are very near when you see this bridal studio:

When you see this shop, you're a few steps away from the church

When you see this shop, you’re a few steps away from the church

Searched for the church via Google Maps and you can refer to this screen grab:

the facade of St. Christopher's and how to find it via GoogleMaps

the facade of St. Christopher’s and how to find it via GoogleMaps

St Christopher’s Church is well-known as THE church where Filipinos converage for spiritual nourishment in Taipei. When you go to a mass on a Sunday and is lucky enough to catch the 12NN service, you’ll think you’re in Manila instead of Taipei. The mass is offered in Tagalog every 12NN of Sunday. The other services during Sunday meanwhile are said in English. My sister and I made it a point to catch the Tagalog service because we want to hear the local language used generously in a foreign land.

It was definitely one of the best masses I’ve attended in my entire life — second to the experience of hearing mass offered by Pope John Paul II in Manila during the celebration of World Youth Day in 1995 when I was in junior year in high school.

The mass was made enjoyable by the following:

1. A very joyful and relaxed officiant who delivered his sermon without the grave seriousness that seemed to be prevalent in some masses offered in Manila. I noticed that most sermons delivered in Manila had that “hail, fire and brimstones” gravitas that scares the pants out of me. The parish priest often is too serious, leading some parishioners to fall asleep. The priest at St. Christopher’s was funny, engaging and delivered the message directly and simply — yet aided by a nice power point presentation.

2. Church goes are very behaved — people actually turned off their mobile phones upon entering the church. There were also usherettes directing people to their seats and kindly reminding people to turn the juice off their digital devices.

3. The choir was very good!

After the mass, some still stay to catch up

After the mass, some still stay to catch up

Lastly, it was nice to see non-Filipinos attend the church, even Taiwanese men married to their Filipina wives were there, hearing mass with their kids. I love how the church serves as a good spiritual refuge for Filipinos who have been living in a foreign land yet still wanted to deepen their faith.

After the mass, I saw some kids make “mano” (a traditional Filipino of showing respect by pressing the elders’ hand to the kid’s forehead. We kids were taught to make “mano” to elders after every mass), and I can’t help but feel a surge of Filipino pride. I left the church smiling and in awe of how this little church is keeping Filipinos in touch of its roots.

POSTSCRIPT:
After the mass, we went back to Yuanshan MRT station in search of food. It was past 1PM and we are stark raving hungry. To the other side are family-run restaurants and we happen to get transfixed on a mom and pop restaurant selling “MeiSua”. We were able to understand each other through a series of pointing and nodding and smiling and we ended up with a really great late lunch:

So YUMMY! Only NTS55!

So YUMMY! Only NTS55!

Go to the store with red signage if you want to taste really good Taiwanese misua

Go to the store with red signage if you want to taste really good Taiwanese misua

Like any “mom-and-pop” operation, the place is kept clean and the prices are affordable. Look out for the kind granny serving the soup.

Address and contact information:
ST. CHRISTOPHER’S CHURCH
51 Chungshan N. Road, Sect. 3, Taipei

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