Saturday, October 26, 2013

FORT PILAR CANDLES AND ANECDOTES @ NOVEMBER 2012

When I blogged about Fort Pilar, I myself never really gave extra meaning about the candles other than it being a symbol of thanksgiving and the red dragon candles was just an accepted tradition.
Interestingly, it was through the Commex that made me wonder about the Red Dragon candles. It has to be through other people's eyes for us to see beyond what we see as day-to-day!
I thought, "who should I ask?"... it seems to me, the  elderly (as I said, Pardon me!) candle store owners had been there forever and would be the best persons to answer this.
I met a beautiful lady with the name of Mely (of Mely's Love), who shared a lot about this. They say Mely is usually the spokeswoman when TV crews from Manila would come to interview them. She is the daughter of Pinang who was one of the candle vendors from way back when!
When I bought my first candles from her, she automatically said, "BLUE FOR OFFERING TO MAMA MARY, RED FOR LOVE"... "And if you have received your blessings, RED IS FOR THANKSGIVING"!
I was amused at how lively and animated she was. .. and how observant! She asked me if I was a lawyer or a judge! What!?!  The candle vendors mentioned that the new Candle Colors previously posted was adapted from Cagayan De Oro... must be from the Divine Mercy Shrine!
I asked her and also the ladies from Meng's Candle about the red dragon candles and they shared that it started with the Chinese devotees who usually dream of the Lady of the Pillar and who were bestowed blessings!  They come from all over to offer candles. These devotees bring the Chinese Red Dragon candles especially during the eve of the Fiesta.
Our Lady of the Pillar is known to be MIRACULOUS!
As far as they can remember, even during the 50s and maybe even earlier, gigantic red dragon candles are placed on each side of the present entrance gates with the diameter of electric posts and about twice taller than people and these huge candles are continually lighted.
Lots have changed since those days... including economics, change of Shrine administrators and more likely, security and safety issues, so that there is now a fence around the shrine and the candle owners have been moved to Plaza Del Pilar, which is actually a better place!
As far as I remember, the size of the red dragon candles have also decreased, but I know the devotion has not!
An interesting story told by Ma'am Mely is how the Lady of the Pillar is miraculous and has shown apparitions to her mom, Manang Pinang and herself. She can remember her Mom told her about seeing the Lady giving bird seeds to the birds as if reminding them to keep the birds in the area. When she was a little girl, they would come to the Shrine at about 4 a.m. and there is a very cute little boy playing who suddenly disappears. Her mom would tell her just to go straight and keep quiet and just pray. 
She also has seen how a miracle of healing has happened in their own family and the sick little child on the verge of death is now a healthy family man!
Another story they share is that even our brother and sister Muslims come and offer candles to the Lady of the Pillar still for the same reason that they dream of her and also for miracles that have happened which they attribute to her. They say, these Muslims come and look for "Sitti Maryam". They know about this because they have bought the candles from the candle vendors themselves!!!
My conversations with Mely and the other candle vendors have been heartwarming and interesting and has made me look at many things in different ways. I was so happy to learn so much from them... including the story about the birds which I have blogged earlier!!! 

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