Visita Iglesia Online: Alternative Way to Fulfill Holy Week Tradition for OFWs, Sick Filipino Catholics

Established in 2010 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for OFWs and sick Filipinos, Visita Iglesia Online immediately became a hit but crashed due to heavy traffic (almost 50,000 logged in) but was technically adjusted to accommodate even if the figure doubled the following year.


Manila Cathedral

Visita Iglesia or Church Visit is a Holy Week tradition of Filipino Catholics to visit seven churches as nominal (Seven Last Words) and 14 churches for the very faithful to correspond to the 14 Stations of the Cross.


Jesus Christ: The Way, The Truth and The Life

Visita Iglesia Online offers a virtual experience of celebrating the Holy Week and Easter at the comfort of one’s room—in front of a multimedia laptop or desktop, or tablet or cellphone which becomes a virtual chapel.

The site, according to CBCP Media, however, should not be used as substitute to the liturgical celebrations done in parishes. Those who are able and capable to physically celebrate liturgical services in parish churches should do so.


San Sebastian Church

This year, the featured Churches are Epiphany of the Lord Parish in Lingayen, Pangasinan; San Ildefonso Parish in Guiguinto, Bulacan; Sanctuario de Sto. Cristo in San Juan City; San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (Barasoain Church) in Malolos City, Bulacan; Parish of Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr in San Fabian, Pangasinan; National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran; and the newly refurbished Manila Cathedral Basilica in Intramuros.


The magnificent dome of San Beda Chapel or Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat

For the physically able and capable devotees or the plain faithful, in Manila alone, there’s already a clump of churches to visit—aside from San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, there’s the San Lorenzo Ruiz Church in Binondo, Sta. Cruz Church, Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, San Sebastian Church, San Beda Church and Saint Jude Thaddeus Church near Malacanang Palace.


Pope Francis: Even Atheists love him for his exemplary demeanor

Visita Iglesia Online features videos, photos and articles for spiritual growth and deepening one’s faith—like the Lenten Message of Pope Francis, Catechesis on Lent by Msgr. Bobby Olaguer and The Meaning of Lent by Abp. Socrates Villegas. There’s also resources for Reflections, Pasyon and Homilies.

Click the link to get to Visita Iglesia Online

See related story in this blog–Rediscovering the Christian Faith: Jesus reveals the most astonishing and most profound aspect of his being in John 17



Pacquiao unanimous decision win a redemption from Bradley cheat victory two years ago

Not only was Manny Pacquiao hungry for the redemption from the cheat win of Timothy Bradley two years ago, but also the 90 million Filipinos at home and those scattered abroad, and many hundreds of millions of other people all over the world who swore that it was the boxing icon from Sarangani Province who clearly won in that fight.


Manny connects the punch to Bradley’s face

The first few rounds were tentative for both in the rematch held Saturday night (Sunday noon in Manila) in Las Vegas, with Bradley looking like he was the one getting the upper hand, until the seventh round when Manny staggered the American fighter.

Although no one got knocked down or knocked out, the points were clear that Manny won the fight—116-112, 116-112, 118-110.


Fighting for redemption was the name of the game for Manny

Bradley, who said in earlier reports that he wanted to commit suicide because he was booed wherever he went as people said he actually lost the fight to Pacquiao, should feel better now—not for thinking it’s an undeserved win for his opponent but his well-deserved loss to the 8-title boxing superstar.

ImageManny’s mother, renamed Queen D on social media, became ‘the star of the night’


Biggest winner is… Mommy D!

With the WBO welterweight belt back, Pacquiao’s current standing is 56-5-2, 38 knockouts. Bradley suffered his first loss, now with a record of 31-1-0, 12 KOs.

American Idol Season 11 runner-up Fil-Am Jessica Sanchez sang the Philippine National Anthem, Lupang Hinirang, while Ashanti sang The Star-Spangled Banner.

Meanwhile, Manny’s wife Jinkee, who’s scheduled to give birth to their fifth child anytime this month, tearfully said on TV that at 35, Manny has nothing to prove anymore and should retire now.

She asked her husband, “How much money do you want in this world when (that means) you’re away from your family?”

Right after the fight, though, Pacquiao said that his win over Bradley “proves that my boxing journey will continue.”


Manny hugs Tim after the fight

Coach Freddie Roach definitely want a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez, who knocked out Manny asleep for a few minutes that made fans and supporters weep.

The Filipino pugilist started to regain lost glory when he won over Brandon Rios in Macau in November last year.

Lest we forget also the possibility of a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Click link to watch the fight


Fil-Am Malaya Watson says goodbye to ‘American Idol’ dream

After almost everyone’s lackluster ‘80s performance on Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila), America voted who should stay as Top 7 on Idol Season 13. Not one got a standing ovation from the judges.

