Chair of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica

I hope you liked my blog about the Baldachin inside the St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

In this blog I will feature a chair that was venerated and traditionally held to be the chair on which Peter sat as he instructed the faithful of Rome. It’s easy to miss. So much to see inside the basilica.

What some tourists don’t know is that you can walk past this massive structure, the Baldachin which will lead you to an altar, the Altar of the Chair of Peter. Above it is a masterpiece by the work of Bernini. The centerpiece is a chair called the Chair of St. Peter also known as The Throne of St. Peter in a background of glorious gold. There is no information about this piece. No brochures available to give tourists an idea of the significance of the chair. So, I did some research.

The chair is a relic, a chair made of acacia wood damaged by cuts and worms encased in oak. To give prominence to this ancient wooden chair, Bernini built a throne in gilded bronze, richly ornamented with bas-reliefs (raised carvings in sculptures) in which the chair was enclosed. On January 17, 1666 it was solemnly set above the altar.

Four gigantic statues (about 5 m. tall) in gilded bronze surround the Chair called the Doctors of the Church. The two outer statues are figures of two Doctors of the Latin Church: St. Ambrose and St. Augustine; the two inner statues, are of two Doctors of the Greek Church: St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom. These saints represent the catholicity of the Church and at the same time, the consistency of the theologians’ teaching with the doctrine of the Apostles. A brilliant dove stands out against a brilliant Bohemian glass, the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

The chair of Peter symbolizes the perpetual continuity of the Catholic doctrine and its promise of infallibility, victorious over all heresies throughout the centuries.

Now, I know.

Photo: Franciscan Media (My photo was not up to scale).

The Baldachin, St. Peter’s Basilica

Did you know that there are so many uses of the word Vatican? I needed enlightening so I did some research. The word Vatican can mean a city, the Holy See, Catholic church, library, museum or the Vatican basilica. Let me explain.
The Vatican City is a state within the city of Rome ruled by the Pope. Within Vatican City are St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.

St. Peter’s Basilica is the church in the Vatican City. As I enter the bronze decorated Holy Doors, I am dwarfed by the scale of everything in the building. The marble that I’m stepping on is beautiful. The entire structure reveals the vast wealth and power of the Catholic Church.

Inside the basilica are altars, chapels, sculptures in niches, including the famous Michaelangelo’s marble Pieta (the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus). But what peeked my interest is this huge, brown decoration in the center of the church. My research shows that this central feature is called a Baroque baldachin, or canopy over the Papal Altar, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is massive. It is a very large structure, made of bronze, decorated with leaves and bees and stands above the high altar where the Pope holds his Masses. Underneath the altar is the tomb of St. Peter which gives meaning to every Catholic in the world as it implies St. Peter’s holy presence and his legitimate successors officiating at the ceremonies.

Everything was grand, overwhelming and mind-blowing. The beauty of materials, the forms, shapes, colors and their function. The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described St. Peter’s as “an ornament of the earth … the sublime of the beautiful.”

Best In Show

This is a photo of my special dog Bear’s personality in the beaches of Ventura County in Los Angeles, Southern California with my children. It was summer and we went to the beach because my children wanted to surf and the beach was friendly to dogs. Bear loved my family but loved me more because I fed and cuddled with her. Kind, pleasant and gentle. She definitely loved water, but witnessing her in her element was scary because she was swimming too far away with my children. I yelled at my son to get her back to shore because she would keep swimming. Apparently they didn’t even notice she was behind them. She was now back with me – wet and tired.

I wondered what she was thinking … playing or saving. Sadly, she died 5 years ago from cancer. She brought joy to our souls.

Pee-Pee Boy


At a tea factory in Beijing, China

My husband and I attended a short demonstration of a tea ceremony in Beijing. We were shown a variety of teas – herbal, aged, medicinal or organic. The host spoke good English and was very professional in her grooming. Aside from sipping tea of different kinds she showed us a “tea pet” or Pee-Pee Boy that I’ve never seen or heard before. With a purchase of teas the Pee-Pee Boy was a freebie. In the US, it’s a free item with purchase.

A tea pet, also known as a tea lover’s pet, is a small clay figure which is kept by some tea drinkers for good luck. The most popular figure of the tea pet is the “Pee-Pee Boy”, which is used to judge whether the water is hot enough to make tea.

First submerge Pee-Pee Boy in hot water for a few minutes. Hold it carefully in the water so that air will come out. As soon as Pee-Pee Boy holds water, put it on a plate. You can now check if the temperature of your water is hot enough to make tea. Just pour hot water on Pee Pee Boy and he should pee. (The hot water you pour on PPB let’s the cold water expand and PPB pees.) I tried it and PPB peed and that meant a good hot brew of Puer tea.

I learned something new.

A Tribute to The Father of Pac-Man

TOKYO — Masaya Nakamura, the “Father of Pac-Man” who founded the Japanese video game company behind the hit creature-gobbling game, has died. He was 91. (CBS News January 30, 2017)

I was saddened when I heard the news. It reminded me of the best times in the 1980s and thru 1990s. I remember spending hours at the arcade playing Pac-Man at the Ali Mall, located at Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City in the Philippines. This game was non-violent but it raised my adrenaline so high that everytime I lost a life I would start over and over and over again aiming to finish levels. I never reached a level 5 when there are 256 levels. I also loved the sound the machine made when it swallowed my coins. Steering the Pac-Man through mazes on the hunt for ghostly creatures and the collection of fruits was giving me Pac-Man fever. Now, in the United States, each time I passed by an arcade whether at theme parks or at pizza joints I was like an infrared seeking missile honing on that arcade game. It was my personal game.

Game Play:
Pac dots Pac-Man Power Pellets Four enemies or monsters or ghosts: (Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde) Fruit

Liberal Behavior

My daughter is an athlete. She played basketball in high school starting in her Freshman to Senior year. Running is her hobby. She has joined marathons sponsored by Revlon Run/Walk for Women benefitting cancer charities and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco standing up for diversity.
By herself she made arrangements to book an apartment/home using Airbnb for short term lodging at the time when the company was still on the verge of getting legalized in various cities. She flew in and out. Just like that. I pray for her safety.

Kitty Penny

I like cats but not as much compared to dogs. With dogs the love is intense and I get an immediate emotional gratification. My daughter has a cat and she is adorable and loves to cuddle but not with me. I love the furriness of a cat but in my experience they hide and I do most of the wooing.

Cats love to lay on the arms and back of couches. They even walk nimbly on the back of the couch as if crossing a bridge. I’ve talked about my Pup-pup Penny in one of my blogs (My Pup-pups). She is an oversized dachshund. Penny also loves to lay on the arms of the sofa. As I sit watching Netflix I feel a draft behind my neck and it’s Penny walking on the back of the couch and then laying her head on my head. She is like a kitty, that’s why I call her Kitty Penny. She has heart and it’s organic. It’s sad that they don’t live forever.