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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

Red Candles and Social Justice

The Santo Niño Candle House is a factory that primarily fulfils the candle needs of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, the home of the miraculous image of Senor Santo Niño (the Holy Child) at Cebu in the southern Philippines. The candle house materially sustains the religious piety of the devotees of the Holy Child in keeping their intentions burning with love and devotion.

The candle house is administered by the friars at Mohon in the Novitiate and Prayer House Community of the Order of Saint Augustine (O.S.A.). When in 1996 Fr Armando “Mandy” Dayao, OSA became Prior of the Novitiate Community and the master of the novices he devised a series of projects in order to give financial assistance to the Novitiate, including hog raising. He also noticed the continual need of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño Community for a supply of the devotees’ traditional “dagkot” candles for the “Señor,” and consulted the Sisters of the Siervas de Nuestra de Señora de la Paz in Tabunok, Talisay, whose apostolate is candle making.

The Augustinian Community of the Basilica gave fraternal encouragement and a financial loan to the Novitiate Community for buying candle-making equipment, and the candle house began in 1997. Members of the Novitiate Community were the pioneer workers in the candle house. Originally this venture was located just in front of the novitiate’s kitchen, and later was transferred at its present site near the entrance gate of the novitiate compound.

In less than a year the candle house generated enough income to cover its own operations and to contribute to novitiate funds. Soon afterwards the increasing demand for candles saw the candle house engage lay workers, and thus the candle house became one of the social apostolates of the Novitiate Community that provides employment for the underprivileged and deserving constituents of Brgy. Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu.

In 2004-2008 the candle house redefined its system of employment and management under the initiative of Fray Efren Obja-an, OSA. Each year a novice was also assigned to assist the management of the candle house together with the friar-in-charge. The candle house extended its apostolate by supporting poor and deserving students in their college education. The candle house sponsors the college tuition fees of the “working students” or “scholars”.

By March 2008 the candle house had twenty-five employees: nine full-time workers, ten part-timers, and six university scholars. In that year a new set of friars was assigned to the novitiate community, and Fr Dominador “Doming” Besares, OSA became the manager of the candle house, and still is its manager today. In 2010, a total building renovation was made. The ceiling was raised by five feet (1.50 metres) and exhaust fans and tubes were installed above the wax cooking area.

In 2014 the candle house expanded its range of products to include additional styles of candles, and no longer only produced the round small-marooned candles used in the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino. Whereas before 2014 the Basilica had been the only client of the candle house, the latter now also assists the neighboring parishes for their various candle needs.

Each year Villanova College, an Augustinian middle and senior school for boys at Coorparoo, Brisbane, Australia buys a red candle from Cebu for each of its 1,200 students and their families as part of its Mission Day and Social Justice Week. Villanova founded Australian-Filipino Augustinian Solidarity (AFAS) in 1992, and every alternate year a Villanova group of staff and student groups visit Augustinian ministries in the southern Philippines, and in 2015 this included the candle house at Mohon.

Read more about this on the Australian Augustinian website at the pages named “Red Candles” and “AFAS”. (Click on those words.)

The Candle house has a website: http://www.santoninocandlehouse.org

The website states the mission of the candle house in the following words: To provide quality and affordable candles inspired from a holistic approach through Augustinian and Christian values.

Dagkot na alang kang Senyor!!!







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