The contestants were mentored by American Idol Season 9 winner David Cook.


Malaya Watson

The sad thing is, it’s Filipino-American Malaya Watson who got eliminated, as the judges already used their Save on Sam Woolf last week.

Malaya performed Chaka Khan’s Through The Fire, and honestly, it wasn’t as sterling as her other performances.

On Results Night (Thursday, Friday morning in Manila), host Ryan Seacrest called Dexter (Roberts), Caleb (Johnson), Jessica (Meuse) and CJ (Harris) to get the first in the Bottom 2.

First declared safe was Caleb, then Jessica, and Dexter. CJ waited for the other contestant in the Bottom 2.


‘American Idol XIII’ Top 8 after ’80s performance with host Ryan Seacrest

The rest of the Top 8 were called—Sam, Malaya, Alex (Preston) and Jena (Irene)—and former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson said that Malaya could be in trouble with the votes as she hit some of the notes but also did not hit some.

After the review of the performances, Ryan announced Alex was safe, then Jena, and Sam, who looked surprised of the announcement.


CJ Harris

Jackson was proven correct. Malaya then joined CJ. When the results were read, it was the 16-year-old tuba player from Southfield, Michigan who was to leave the competition.

Jennifer Lopez was teary-eyed as Malaya performed her final song, I Am Changing. The judges gave her standing ovation.


Sam Woolf

The youngest contestant this season, as part of Top 10, Malaya will get in touch with her fans and supporters during the nationwide tour.

Filipinos may also get to see the Season 13 Idols if and when the tour includes Manila, as in Season 10, when the winner was Scotty McCreery and Fil-Am Thia Megia was in the Top 10.


‘Who’s known for earrings like Malaya’s?’ asked Ryan

Watch the announcement and Malaya’s performance of her final song, I Am Changing, here:

Photos from

Michael Christian Martinez wins Gold in Slovenia

Filipino Winter Olympian Michael Christian Martinez won the gold in the Triglav Trophy Figure Skating Senior Men’s Division in Jesenice, Slovenia on Sunday.


Photo Credit: Alex Dela Rosa Photography

He scored 63.29 in the Short Program on Friday and 131.84 in Freeskate on Sunday for a total of 195.13.

Japan’s Keiji Tanaka settled for silver for a total of 189.83. Ryuju Hino, also of Japan, came in third with 183.06.

The other skaters were Phillip Harris of Great Britain, June Hyoung Lee of Korea, Mario-Rafael Ionian of Austria and Sondre Oddvoll Boe of Norway.


As in the 2014 Winter Olympics that concluded recently in Sochi, Russia, Michael was the only entrant from a country that doesn’t have snow or ice.

His skipping of the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria slated March 10-16 proved advantageous to the teener as his injuries had enough time to heal.


Meanwhile, Samantha Cabiles, who performed in the Junior Ladies Division ended 6th overall in a field of 21 with a total score of 100.04. The Filipina teener was 4th in the Short Program.

Topping the division was Elizabet Tursynbayeva of Kazakhstan with 150.68, followed by Ah Hyun Lim of Korea with 120.33 and Alissa Scheidt of Germany with 115.69.

In the Senior Ladies Division, Rika Hongo of Japan won the gold with 153.32 points, followed by Francesca Rio of Italy with 139.36 and Isabelle Olsson of Sweden with 136.62.

There were only four entrants in Junior Men—with Anton Kempf of Germany topping the division with 139.66, followed by Daniel Naurits of France with 132.88; and Marco Zandron and Giorgio Settembrini, both of Italy, with 124.66 and 123.01 respectively.

There’s also Advanced Novice Boys and Advanced Novice Girls Divisions—topped by Arthur Ribes of France with 89.83 points and So Hyun An of Korea with 109.33 points.


The ISU (International Skating Union) 2013-2014 Season ends on June 30. The 2014-2015 Season begins with the Junior Grand Prix France on August 20-24, 2014 in Courchevel, France.

In his post early Monday (Manila time), the Filipino Olympian said:

“I Thank God for this blessing- another gold medal in senior event. It was actually difficult for all of us because the 30 minutes practice sessions were scheduled a day before, and no more practices during the competition days. I’m very happy i made it to first place.”

He still has to make a decision whether he will compete in Dubai next month.

Congratulations, Michael Christian Martinez, for continuously bringing pride to the Philippines and to all Filipinos around the world!


Still High on the Coronation of MJ Lastimosa, Miss Philippines Universe 2014…

Move over, pretenders to the throne! The Queen of Philippine Beauty Pageantry Blogging is always around to give us the best insights and plenty of never-seen-before photos–the iconic 1985 Bb. Pilipinas Universe Joyce Ann Burton-Titular!

