December 7, 2022

In pre-pandemic times, it was coffee everyday at Star Cafe with Doc Willy, Edgar Chan, Kitz Ang, Karl Gabaen, and once in a while with then ABS-CBN’s Dhobie de Guzman.
One time, we were joined by Ray Olarte, then a peon and now the chief Apache. Among others, his vision for serving his community was outstanding and the same was a mutual attraction to our group, but that is getting ahead of the story.
Engineer’s Hill and its adjoining barangays DPS, Cabinet Hill, and PNR is home to Baguio old timers, The scouters of Our Lady of Lourdes Church manang Sion and Jun Castro, manang Belen and his brother Dante de la Pena whose father operated an AC jeep, my insans at the Ilustre family, of course with our relatives at PNR and uncle Sonny San Pedro at DPS Compound. The talipapa section at Engineer’s Hill is a smorgasbord of food, inihaw and other specialties, and Ray Costa has his own version of ChiQuenn.
The seniors and religious are aplenty at Engineer’s Hill, thus they had a prayer group, initially gathering at a grotto where they prayed the rosary every May and October. During fiestas and special occasions, the holy mass was celebrated at the basketball court, although the noise from the traffic or blaring music from nearby most often than not muffled the homily, much more the entire mass.
In October 2021, a structure at the south side of the covered court was erected.
Punong Barangay Amado Felizardo and kagawad Rey de Leon offered the lower structure as a chapel, and Ray with her Dr. Annie went to action, encouraged and inspired by the prayer group. He used his own resources and tapped his friends from the Baguio Apaches – Emmet Manantan, Del Claravall, Sonny San Pedro, and squaw Bernie Avila. There too were Betty Ramirez, Fe Magalong, and Jackie Serafino. The families of the Marasigan, Caraig, Rimando, Cortes, Alex, and Mila Alabanza, and of course Olarte were likewise tapped.
A month and a half thereafter, the walls were erected, tiles laid, and lo and behold, a chapel came to fore.
The labor of love culminated with the installation of the Divine Mercy portrait at the altar, hence the name.
I can only guess why the chapel was named as such but surely in this time of pandemic and death, we all need a Supreme Being to give us mercy and grace to lighten our load. And for us sinners, prayers to the Divine Mercy would be our last hope of salvation and we may still receive infinite mercy.
In time for the holidays, the chapel was blessed on the 4th of December and commenced serving the flock.
The 3 o’ clock Divine Mercy prayer became a regular and the Misa de Gallo completed. The young and the young-once have formed a choir for prayers and songs.
In God’s time, they trust and pray that a regular Sunday mass will be heard for this community house of worship.
Sigh.