Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish -
The Church that faith and Love Built
>Pure of heart, strong in faith and meek in spirit…. The folks of Pulong Buhangin were the chosen people of God, chosen to propagate the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel.
Ancient history is that the Christian hermits who fled from the pursuit of Mohamedans gathered themselves in Mt. Carmel and established there a monastery, the first church built in honor of the Blessed Virgin. The bible cites Mt. Carmel where prophet Elias prayed for rains to end the drought in the land. Thick cloud hovered over the mountain and soon enough heavy rains poured. That mass of cloud symbolized the Virgin as gracious given of rains, abundance and blessings.
Faith can move mountains, but in the case of the folks of Pulong Buhangin, out of mere faith they put up a semblance of that mountain - Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish or the Nuestra Señora Del Carmen.
Through the devoted zeal of San Simon Stock, leader of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel in 1247, the homage to the Virgin spread far and wide. The Virgin appeared before San Simon and handed him the brown garments and scapulars leaving a vow that whoever dies wearing the vestments will be graded with eternal salvation. In the Philippines, the Recollectos priests brought the statue of Blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel in San Sebastian Church (circa 1630), the first haven of out Lady of Mt. Carmel in the country.
The written legend told of beggarly woman who pleaded to old man Kunino to build a chapel which the barrio had noted. As if fate had made connection that San Simon's namesake, a certain Tandang Simon and Wife Tandang Simeona helped Kunino gathered resources to have the chapel erected in a week's time in front of front of a dapdap tree by the riverside.
Again on the request of the beggar, Kunino asked for a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from the Parish Priest of San Sebastian . After fasting and praying in a dark cell for nine days, Kunino brought the statue in Pulong Buhangin on February 9, Monday, in 1655 or 349 years ago. Shortly then, an old man begged assistance from Tandang Honorio and Tandang Anton of Sta. Maria for A statue San Sebastian.
And so the people of Pulong Buhangin came to celebrate one Feast Day for the Virgin of Mt. Carmel and San Sebastian.
And since then, many were the miracles that were believed to have occurred on the intercession of Our Lady of MT. Carmel.
No less than the most Rev. Archbishop of Manila, Miguel O'Doherty, D.D. formally proclaimed the establishment of the Parish of Nuestra Sra. Del Carmel on March 23, 1941. on September 16, 1941, Rev. Fr. Jose B. Aguinaldo was relieved as coadjutor of the Sta. Maria parish to become the first Parish priest of Nuestra Sra. Del Carmen.
Improvements were introduced to the barrio parish and donations in all forms poured in like rainfall of blessing-altar for Mrs. Escolastisca Vda. De Ocampo, big crucifix and statue of St. John the Evangelist from Don Juan Gabagat, image of Sacred Heart and image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal from Mr. Raymundo Eugenio, a big tell from Mr. Joaquin Santos.
The generosity of their hearts was more deeply felt during the construction of the present Parish to accommodate more parishioners. On June 11, 1956 a lot of measuring 2,017 squared meters was bought from Mr. Juan del Rosario who was given the old church site a partial payment. His Eminence Rufino Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila gave Php 28,973.00 while the folks of Pulong Buhangin helped raise funds through raffle draws and contest.
The labor of love and faith began with the initial construction of the Church on June 12, 1957. The laborers asked to be paid five work days only and donated their sixth working day. The convent house and parochial house were built. After Christmas of 1958, the Archbishop of Manila, Rufino Cardinal Santos blessed the new church.
With the purchase of additional lot to the left of the church from Mr. Felino Gatchalian, the left Glorietta was constructed in 1965 and in 1966 the Glorietta to be right and the bell tower were erected.
More constructions followed suit; multipurpose Parish Hall in 1975, pedestal and grotto in 1976, the marble work at the main altar in 1980 and that of the church flooring in 1981. Parish Convent was completed in 1995 after the purchase of the additional 1,214 square-meter lot Mr. Felimon G. Del Rosario also donated a portion of this lot for the church.