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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Image of Nuestra Señora Virgen Del Pilar (San Simon)

The town of San Simon has its parish church under the Nuestra Senora Virgen Del Pilar. Although the town was named San Simon the titular patroness still differs. One will be curious of the fact that Bario Del Pilar had already existed (to some extent) even before the San Simon Town was established on November 15, 1771. It impose a question to people who digs the history of the town whether or not Mariano Del Pilar did really exist.

Facade of the current Parish
Virgen Del Pilar courtesy of Facebook
According to the heir of the Guevara Family (one of the founding families of San Simon) Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar’s antique image dates back even before the founding of San Simon. It was speculated that the Image was approximately 300+ years old. (Although one needs the aid of modern dating technology to prove the exact age of the image.) In a personal conversation between Pineda and Sally Guevara (caretaker of the image), Sally narrated that the image was brought by one priest who eventually became one of the parish priests. Reverend Father Juan Guevera. Sally Guevara further mentioned that the image was speculated to have originated from Spain before Father Guevara brought it to the town.

The monetary aspect of acquisition still remain in question as the Guevara Family does not know exactly how much the image was acquired.

Virgen Del Pilar on a regular day
A closer inspection of the image reveals that  the de bulto (movable parts) is wood while the heads and hands of Mary and the child she is carrying is allegedly made from Ivory. Unlike antique images in Indung Kapampangan, the image does not have any gold or valuable accessories except for the antique earings that She is wearing during the town fiesta. The gowns that the Guevara Family use to dress the image came from donations and sometimes from the Parish Pastoral Council. The family, currently, does not shed any amount in the gowns of the image. The image currently is still the original appearance. The image did not undergo the process of ‘encarna’ or the process of preserving and restoring the beauty of an image. Sally Guevara also mentioned that even the current parish priest of San Simon, Fr. Homer Policarpio, does not want the image to undergo the process of ‘encarna.’ They want to preserve the original appearance of the image. The same appearance when it was acquired 300+ years ago. The image is approximatelt 5’6’’ in height. 

During the personal conversation of Pineda and Guevara, Guevara mentioned that her grandfather, Teodolo Guevara, used to put the image near the window of their house everytime that there is heavy downpour of rain and the Pampanga river is almost overflowing. Guevara narrated that Teodolo would say, “Apung Pilar patuknangan iu na pu ing uran. Malunus kaiu keka mi. Ena sana lulbug.” (Apung Pilar make the rain stop. Have Mercy on us. Do not make our place be flooded.) After Teodolo uttered those words the rain would stop and the the barangays near the river banks will not overflow. This is one of the ‘graces’ of Nuestra Senora Del Pilar as narrated by the Guevara Family.

The image of Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar has constantly been invited by other Parishes in Indung Kapampangan. Last December 2013, the image was invited in San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor for the Marian Festival. As a token of gratitude, a gown for the image was given to the caretaker (L. Pineda & M. Guevara, Personal Communication, Apr 19, 2014).
NSDP Church 1974
Meanwhile in San Simon, the image is only being paraded regularly during its Feast Day, October 12. However last December 2014, Fr. Policarpio requested that the image be processioned on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This is a new tradition being pushed by the new parish priest.

In terms of conservation, the family Guevara will continue to protect and conserve the image as this is valuable and priceless heirloom to their family and to the people of San Simon. The Parish Pastoral Council continues to coordinate with the Guevara Family in this heritage of the town.
The Original House of Virgen Del Pilar

Currently, the image is housed behind the former house of Father Juan Guevara. Although the house of Fr. Juan Guevara was the original house of the image.

Nuestra Senora Virgen Del Pilar Facebook Fan Page
Views from the Pampang
AK 10 Research Paper J. Gregorio
L. Pineda & S. Guevara, Apr 2014, Personal Communication
L. Pineda & M. Guevara, Apr 2014, Personal Communication
L. Pineda & R. Guevara, Apr 2014, Personal Communication
Singsing (publication of JDP Center for Kapampangan Studies)

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