Category Archives: Anything Madrid

His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in Madrid

For the Filipinos who turned up in large numbers to attend the Sunday mass last April 3, 2016 at the Basilica Parroquia de la Medalla Misericordia, that mass was a special one – for a good number of reasons. First, it was celebrated in commemoration of the Feast of the Divine Mercy, to whom the Filipinos are known to openly express their great adoration, love, and devotion. Second, the text of the holy mass was in the Filipino language. Third, it was officiated by no less than His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, the charismatic religious head of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation in Asia.

The morning exhibited dark skies, and the air, while less than biting compared to that of the previous days, was cold just the same. Yet, it hardly did much to dampen the enthusiasm of the Filipino community that patiently waited at the church along Calle de Garcia de Paredes to see the cardinal. Finally, he arrived, and was evidently euphoric as he was greeted by the excited crowd. He was accompanied by the Philippine Ambassador to Madrid His Excellency Carlos C. Salinas, Mrs. Isabelita Salinas, and the officers and staff members of the embassy.

Like the splendid master of wit that he is, Cardinal Luis Tagle injected light jokes at intervals during the mass; and every time, it caused thunderous reverberations of chuckles and shouts to be sent all over the basilica. It was clear he intended his actions to ensure that his words got through. And he didn’t fail as it was apparent that he captured the full attention of his audience. Still, he was earnest and firm when it was necessary, like during moments when he spoke of the need to maintain the strong devotion and faith to the Catholic religion.

His Eminence urged the Filipinos to make the most of the opportunities given to them while in Spain. He advised them to determine ways on how they can contribute to the betterment of the world, and set goals that go beyond the desire to meet the needs of their families back home.  He challenged everyone to follow God’s teachings – to love, believe, forgive, and sacrifice – to the best that they can, while they continue with their hectic lives in Madrid.

Cardinal Tagle likewise acknowledged the Filipino workers as among the most praised and sought-after in the world, and a great source of pride of their country. In the end, he expressed his appreciation for the warm reception that the Philippine community in Madrid accorded to him.

imageBasilica Parroquia de la Medalla Milagrosa

imageCardinal Luis Tagle spends time to exchange pleasantries with Philippine Ambassador Carlos Salinas and Mrs. Isabelita Salinas, and the officials of the basilicaimage His Eminence Cardinal Tagle of Manila officiates the mass at La Parroquia de la Medalla Milagrosa. Concelebrants are Rdmo. Mons. Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid (left) and Mons. Santiago de Wit, Primer Consejero Nunciature Apostolica de la Sta Sede en Madrid

image Philippine Ambassador to Spain H.E. Carlos Salinas and Mrs. Isabelita Salinas stand before His Eminence Cardinal Luis Tagle as they participate at the Offertory

Easy Going Around the City Via Madrid Metro Rail System

Undoubtedly, Madrid Metro or (Metro de Madrid, in Spanish) is commuting at its finest. The convenience and ease of travel that this mass transit system at Spain’s capital city brings to people cannot be denied. I can’t see any flaw in the system. Trains arrive promptly, and there were even a few times when they come earlier than the announced time of arrival (flashed on a digital sign). Station names and arrow signs are located conspicuously within the Metro to guide commuters properly. There is evidence of sparse vandalism in a few cars and station walls and glass doors, but in general, the metro is clean.

imageTurnstiles to go in and out of the Metro. At the left of the photo is a machine where you have your abono de transporte activated for use for 30 days. The same machine disposes single or 10-journey billetes, which cost from 1.50 to 2.00 euro, depending on the length of your ride, and 12.20 euro for the 10-ride tickets. At right is a booth manned by Metro personnel that accept inquiries or extend assistance, like if your abono malfunctions (this happens to me at times).

Like most metro systems of other major cities in the world, Madrid Metro can be confusing especially for first-time riders. It took me more than a month before I could ride the train finally with confidence, with nary a fear that I’d be lost or take the wrong train or line. I consider myself now as an expert rider. Gone are the days when I would sometimes forget which platform to wait for the train and which way to exit.

Once I had the misfortune of misplacing my 10-ride ticket ( I have yet to apply for an abono then) while a random inspection was being done at the Alvarado Station along Bravo Murillo. Everyone had to fall in line and show their billete or abono card for scanning to verify if indeed they were valid. Rummaging through my pockets, I got two tickets, but I couldn’t determine the one I used for that ride. The Metro officer, who speaks English, asked why I presented two tickets, to which I replied that both are good anyway. “Bien,” she retorted, “otherwise you would have to pay a fine.” “Great Scott!,” I exclaimed to myself in silence, and prayed hard that there wouldn’t be any problem. Was I relieved when both indeed turned out valid.

Thankfully now, I own an abono that I can use for a full 30 days, day in and day out. Incidentally, you can apply for yours at a designated Metro office. There is one at Puerta del Sol, which surprisingly has a short line of applicants considering that it’s situated in a busy location. I got mine at Plaza de Castilla. The whole process took me around 15 minutes, including waiting time, which is no time at all since I was assigned a cita or appointment schedule via the Internet. Remember to bring along your passport or ID card for identification. Also, make sure to have 4 euro as payment for the corresponding fee. Once you receive your card, you may go to the machine to have it ready for use (this will cost you around 54 euro). Did you happen to lose your abono? Just report it at a Metro office and they will gladly replace your card with a new one.

imageEmpty escalators can be an ordinary sight at many stations in the city. If you want to experience busier stations, try those at Vodafone Sol, Moncloa, or Nuevos Ministerios, and be prepared to jostle and deal with tons of fellow passengers.

Needless to say, Madrid’s Metro is one of the most efficient and accessible subway train systems in the whole of Europe. You must love using the Metro regularly, if only for the ultimate riding satisfaction that it offers. While you’re at it, go and get your abono (if you don’t have one yet). It’s the essential tool that not only makes for a convenient Metro ride, but a lot cheaper one as well.