Adventures of a Beauty Queen

MJ Lastimosa full of joy as she is crowned after her third attempt at winning! Crowning her is last year's MUP Ariella Arida. On the left is reigning Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler MJ Lastimosa full of joy as she is crowned after her third attempt at winning! Crowning her is last year’s MUP Ariella Arida. On the left is reigning Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler

It’s been 6 days since MJ Lastimosa became our newest Miss Philippines Universe as I write, and I’m still feeling the thrill! So here’s a post of my best photos of her taken on the night she was crowned. Enjoy!

MJ Lastimosa has dangerous curves that need warning signs... MJ Lastimosa has dangerous curves that need warning signs…

“Mom, I hope MJ wins!”

About 22 hours before this North Cotabato/Davao beauty was crowned, I was chatting with my daughter Diandra on Skype. Diandra has ALWAYS been a major major fan of MJ. When MJ lost in 2012, my baby girl and I were so upset. Anyway, I was telling my daughter about how gorgeous the girls were this year and she said, “Mom, I hope…

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‘American Idol XIII’ Top 8 intact as Malaya Watson stays and Sam Woolf gets the Save

The Idols of Season 13 sang their audition pieces this week, and after the votes were in Dexter Roberts then Jena Irene were declared safe, followed by Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse and Alex Preston.

The Bottom 3 were Malaya Watson, Sam Woolf and CJ Harris.


Top 8 intact until next week

Sam sang for the Save—only one for the whole season—and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. were unanimous in keeping him for next week’s performance.

On Wednesday the Top 8 Idols gave a full rendition of their audition songs that impressed the judges and merited them tickets to Hollywood.


Malaya performs ‘Ain’t No Way’ by Aretha Franklin

Before Malaya performed her piece, her father Ron said that she waited until the last two hours of the audition in Detroit to decide as she was hesitant.

She said she was only 15 then and people were telling her she has all the time in the world but her mom was persistent in saying to go for it. So she went, and as everyone knows now, the rest is history.

Keith gave Malaya a standing ovation after her performance of Aretha Franklin’s Ain’t No Way, while JLo noted how she was “blossoming into a star right before our eyes.” Harry praised her as well, and reiterated his earlier advice of working on her runs to make them all in tune.


Sam Woolf and Malaya Watson singing ‘Lucky’

Everyone was really good—Jena’s tackling of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep with her very own version, Caleb who was told by Keith as rock Viking, CJ’s emotional performance for his father, Alex and Jessica’s original pieces, Dexter in his country style and Sam who was still timid onstage but showed his vocal prowess.

The duets also showed how the Idols collaborate with each other—Caleb and Jessica, Sam and Malaya, Jena and Alex, and CJ and Dexter.

Sam and Malaya sang Lucky by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz.


Season 13 Idols Duets

In the rundown of support, the two are the preferred contestants by those 21 years old and younger along with CJ and Jessica whereas those over 21 prefer Jessica, CJ, Sam and Malaya, in that order.

Season 5 4th placer Chris Daughtry performed Waiting For Superman on Results Night. He reprised the look when host Ryan Seacrest said he could not forget the look on Daughtry’s face at the time of announcement he was to say to goodbye.

Next week’s theme will be the ‘80s.


Touted as the Best Set of Judges

See Malaya perform Aretha Franklin’s Aint No Way here and her duet with Sam Woolf at These videos lead you to the individual performances of the rest of Top 8 and the duet numbers.

For Daughtry fans, see his performance here:

Photos from

The First Press Con of the Bb. Pilipinas 2014 Winners!

No one can cover a Binibining Pilipinas event better than a former Binibining Pilipinas Universe (1985) herself, Ms. Joyce Ann Burton-Titular.

Adventures of a Beauty Queen

More gorgeous photos of our newest Bb. Pilipinas queens! All of them taken during their first press conference as beauty queen winners. The press conference was held at the Balay in Cubao today at 3pm. Here’s what I saw at the event…

Hannah Ruth Sison, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 2nd Runner-up Hannah Ruth Sison, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 2nd Runner-up

Hannah Ruth Sison was the first to be called out. The 2nd Runner-up of Bb. Pilipinas is a favorite of this blogger and I had her pegged for a crown. But 2nd Runner-up is a great honor and will give her priceless training then she can join again if ever. But if she goes for another round, she’ll have to do it next year since she’s already about to age out at 25. I love this Makati lass for her expressive eyes!

Laura Lahmann, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 1st Runner-up Laura Lahmann, Bb. Pilipinas 2014 1st Runner-up

Stunning in white, Laura Lehmann is the 1st Runner-up in the…

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