Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Batanes : Mount Carmel Chapel

The Chapel Upon the Hill

A simple thing of knotted pine
 And corrugated tin;
But still, to those who read, a sign,
A fortress on the farthest line
 Against the march of sin.

Though rich man's gold was lacking quite,
 We built it strong and sure,
With willing hands and (Faith's delight)
The savings spared, the widow's mite,
 The shillings of the poor.

Nor could it fail to meet the eye
 And reverent thoughts instil,
As there above the township high,
And pointing always to the sky,
 It stood upon the hill.

And through our lives in wondrous ways
 Its holy purpose led
From limpid lisping cradle-days
To where the silent moonlight lays
 White hands upon the dead.

For when the Holy Morning strung
 Its beads upon the grass,
You'd see us driving-old and young-
The tall white graceful trees among.
 On every road to Mass.

It brought the brave young mother there,
 Surrounded by her brood,
To wrap their tiny hearts in prayer,
And teach them how to cast their care
 Upon the Holy Rood.

It watched the little bush girl grow,
 And kept her life from harm,
Till, spotless as the virgin snow
In wreath and veil, it saw her go
 Upon her husband's arm.

It blessed strong, trembling shoulders bent:
 Helped many a soul in thrall
To climb again the steep ascent,
And reft the grim entanglement
 That brought about the fall.

It soothed the gray old mother's pain,
 A-swaying while she told
Her rosary o’er and o'er again
For griefs that rent her heart in twain-
 So new, and ah, so old!

(There's "that poor boy who went astray,"
 And lined her gentle brow;
There's "them that's wand'rin' fur away,"
And "them that's in their grave to-day"
 And “beck'nin’” to her now.)

Refuge it gave the weary heart,
 Beyond the sordid din
And conflict of the crowded mart,
One sweet, sequestered nook apart,
 Where all might enter in.

Though high and grand cathedrals shine,
 To my mind grander still
Is that wee church of knotted pine,
That rampart on the outer line
 That stood upon the hill.

 Poem by John O'Brien


  1. Such a beautiful capture, Oman, and the perfect poem to accompany it!! A lovely way to start my day! Thank you! Hope your week is going well!

    1. Thanks Sylvia, this is one of the best scenic chapel I have seen.

  2. The facade of the church is very interesting and unusual to me. Seems like a great place to be in.

    Mersad Donko Photography

    1. Hi Mersad. Batanes is known for houses made up of stone so they built this modern chapel also with stone.

  3. beautiful church and a lovely poem.

    1. Thanks Photo. I was glad there was a poem that perfectly describes the place so I deemed it proper to omit my own texts in this post.

  4. Such a lovely poem. I like reading 'em. I've had the chance to get to know this church during one of the episodes of KrisTV as she had the luxury to tour around Batanes with Pokey (Pokwang) including this age-old religious masterpiece.

    I like the idea of visiting churches as it brings me a sense of calmness and solitude. That solitary moment praying inside while realizing you're in a faraway land that is still in the very best of nature is just a nice feeling.

    1. Hi Jay, was not able to watch it in Kris TV but knowing how Kris reacts to pretty things, I bet she loved this place. And Pokwang? I bet she posed everywhere to the point of being sacrilegious lol

  5. Oh my, will someone marry me there or at least propose to me there hihihi.