Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
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Friday, April 27, 2012


(Notice the little niches and steps carved into the rock?)


View of the hill from the main road


Atop the verdant hilly range at Canca near Mapusa in Bardez, Goa, rests a massive rock. Upon this legendary rock sits a Holy Cross that was constructed in the early part of the 20th century. It is clearly visible on the left, towards the north from the main road, as one travels from the village of Canca to the town of Mapusa.

My earliest memories of climbing this hill to visit this site go back to when I was about 10 years of age. In those days, coinciding with the commemoration of the feast of the Holy Cross on the 3rd of May, some folks of households of our village at Guirim, Cumbiem Morod dedicated a litany and other prayers at this Cross. It was also a time when folks working abroad returned on vacations to the village. The litany was held in the late afternoon so that they could return home before night fall. A group of villagers - men, women and children - got together and formed a bee-line, walking a distance of about a mile and a half to the crest of the hill.

Folk legend has it that this rock has kept on growing over the years, while another legend has it that the Cross faces the constellation of the Southern Cross at true south. Notice the stars painted in blue on the two pillars that support the arch over the Cross, perhaps bearing some truth to this legend. For some reason, unknown to me at the moment, the stars are placed differently from each other - one of them being inverted. This may have been done knowingly or unknowingly by the original or later designer.

Before commencing the prayers, young boys vied for a special privilige to climb up to the Cross on the rock to light up the candles under the watchful eye of elders. Recesses that are chiselled into the rock served a dual purpose. One was to place one's feet in as one climbs up and descends, while the others served as recesses to light candles and shelter them from being blown out by the breeze.

Everyone sat on the ground after the litany as snacks were served. By nightfall everyone returned home - tired from a sort of expedition, picnic, prayer mission, experience and fun, all at the same time.  

On the 25th of March 2005, during a vacation to Goa, my wife and I hit the trail on foot to the top of the hill. For me it was just for old's time's sake, while for my wife it was a first visit to the peak. Though it was a long and arduous trek, it was quite apt considering that the day happened to be a 'Good Friday'.

Photos by Tony Fernandes

View location of this Cross
in Panoramio/Google Maps
by TonFerns



Thursday, April 26, 2012


Shawn Evans and Dahlia Fernandes have lot of fans who admire their talent and their genre of music. They draw crowds from the young to the old, wherever they play. And last night was no exception when they took the stage at The Free Times Cafe in Toronto.  The popular downtown café, known for supporting talented artists, was filled with the soulful sounds of their unique artistry.

Shawn sang the first set, rendering his touching compositions on his guitar. He always wins the crowd over with his signature scatting and moving lyrics . He welcomed the talented Marco De La Cruz, who added the groovy bass to Shawn’s original track ‘Better Because of You’. It was great to see that the crowd felt just as I did – inspired and happy especially to his two big hits 'Monkey Boy' and 'Song for Her'.

Dahlia Fernandes took over the second set with her usual suave voice, singing her own old and new compositions, and also her previously released hit song on her debut video release 'Tomorrow Tonight'. The vocal depth and lyrical beauty of Dahlia’s music was brought to life by Shawn Evans, who accompanied her on the rhythm guitar with some staggering array of guitar chord changes, and Marco De La Cruz ‘s artistic vibe on his one-of-a-kind 4-string electric upright bass.

During the entire evening, both Shawn and Dahlia, provided their fans with their usual cool and infectious humour as they shared the meaning and expression of their compositions - as well as adding some new  arrangement, delivery and colour to the cover versions of popular songs.

TNS - Tonferns News Service
Mississauga. ON

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SECOND IN LINE - SECOND SET - Dahlia sings with the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble in Toronto

'A singer of the future 
with songs and music of the past'
(in the words of the presenter)

Dahlia sang with the

Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble

at its concert held on 21 April, 2012

at United Church on 300 Bloor Street West, Toronto.

The songs that Dahlia sang were huge hits
 and rank among the great timeless classics of yesteryear.

 One was 'You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You'. This was a popular song written by Russ Morgan, Larry Stock, and James Cavanaugh and published in 1944. The song was first recorded by Morgan and has been covered by numerous artists. It is best known in versions by Dean Martin, who recorded it for Reprise Records in 1965 and reached #24 on the US pop chart and #1 on the easy listening chart, and by The Mills Brothers. It was the B-side to Frankie Vaughan's hit single "There Must Be a Way", which broke into the UK top ten.

