The Legends Rising



At a precious age of ninety-three, Irene is coming up as a storyteller of her life and things in between. Can she sustain the interest of readers old and young? Will she be able to relate to the culture of where she was and where we are now? Will she be able to emote the feelings of excitement as she had experienced them? Nobody can tell it better how to learn, discover, enjoy, and live a God-centered life as Irene. Like a movie, I can let her story flow into an interesting craft for the imagination. I wanted her to be actively involved so, we came up with a narration in the first person. May we be able to recreate the scenes in her words, so you can travel with her back in time and enjoy the ride. I can still see her face as I hear her giggle like a child as she recalls the moments she treasures. I do not see a perfect Irene, but I know why, from the perspectives of culture, age, spirituality, and psychology, because I am a nurse. I know where she is coming from.


I am very happy to celebrate with you, Irene. I am fortunate to have known you who have shown me how to nurture Faith and believe. I only know you for a short while, but it is as if I have known you forever. I will never be a match to you, but I learned. Our personalities meet somewhat; I know when there is a single strand of hair in my face, while you know the feel of water that has reached a boiling point. There is an interface and joint storytelling between you and me, as an active synchronized trend of thoughts flowing between our minds.


We read the book for the first time as a community, to test and create a perfect book, in the first place, it is about legends, how else can it stand through generations to come? 


Myrna D. Santos



My warmest greetings to this wonderful community of God and Love. 


This book presents the legend of Felix Ysagun Manalo as narrated and seen by Irene Moraga Lumbrera based on her personal and firsthand experiences with him, and who will become her ultimate teacher and pastor. The credible and genuine narratives from Irene as one of the oldest members of Iglesia add vital testimony to a historic philosophy that is the Iglesia and the prime witness to the character that is Ka Felix, the “Sugo", God’s Messenger in These Last Days. This is a tribute and salute to a man whose vision and wisdom brought to build Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) that has gone global unto this day and has empowered the rising of legends through generations. 


The book also presents the beautiful, fairytale-like story of Irene, whose faith in God is as tall as the highest mountain peak. Irene became a self-made millionaire at age twenty-six when the Philippines was just recovering from the scars of war. She came to the United States and was amazingly blessed with more good fortune and returned home to the Philippines thirty some years later, only to become homeless again at eighty-eight when she found out that her home and properties were no longer hers. Returning to America, Irene rises back at eighty-nine when the Philippine Community Center Services for Aging (PCCSA) adopted her and placed her on its Home Living Program, where she has regained her basic human right to a home and shelter. Irene is now dreaming of a happy ending for herself and her community, and willing to work hard to build another dream to complete her earthly mission, becoming stronger in her faith as ever, like the rock of all faith and churches. 


This book proudly presents a handful of stories of great men and women who have lived lives that made an impact not only in their times but the years and generations ahead. We salute them for who they were and the things they have done that had influenced the hearts and mind of the people and the community. This is just the beginning of a great story to be told on The Legends Rising. It is mission-inspired, a quest, a destiny whispered by God into the ears of a feeble but clear-minded nonagenarian. Equipped with a company of wise men and women, an orchestra led by Irene herself, a deaconess, an apostle to share God’s love and blessing, chosen by God, the ultimate Rainmaker, to claim His Glory and Power, thereby proving that "With God, there is nothing impossible." Ever trusting, never losing hope that His Will be done, Irene’s faith has earned her heaven on earth. May you all enjoy reading this book of history, success, lessons learned, miracles, reality, fantasy and more as it happened in the span of almost a century in the life of Irene, “The Woman of All Seasons”.     


I have never been so obsessed with an endeavor as writing this book. Every time I tried to close the final manuscript, she keeps telling me bits and pieces of stories she never told me before. I have seen its worth and value, not only for Irene’s legacy, but my own. My greatest challenge in writing this book is the creativity in formatting a free style that can fit Irene’s memoir nicely.  May I be able to find the right words to deliver her story for you, her friends, and the future generations. This book shows how Legends Rise and promises more to come.  


Myrna D. Santos





The Legend of Felix Ysagun Manalo


  1. Iglesia ni Cristo: A Historic Philosophy
  2. Engineering God’s Plan
  3. The Meeting: Ka Felix & Me
  4. The Church of Christ: Walking Through its Ladder

II The Legend of Irene Moraga Lumbrera

     Once upon a time, ninety years later

  1. Princess of the East: A Fairy Tale     
  2. My Roots: The Legend of Moraga
  3. What Runs in the Family 
  4. Bravery and Heroism Once More
  5. The Lumbrera Heirloom: In Honor of my Father
  6. Beyond the Naked Eye: I must be Special
  7. My Baby Steps: A Child Unlike Any Other
  8. Missing My Mother
  9. Finding God: My Conversion
  10. Always Wanted: Dead or Alive
  11. Love as Bittersweet 
  12. Peter: My Legacy Keeper?
  13. The Alluring Evil in our Midst
  14. Goodbye, Peter

III Welcome to the Bountiful

My Journey to the World

  1. Shaping my Destiny 
  2. The Taste of Manna 
  3. This Land is Mine! 
  4. Queen of the Sea, Fisher of Men 
  5. Making the First Million

IV Life Full of Treasures

My Wonderful Life

  1. A Real Cinderella
  2. The Care Giver
  3. A Dog Charmer
  4. Philanthropist and Visionary
  5. The Healer

The Rising

Resillience Against Odds

  1. Homeless Bound
  2. Advocacy for Aging
  3. Against Homelessness
  4. Sweet Homecoming

VI Living Wisdom

Be it Known: There is no Secret

  1. Me & Irene: One-on-One
  2. Spirituality: The Highest Consciousness
  3. Entrepreneurship: Making a Million One More Time
  4. Leadership and Management Her Style
  5. Social Justice and Human Rights

VII The Rising of Legends

     Some Legends Rise and Fall

  1. The Legend of Rajah Humabon: A Hero or a Villain
  2. BOSS: The Battle of Sibuyan Seas
  3. Yay Panlilio Marking: The Mother of Philippine Guerilla
  4. Graciano A. Militante, Sr:  Taming Angat River and Beyond 
  5. Jaime C. de Veyra: Out of Babel
  6. Jose P. Leviste: The Rural Doctor
  7. Kapitan Kulas: The Outlaw Hood
  8. The Legends "Beneath the Old Acacia Tree"
  9. Ma. Consuelo Almonte: The Icon of the Aging Fil-Am
  10. Prashant Shah: A Soul Awakened 
  11. Gonzalo Velez: A Soldier’s Historical Novel
  12. Benigno Beltran: Rising from Smokey Mountain
  13. Yoga Nurse: The Legend of a Healing Star
  14. Leticia Puguon: The Imugan Dream
  15. Ali Sajid Khan: How to Become Wise
  16. Bienvenido Bones Banez, Jr.: A Devil's Voice 
  17. Carlos Esguerra: God Made, Man Made 
  18. Jeffrey Abatayo: Crossing Wall Street

VIII Tributes

  1. Francia Holgado DeVera, MD: What is a Woman's Worth?
  2. Mike Jampayas: Mano Po, Brother Mike!
  3. Nurses: Behind the Frontlines
  4. Venilda G. Jaynal: Leader of Leaders
Irene Moraga Lumbrera, Author