Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ye Olde Wedding Watch

I recently participated a poll in Facebook, asking if I was interested in the Royal Wedding this coming April 29. I'm talking about Prince William and Kate Middleton of course. There are more than 70%, I think, who answered "NO". I decided to take a stand and joined the majority who didn't seem to be interested. When I think about it now, the fact that I took the poll must have meant I am interested, otherwise, I should have ignored it. Right?


Here's the thing, no matter how I keep myself out of it, with the attention the media is giving it, I can't help but be absorbed. I mean when you watch TV, every station has a special something before the wedding, every news program has a rep to cover the celebration, my email sign in page displays a guest book asking me to wish the couple the best for their special day. The experts are forecasting the coverage to be the most watched TV special in history. I'm pretty sure my mom and my sisters will be glued on the TV on April 29. And there's nothing wrong with that. Really. Two people in love, professing their lifetime commitment before the world. I wish them the best. I really do.

Still... I wonder. What's so special about it? Why so much fuss? I can understand the media attention when famous people are on the spot. When Michael Jackson died, I was glued on the TV myself, thinking "oh man, I can't believe it!". But I feel it’s different, it's MJ, he's an icon. He practically invented a whole new standard of performing and everyone followed. His music changed the world. Now my point is, I can't feel the initiatives of the royal family to make this world a better place. I'm sure they are doing something, I just feel it's not enough. Okay, now I sound like I'm asking too much. They are just human, they might be eating the most expensive food but our shit smells the same.

I guess the great thing about it is, hope. The royal family would always function as a "symbo"l of sovereignty, and this event symbolizes hope. Amidst the negative things that's happening around the world, there will be a reason to celebrate. And despite the fact that previous marriages of the other princes and princesses failed, I do hope that this one would stand still to disappoint cynicals like me. Cheers to yer highness!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Updates, updates!!!

It's time for another round of updates.

Some people decide to cut their hair for a new look, but for me, I do it for convenience. When my bangs start to irritate my eyes, it's a sign, I need a haircut! Ugh!

Yesterday I went to Manila Doctors Hospital to meet Dindee and her husband Benny. She was at the OR doing thyroidectomy, while waiting, I decided to look around at the hospital. I barely recognized anyone, it feels weird. I ran into Dr. Cuayo-Juico, she told me I haven't changed but I gained weight. I need to work out! Ugh!

On the other hand, when I met Benny, he told me I look like a Japanese. Yay!

The other night, my mom and dad went to a Jose Mari Chan concert at Thunderbird resort. I got envious because I'm a JMC fan, I wanted to go too, but I can't because I have work. They took home a signed copy of Souvenirs. Really, I am so envious!

I dropped by at Robinson's Place in Ermita yesterday to buy books. I am loving Jodi Picoult, she's very easy to read, at the same time very moving.

I also bought a copy of Songs for Japan with a hope that Japan recovers as soon as possible from one of its worst crisis. John Lennon's Imagine and Queen's Te O Tori Atte (Let Us Cling Together) makes the album worth buying. The other 35 tracks are not bad either. I highly recommend getting it, if you're in for a good cause and good music.

It's been really quiet these days...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Lakbayan (travelling) grade

My Lakbayan grade is D!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Visita Iglesia 2011

Last Saturday, I did something I haven't done before. I joined the annual Visita Iglesia organized by our local parish. It's a Catholic tradition where in pilgrims visit 7 churches during Lenten season to ask for penance. In each church, we relive 2 stations of the cross. The priest gives homily relating each station to remind us how Christ suffered to save us. How we should follow his way for the salvation of our souls.

Let me tell you something. I have never been so eager to join these type of religious activities. The past decade my life, I got caught up in my own world - studies, friends, anime, Japan, work, ambition, etc., I barely have time for God. When I had the time to spare, I use it to bum out. But don't get me wrong. I was never an atheist nor agnostic. I have always been a believer. I just wasn't a devout Christian. I still am not, I always tell myself that I have to do it on my own pace and there are principles of the church that I contest. But last year's series of unfortunate events prompted me to pause and reflect. When I was young, my mom often told me that tragedies or unfortunate things happen not because God is punishing us, but He is testing us, our faith. Trials. They also serve as reminders because when we are drowning with blessings, we forget to thank Him, we forget to follow His ways, we forget to ask forgiveness. The recent tragedy in Japan, is again, a reminder that something is greater than us, that in this type of situation, we have no choice but to leave everything to Him.

I am thankful that I got to realize that early enough to go back to the right path before I get lost completely. I still have a long way to go, but with God's grace, I know I will make it in time.