The second was "Taking a Chance on Love", another very popular song by Vernon Duke with lyrics by John Latouche and Ted Fetter, published in 1940, which has become a standard, recorded by many artists. It was introduced in the 1940 show Cabin in the Sky, a ground-breaking Broadway musical with an all black cast, where it was performed by Ethel Waters and Dooley Wilson. The re-released Benny Goodman version featuring Helen Forrest reached #1 in 1943.  ~ Wikipedia

Monday, April 23, 2012


God will be beside you to listen as you pray,

 and He is sure to bless you on your special day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Parliament Building

A view of Parliament Buildings from the Congress Centre,
In the foreground is the Rideau Canal, along Colonel By Drive

Monday, April 16, 2012


St. Philomena



'The Chapel on the Hill'
Verla, Canca, Parra, Bardez, Goa. India

It happened to be a chance visit to the sacristy of the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary at Verla, Bardez, Goa, on a Sunday in early March 2012, to greet and meet some friends after the early morning Mass. There on the vestment cabinet I noticed for the first time in more than 50 years a statue of St. Philomena. In all probability there must have been a time when this statue was assigned a significant and prominent place on one of the altars in the main chapel, for veneration by the faithful. However, my consolation was to see this statue in the vestry. I was also glad that it was not removed from the chapel altogether.

It is during the reign of Pope Paul VI, (26 September 1897 – 6 August 1978) that this popular saint was removed from the liturgical calendar, and the Holy See ordered that the name of Saint Philomena be removed from all liturgical calendars that mentioned her. The apparent reason for this annulment and removal of statues and images from churches and chapels was the lack of historical documentation regarding the life of Philomena, though one is still free to believe in the saint and in her saintly life.

As a young lad, I remember we had a framed picture of about 10" x15" of St. Philomena among the 6 or 7 other holy pictures (Konkani: painolam, pl.; painol, sing.) hanging on the wall around the ‘olontor’* in our old house in Guirim, Cumbiem Morod.

I remember my mother appeared very sad on hearing this order, but left the picture on the wall untouched till our old house was demolished in the late 1980’s.

Saint Philomena

Venerated as a virgin martyr saint of the Catholic Church, she is said to have been a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century. Her veneration began in the early 19th century after the archaeological discovery in the Catacombs of Priscilla of the bones of a young woman, which were interpreted as those of a martyr. Nothing else was known about her, but an inscription found at the tomb was taken to indicate that her name was (in the Latin of the inscription) Filumena; corresponding to the English name Philomena. The day of her feast is August 11, and she is a patron of Babies, Infants and Youth. Among the symbols representing her martyrdom are two anchors, three arrows, a palm and a lily.

Read more about St. Philomena:

St. Christopher

While on the topic of saints, another annulment made during the reign of Pope Paul VI comes to mind. After being venerated for generations as a patron saint of travellers, St. Christopher was removed from the Catholic Liturgical Calendar in 1969 and annulled as a saint in a reform. The day of the feast of St. Christopher is July 25. Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, Christopher was listed as a martyr who died under Decius. Nothing else is known about him. There are several legends about him including the well-known one in which he was crossing a river when a child asked to be carried across. When Christopher put the child on his shoulders he found the child was unbelievably heavy. The child, according to the legend, was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world. This was what made Christopher patron saint of travelers and is invoked against storms, plagues, etc.

Read more about St. Christopher

Saint or no saint, an age-old medal and a picture has adorned the dash-boards of the cars that I owned and drove in my life.

It may be interesting to note that in November 1964, Pope Paul VI visited India on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress, held in Mumbai, then known as Bombay. I only wish that two Goans were made saints, namely Fr. Agnel and Blessed Joseph Vaz, instead of bringing the above-mentioned two down.

*An 'olontor', an elegantly adorned niche in the wall for a crucifix and statues of a household's favourite saints! is a must in every home in the olden days. The word is derived from the Konkani word, 'Ollont' - wall and 'tor' - tower, reminiscent of a mini chapel tower.

A final and a interesting point to note is that one possible reason that the statues in the picture above have survived from theft is because they are made from plaster. My friends brought to my attention that these two statues have plaster chipped on the head. I believe that chances are a statue having plaster missing indicates that theft has been attempted; and that the thief is primarily interested mainly in carved wooden, ivory or metal statues of value. Hence he checks the statue to ascertain this by trying to chip a piece off the antique statues. Both the statues in the pictures above that have survived theft, are damaged by thieves in their ruthless misadventure.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


How to maintain equilibrium and have breakfast at the same time.

Photo by
For an enlarged view please click on the picture.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


File Pictures of our visit
to the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax,
Nova Scotia, in August 2003.

Trip to the Maritimes made possible by kind courtesy of our children - Denise, Denzil & Dahlia.

Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a Canadian cemetery that is perhaps best known as the final resting place for over one hundred victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Officially known as Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the non-denominational cemetery is run by the Parks Department of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic occurred on the night of 14 April through to the morning of 15 April 1912 in the north Atlantic Ocean, four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. The largest passenger liner in service at the time,Titanic had an estimated 2,224 people on board when she struck an iceberg at 23:40 (ship's time[a]) on Sunday 14 April 1912. She sank two hours and forty minutes later at 02:20 on Monday 15 April (05:18 GMT), causing the deaths of over 1,500 people, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
Titanic had received several warnings of sea ice during 14 April but was travelling near her maximum speed when she collided with the iceberg. The ship suffered a glancing blow that buckled her starboard (right) side and opened five of her sixteen compartments to the sea. Titanic had been designed to stay afloat with four flooded compartments but not five, and the crew soon realised that the ship was going to sink. They used rocket flares and radio (“wireless”) messages to attract help as the passengers were put into lifeboats. However, there were far too few lifeboats available and many were not filled to their capacity due to a poorly managed evacuation, confusion and panic.

The ship broke up as she sank with over a thousand passengers and crew members still aboard. Almost all those who jumped or fell into the water died from hypothermia within minutes. RMS Carpathia arrived on the scene about an hour and a half after the sinking and had rescued the last of the survivors in the lifeboats by 09:15 on 15 April, little more than 24 hours after Titanic's crew had received their first warnings of drifting ice. The disaster caused widespread public outrage over the lack of lifeboats, lax shipping regulations and the unequal treatment of the different passenger classes aboard the ship. Enquiries set up in the wake of the disaster recommended sweeping changes to maritime regulations. This led in 1914 to the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia, connection

One hundred years ago, on April 10 1912, the Titanic left on her maiden voyage with over 2200 passengers and crew members aboard. Four days later she struck an iceberg south of Newfoundland. She sank in 2 hours 40 minutes. Just over 700 survivors were rescued by the Carpathia and taken to New York. The White Star Line which had offices located on Hollis Street in Halifax commissioned four Canadian vessels to look for bodies in the area of the disaster. Two of these vessels the MacKay-Bennett and the Minia were cable ships based in Halifax. The four ships were able to recover 328 Titanic victims. Many were buried at sea, but 209 victims bodies were brought to Halifax, the closest major port to the area of the sinking. All of the victims thought to be Protestant were buried at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Over the years, many many relatives, friends and visitors have come to honour the memory of the Titanic victims buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery.

An excerpt taken from the inscription on the plaque shown above, placed at the grave site, reads as follows:

Why do the gravestones have the inscription: Died April 15, 1912. The 'Titanic' sank at 2.20 am on April 15, 1912. (She struck an iceberg at 23:40 pm April 14). Given the freezing temperatures, it was believed that most of the victims died of exposure soon after the sinking.

What does the number on the gravestones represent: The bodies of all 'Titanic' victims buried at Halifax were recovered at sea near the area of the sinking. The number on the gravestone is the number assigned when the body was found. James McGrady, victim 330 was the last victim found. His body was recovered by the 'Algerine' in mid-May 1912.

Though it's been a huge tragedy and remembered for the loss of life, the 'Titanic' has fascinated millions of people around the world for a century, admired for its size, glamour and sheer grandeur.

When I was a young lad of nine years or so in school, I remember up to this day our class teacher telling us about the the 'Titanic', and whenever I heard 'Nearer my God to Thee' I somehow still cannot but help reminiscing about this great ship. Apparently, the resident violinist on board the ship continued playing the tune as the ship went down, as it has also immortalized in the film 'Titanic', along with the great spirit of gallantry, heroism and bravery of the crew, risking their own lives so that others, especially women and children, may live.

Tony & Edna Fernandes

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Please press 'Play', select Full Screen
and turn up the volume.

Goodnight My Angel
(sung by Billy Joel)
Goodnight my angel, time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
Then you should always know
Wherever you may go, no matter where you are
I never will be far away

 Goodnight my angel, now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep, inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight my angel, now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That's how you and I will be.

The Parliament Buildings - Ottawa

The Parliament Buildings
(View from the Congress Centre)
Colonel By Drive

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


 Once upon a time God created a beautiful land 

and chose to name it 'Goa',
 and thereafter in His own namesake likeness,

  removed the letter 'd' and replaced it with the letter 'a' - 
the first letter of the alphabet, called it GOA. 

Then, the Russians came, ...and they along with the Israelis,

  Delhi-ites and Gujju Babus, the lamanis and the

 Kashmiri carpetbaggers, show no signs of


Even the menu cards and signs are now in Russian.

Monday, April 02, 2012