Back in 2009, a representative of Singapore Philatelic Museum contacted me and asked if they can put on exhibit a photo of simbang gabi that I posted on Flickr. The photo, which is shown below, was the 2008 Christmas Eve mass in Saint Joseph parish church.
The Singapore exhibit was titled “Fiesta! Fiesta! Fiesta!” It included several festivals in the country including Sinulog, Ati-atihan, Pahiyas and Christmas. Baras church was in the section “Misa de Gallo.” It had the following caption: “To many Filipinos, Christmas is defined by Misa de Gallo which means ‘Rooster’s Mass’ in Spanish or Simbang Gabi which means ‘Night Mass’ in Filipino. To show their devotion, Filipinos wake at the crack of dawn and make their way to church for mass. This practice is prevalent in Spanish-speaking countries but only in the Philippines does it last for nine consecutive days before Christmas. In some churches, Misa de Gallo beings as early as four o’clock in the morning. After the mass, churchgoers enjoy a variety of traditional snacks sold by vendors outside the church. They savour steaming rice cakes such as bibingka and puto bumbong, while sipping tsokolate (hot cocoa) and salabat (ginger tea).”
The Baras photo was the only photograph in Misa de Gallo section.
The panorama photo was taken on a Nikon camera, in 16 multiple shots. It was stitched through Adobe Photoshop. To minimize the movement of churchgoers, the photo was taken during the singing of Our Father.