Part II – The Story Behind The House Of God

Hello World,

First of all, Happy Easter to you all! I wonder how other religions (non-Catholic) or those non believers like the Atheist spend their Easter Sunday. If you know, please do tell me. I mean, I want to know what’s the difference.

Anyway,  before I talk more. I would like to share the second part of my post entitled “The House of God” with its subtitle “The Story Behind The House of God. I’d like to mention this again that I am not trying to promote a certain religion here, just sharing Filipino culture and tradition. If you think the story is boring, blame my father :p …. For those who haven’t read the Part I , please click this link if you are interested to read it.


Enjoy Reading!

“The House of God”

Part II – The Story Behind “The House Of God”

narrated by: Jimmy Gonzales

The following day was Black Saturday and it was our 3rd day of the lodging house. From the veranda of our lodging house, the view of the antique building can visibly be seen. The landlady of the lodging house noticed me and asked me if I wanted to see the entire and contents of the building that the folks there called as the “House of God”. Hearing her suggestion, I told her, why not if I am allowed to do so. Our landlady had assured me that there is no problem with it since the villa administrator, a certain Chita Arnaiz was a friend and schoolmate of hers. So without hesitation and delay, I decided to go to that villa. After all, I didn’t have anything to do at the lodging house. My companion not wanting to be left alone at the boarding house in boredom was also eager to see what’s inside in that villa whom they called as the “House of God”.

At the villa, our landlady introduced us to Mrs. Arnaiz who was too hospitable to accommodate us. She must be in her 70’s  but still possessed eminent beauty that must be her possession in her youth. Though she could not speak fluently the Cebuano dialect, she could understand us and preferred to speak in Tagalog. She then proceed to tour us to the different rooms and to the salas of big the villa where the many sculptured images of Jesus Christ were being kept. There were also numerous statues of most of the saints of the Catholic Church that were being kept there. I was amazed of that rare collection of antique relics. The Santo Entierro that was processioned the previous day was already there. That time, there were also caretakers that dressed up the Blessed Virgin Mary  and the image of the Resurrected Jesus Christ , purposely for another procession to take place on the following day, the Easter Sunday.

The villa Bayot in Masbate, Philippines

We learned from her that the  villa Bayot was built in 1880 by the original owners; Don Francisco Bayot and Doña Jose Zurbeto. At the closing years of the Philippine revolution against the Spanish regime, the whole town of Masbate was being torched by the “Insurrectos”  in order to drive The Spanish soldiers from their garrison. It was a miracle that the villa was among the few buildings that survived the fire hazed the whole town. Also, during the liberation of Masbate by the U.S forces, a bomb pierced through the building and into the chapel which was located inside the building. But the bomb failed to explode , as if it just rested there in front of the altar. The house was also used by the Japanese as their garrison. The house remained unscathed even after the bombing. The villa Bayot must have some sort of historical value. Its sala was used as a Court of Justice by the Spanish Judges.   She also told us that the original statue of the Santo Entierro was made in Spain like other statues of saints and were brought to the Philippines by the original owners of Villa Bayot. After the end of the Philippine revolution against Spain, the couple returned to Masbate from Manila. They found out that of all the statues of their collection, the Santo Entierro was prominently missing. After searching all over the island of Masbate, the couple almost gave up when one day a sort of miracle happened. One of their servants noticed something that was floating in the sea water. At first, it resembled like that of a dried coconut. Curious to verify by the object, he paddled towards it using a small boat. He was astonished  to find out that it was the missing Santo Entierro’s head.

Like the act of Joseph Arimathea and Nicodemus who took down the body of our Lord Jesus Christ from the cross wrapped the body with linen cloth and buried him at the Holy Sepulchere, the couple lovingly and carefully laid the Santo Entierro’s head atop on their matrimonial bed. Though the original body was never found, the couple had it restored in Betis San Fernando Pampanga. The restored Santo Entierro came the object of veneration of the entire clan and the people of Masbate. They considered as miraculous and to procession it every Good Friday became the tradition of the succeeding generations.

The "Sugat" (in Cebuano) "Salubong" (in Tagalog) and literally in English it means 'to meet" - is the highlight of the Easter Sunday in the Philippines (for Catholic believers)

Our talk with Mrs. Arnaiz lasted for almost half an hour. Deep inside me, I craved for more time but she was too busy for the preparation of the Easter Sunday. She politely excused herself from us to go back to her chores. The night that followed, I had a friendly argument with my protestant companion. He resented on the traditional beliefs of idolatry and being also a devout Catholic, I had to defend my faith.Our discussion almost lasted the whole night. Hardly had I taken a sleep when I was awakened by a sound of a brass band for the Easter Sunday and the “Sugat” was the most anticipated occasion of the celebration. As I opened the window of my room with my companion, we were able to have a glimpse of the two groups of processions; one of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other, that of the Resurrected Jesus Christ. The two groups met and converge right there in the street beneath our lodging house. My companion could only sigh. I chuckled; we had already a long discussion so we had to go back to sleep to to have a strength for a long trip back home.

The rare chance for me to visit the “House of God” in Masbate was a treasure that I will kee throughout my life.

The End………….

Thank you for reading :)))))))))))))))))))))) and again, HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!


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