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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Visita Iglesia

Friday, April 06, 2007

The seventh church... I found myself staring blindly into a gold leafed tabernacle. The candles flickering like dancing fireflies, the scent of incense wafting in the air, orchestral music played just a few decibels over audibility. My cousin, to my right, on his knees praying solemnly. My thoughts, aside from my apparent somnambulism, are concentrated on the cascading waterfalls on which the tabernacle was set... a reminder of a project from the office I was supposed to be working on with a similar water feature in the plaza.

I was born into a long line of Roman Catholics... grew up with rosaries, scapulars, 3 o'clock prayers and Santo Ninos. Visita Iglesia is a paternal family tradition. It's basically visiting seven churches, offering prayers and 2.50 PhP candles, on Maundy Thursday. I am not a particularly religious person, (spiritual, maybe) however, I do love my family and its traditions. This is, personally, one of the touchiest subjects. At the risk of sounding crass, me and Roman Catholicism do not "mesh well together" for a number of reasons I'd rather not publish. Hate mail on Pacquiao is one thing, but comments from a devout Catholic and advice on "returning to the faith" would be an argument where neither party would win, concede or get anything out of.

I've always believed religion is a personal thing... If it works for you and gives you a sense of higher purpose, then you're probably doing something right. I have a great admiration for people with a passion for their religion... Catholic penitence during Lent, the Muslim's Salat in the direction of the qiblih, the Buddhist attainment of the Four Noble Truths, the Hindu awareness for Karma in the attainment of Nirvana... and so on. There are so many religions in the world, each with it's own set of enlightening truths... It's a smorgasbord for knowledge, one I've decided, at a young age, to take part of.


Ok, that was a tad too serious... even for a disclaimer. It's Lent talking. While we were doing our Visita Iglesia rounds, Tine and I can't keep our architect "mind voices" stifled:
"That doesn't look like a convent",
"I love the woodwork",
"The ornateness of the gates are impeccable",
"That mezzanine slab with those puny beams can't POssibly support that many pews!",
("Cute guy, 12 o'clock")


Last year, we spent Lent in my dad's home province of Bulacan. There is more to Baliuag than the green buses, the oh so yummy butong pakwan and the lechon manok. There is also the lavish fete known as "Prusisyon" (Procession) It's a parade of numerous floats with statues depicting the biblical stories of Jesus from his return to Bethlehem to his Resurrection. It's like going to Musei Vaticani but instead of walking through wide marbled corridors, you sit idly on benches as the art is showcased infront of you.

The statues are a little larger than human scale. The scent of scented candles, fresh flowers and incense waft after each float passes by. These photos were taken by my bro-in-law.

It's one of those spectacles that never ceases to awe me.


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