Pinoyspotting: Seeing Pinoys in a Holy Site, But of Course

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 The Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous at the Grotto of Massabielle in 1858. (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

The Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous at the Grotto of Massabielle in 1858. (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

The culmination of my visit at the Sanctuarie de Notre Dame de Lourdes in Lourdes, France, was at the piscine (swimming pool). I was immersed in water that flows from a spring in the Grotto of Massabielle. The spring was located when Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on February 25, 1958. Although the water was cold, it was a spiritual experience enhanced by volunteers’ prayers recited before and after my immersion.
 Anna Gonzalez and Madelynn Gonzalez (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Anna Gonzalez and Madelynn Gonzalez (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

I was walking when I bumped into Anna Gonzalez and her daughter, Madelynn. They were volunteering at the Sanctuarie de Notre Dame de Lourdes. Anna is a nurse and they reside in New Braunfels, Texas.

 Charly Rousset and Gina Lat Rousset (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Charly Rousset and Gina Lat Rousset (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Charly Rousset and Gina Lat Rousset (Bay, Laguna) own Asian Delices Food. The sign at the door says: Gina vous accueille et vous presente sa cuisine des Philippines. Tout est fait maison. (Gina welcomes you to try her Filipino food. Everything is cooked fresh in her kitchen.)

 Liz Marasigan Fishburn, Christopher Duñes, and Limda Harley (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Liz Marasigan Fishburn, Christopher Duñes, and Limda Harley (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

I was at Asian Delices Food, when Liz Marasigan Fishburn (Malolos, Bulacan), Christopher Duñes and Linda Harley came in to order takeaway. They live in Orlando, Florida.

 Sisters Angie, Arabella, Rona, Venancia and Zenaida (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Sisters Angie, Arabella, Rona, Venancia and Zenaida (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

I enjoyed the company of God’s friends: Sisters Angie, Arabella, Rona, Venanci, and Zenaida. Based in Rome, Italy, they are members of the Servants of the Lord or SSV.

 Deosol Miguel Almazan (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Deosol Miguel Almazan (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Deosol Miguel Almazan (Quezon City) was one of the volunteers who assisted me when I was immersed in the piscine at the Sanctuarie de Notre Dame de Lourdes. He is a chef in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

 Aisline Escanilla and Norlien Escanilla (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Aisline Escanilla and Norlien Escanilla (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

When I came out of the building of the piscine, I met Madrid-born and Spanish-speaking sisters Aisline and Norlien Escanilla. Aisline is fluent in Tagalog.

 Edna Aguelo Ballesteros and Mary Ocio (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Edna Aguelo Ballesteros and Mary Ocio (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Friends Edna Aguelo Ballesteros (Carmen, Bohol) and Mary Ocio (Tagbilaran, Bohol) had a reunion in Lourdes, France, after 45 years.

 Mary Grace Dadula Carpio and Jessamine Madayag Dadula (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Mary Grace Dadula Carpio and Jessamine Madayag Dadula (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Sisters-in-law Mary Grace Dadula Carpio (Cebu City, Cebu) and Jessamine Madayag Dadula (Carmen, Bohol) were visiting from Nice, France.

 Rosario Padlan Rullamas and Grace Adan (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Rosario Padlan Rullamas and Grace Adan (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Rosario Padlan Rullamas and Grace Adan were visiting from London, England. They are originally from Mangatarem, Pangasinan.

 Mayette Tolibas and Amy Sales(Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Mayette Tolibas and Amy Sales(Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Mayette Tolibas (Macrohon, South Leyte) and Amy Sales (Batangas City, Batangas) were visiting from Paris, France and Maine, U.S.A., respectively.

 Omar Hidalgo (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Omar Hidalgo (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

I “Pinoyheard” Omar Hidalgo (Marikina City) talking to his cell phone. Based in the Lourdes area, he was on his way to meet Pinoy friends from Paris, France.

 Ronnie Perez and Dolly Engracia Perez (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

Ronnie Perez and Dolly Engracia Perez (Photo by Rey E. de la Cruz. Photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro)

I met fellow Chicagoans: Ronnie Perez (Pinamalaya, Oriental Mindoro) and Dolly Engracia Perez (Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat.) Working in home health, they live in Lincolnwood, Illinois.

 Romnick Lumabi, Imelda Orizal Lumabi, Angelina Flores Leal, and Hazel Puyao Lumabi.

Romnick Lumabi, Imelda Orizal Lumabi, Angelina Flores Leal, and Hazel Puyao Lumabi.

I felt blessed to have spoken Ilocano with the following in a holy place like Lourdes: Romnick Lumabi (Quirino, Isabela), Imelda Orizal Lumabi (Mallig, Isabela), Angelina Flores Leal (Mallig, Isabela), and Hazel Puyao Lumabi (Quirino, Isabela). Imelda is based in Paris, France, whereas Romnick (her son), Angelina (her friend) and Hazel (her daughter-in-law) were visiting from the Philippines.)


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Rey E. de la Cruz, Ed.D., Positively Filipino correspondent, writes from Chicagoland when he is not loving the arts and traveling. He is the author of the children’s book, Ballesteros on My Mind: My Hometown in the Philippines, which also has Ilocano, Spanish, and Tagalog versions.


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