So we visited 7 churches in the province of Pampanga. Most of them as old as our church here in Tanay and I couldn't help thinking that there must have been some kind of standard on building churches in 1600s, because they resemble one another. There's always relief sculptures of the 14 stations of the cross on both ends of the nave, there are portraits of the four evangelists (Mark, Matthew, Luke, and Thomas) on the dome ceiling, the choir loft sits just above the main entrance (which I doubt is being used by the choir nowadays). Not every church has pulpit though. As I look at these old buildings, I can't help wishing I paid more attention on Arts History. It's amazing how these buildings survived for centuries. They were built at a time when there was raw technology. A stark reminder that machines can never replace the workmanship of humans.

Sta. Rita de Cascia Parish in Sta. Rita, Pampanga

Interior of Sta. Rita Parish

St. Augustine Parish in Lubao Pampanga

Interior of St. Augustine Parish, it is currently undergoing restoration

Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Guagua, Pampanga

Interior of Immaculate Concepcion Parish

My favorite church would have to be the St. James parish in Betis, Pampanga. It has a simple facade outside but once you go inside, it has the most intricate interior of all the churches I've ever seen. It has a wooden floor too, which makes it really unique. The guard on duty (another special feature hahaha, you don't normally see a guard in a church) warned us at the onset of our arrival that we have to turn off the flash of our cameras when taking picture. The place is packed with mural paintings all over, the people there seems to be serious in maintaining the beauty of their church. Whether some people are hard headed or plain ignorant on how to change the settings of their cameras (most of the pilgrims are old people), the guard got really stressed out in reprimanding people who failed to turn off the flash and it was really amusing to watch him hehehe.

St. James Paris in Betis, Pampanga

the pulpit is the stand where friars used to conduct their sermon

awww the poor Manong Guard, his BP went up for sure

Kidd in front of the altar

I am mostly proud of the San Guillermo Parish in Bacolor, Pampanga. It stood still despite being situated in one of the most devastated area when Mt. Pinatubo erupted. The place got half buried by lahar, They apparently had to tore the orginal ceilings because the ground got elevated so high. I also learned that this is the church where a popular TV series was shoot. I didn't watch it but the main character's name is Santino, I kept hearing the people say his name while we were on this place.

San Guillermo Parish in Bacolor, Pampanga

Interior of San Guillermo Parish

what used to be the windows up above is now down below, just like life...

the interior of the church before the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo

The Adoration Chapel requires you to duck before you can enter because of the elevated ground

St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Apalit, Pampanga

Interior of St. Peter the Apostle Parish

Immaculate Concepcion Parish, San Fernando Pampanga

Interior of Immaculate Concepcion Parish

We ended our pilgrimage with a mass in Immaculate Concepcion Parish in San Fernando. Now here's a tradition that I do not know if it's widely practiced. A friend told me once, that if it's you're first time hearing mass on another church, you could make a wish, guaranteed to come true. There's also that common practice of lighting a candle for your petition. Now I think that prayers will work, even if I do it in my room, but lighting a candle for a good cause won't take anything from me, so I went and got me a set of 4 candles anyway. In this parish, they even make a color coding for wishes. I only knew white candles in Baclaran church *scratch head*.

I played along anyway and chose the colors according to my personal intentions.

This whole pilgrimage is a brand new, learning and healing experience. I just realized that we have a new parish director, I don't know his name but I think I like him. The way he discuss the 14 stations of the cross, relating it to our present lives, and how he led this whole activity, I feel that our parish is in good hands. My only complaint is the bus driver, but I'm not gonna talk about him. I would just like to forgive him and pray that he becomes a better person, leaving him to God hehehe.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Today I went to the supermarket to buy some snacks to bring for my trip tomorrow. I will be going on a pilgrimage to Pampanga churches (a.k.a Visita Iglesia) together with my mom and my youngest sister, Ivy. It's a parochial event, there are 200 more attendees, all residents of Tanay. This is my first time to go on a pilgrimage, and I'm excited. Aside from the fact that I'm trying to make up for all the time I've detached myself from religion and doing all I can to strengthen my spirituality, I also love art, I love architecture, and Catholic churches are some of the oldest architecture that we have here, so I'm excited to see that.

Going back to the supermarket, I was going through the biscuits section when I saw the shelf of M.Y. San canned biscuits. I felt a tinge in my heart, as images of my grandparents popped in my mind. I miss my grandparents. They used to stock canned butter biscuits. We used to eat them during merienda time. It wasn't easy to have them here back then so it wasn't a daily thing. But now, we have Savemore, and I have the option to buy them anytime I want. But then, it's never gonna be the same.