‘Heneral Luna,’ ‘AlDub,’ and a hopeful new start with Our Lady of Namacpacan
The movie “Heneral Luna” is a must-see for every Filipino trying to find his identity and seeking answers to what’s happening in our country today. And these days there seems to be a shining star hovering above us with the “AlDub” phenomenon (“#AlDub Fever,” Supplements, 10/21/15).
The spiels or nuggets of wisdom the “kalyeserye” offers serve as reminders of the time-honored values of respect for the elderly, chaste love, family bonding, sincerity, simplicity, honesty, truthfulness, among others. The more than 35 million “AlDub” tweets is an astounding feat. It could be an indication of the nation’s preference for the abovementioned Filipino values, as verbalized by Lola Nidora of the “kalyeserye.” Lola Nidora suggests pleasant food for thought that every Filipino can relate to and that are essential in nation building.
Brothers Antonio and Juan Luna were from Badoc, Ilocos Norte, where a museum has been built in their memory. Their mother was from La Union where a town has rightly been named, Luna, in their honor.
The town of Luna was formerly called Namacpacan, an Ilocano word to extol the native trait of hospitality among the residents. It is here that the miraculous Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan is being popularly venerated today.
The story goes that Our Lady’s image was commissioned in Spain by an Augustinian priest assigned in Ilocos Sur. It was shipped to the Philippines in 1871, and was heading for Ilocos Sur when a storm forced the crew to seek refuge along the coastline of Darigayos, a barrio of Namacpacan.
When the storm subsided, they tried several times to continue their journey, but to no avail since strong winds would always force them back to the port. Finally, the ship’s captain decided to carry the image by land. But the carriage of Our Lady would not budge. So they thought that Our Lady, now in an old church beside the South China sea, must have chosen Namacpacan as her sanctuary.
Adjacent to the church is a museum containing the adorned dresses of Our Lady, lovingly preserved through the years. We once attended a 6:30 a.m. Holy Mass in Luna, and it was awesome to behold another majestic image of Our Lady on stained glass, atop the church entrance, as the morning sun shined through it!
In 1906, the town’s name was changed to Luna, from Namacpacan, but the town folks who became very attached to Our Lady of Namacpacan, kept her original name. By a special decree of Saint John XXIII, Our Lady of Namacpacan was canonically crowned on Nov. 24, 1959 (Novena to Our Lady of Namacpacan, The Blessed Virgin of the Immaculate Conception).
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Namacpacan we may yet discover our Filipino identity, as inspired by Jerrold Tarog’s masterpiece of a movie, “Heneral Luna.” Knowing our strengths and weaknesses, we may yet rise up as a nation to redeem ourselves and look to the future with renewed optimism to change for the better, for the sake of future generations. There is hope, starting with the coming elections, by choosing wisely the people who will lead us.
—CHING D. AUNARIO, email@example.com
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