(Thanks to the owner of the picture. I can't recall if I got this from Flicker or from Skyscraper.)
Happy Easter to all!
After the long holiday I hope you have been re-charged physically and spiritually. Where did you and your family spend your vacation?
Me, I just stayed in Manila. I still reported for work until Wednesday. On Thursday, I couldn’t get myself to move and take the trip to Calamba. I simply felt lazy. I decided to stay put. I thought I could in fact do some reflections alone at home, go to church, and be able to go over my files to dispose of tons of garbage that I have accumulated. (You attend a conference bringing only your report but you go home with a bagful of handouts – or ‘basurs’, many of which you never get to read seriously. This is especially true in many government conferences. Bako baga Ate Marynat? It’s a good thing that we can now just bring memory sticks/CDs or DVDs.)
When I was a child, when Holy Week comes, nanay would prevent us from playing and reading our favorite serye in Pilipino Komiks, Espesyal, Hiwaga, and Tagalog Klasiks. Even laughing out loud was not allowed because Jesus was suffering. Bawal mag-enjoy.
Penance and abstinence take a different form in today’s technological age. The Vatican issued a directive to the faithful to refrain from using the internet and cellphone at least for one day. I must have complied because I used both sparingly. I didn’t even watch the TV or played loud music…..
But I decided to watch movies while sorting out my documents. I watched not just one, or two but five! but I chose those that would lift my spirits. (If your fond of movies I recommend that you see the following films, if you still haven’t.)
“Shawshank Redemption” (about a banker who was unjustly sentenced to two life-terms in prison for crimes he did not commit – the murder of his wife and her lover. He spent 19 years in prison before he was able to escape. The inhuman condition in prison did not crush his spirit and he remained steadfast in his hope for freedom. I don’t think I’d be able to last that long if I were innocent. It stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman).
“Into the Wild” (about a young college graduate from a dysfunctional family who donated all his savings to Oxfam America (an NGO), burned all his ID cards and remaining dollars and went hitchhiking across America with the goal of reaching Alaska to escape society and commune with nature. Along the way he had to work to earn money for food and supplies, camped out with hippies, and became friends with an old widower. He did reach Alaska but eventually ran out of supplies and died of hunger. He had a short but fascinating life. This is based on a true story. What attracted me first to this movie is that it was directed by Sean Penn, my favourite actor (Mystic River, Milk, Carlito’s Way, I am Sam).
“Sometimes in April” (an HBO movie about the genocide in Rwanda (a small country in Africa) in 1994, when the Hutus’ killed more than 800,000 Tutsis, who were their own countrymen. Violence was sparked when the Rwandan President, a Tutsi was killed when his plane was shot on April 6 by rebels believed to be Tutsis. It took a long time before the UN was able to act. By the way, I’ve learned from the internet that Rwanda has now recovered and is in fact one of the leading countries in IT in Africa. This movie is better than a similar commercial movie – Hotel Rwanda.
“The Visitor” (about a middle-aged, widowed Connecticut economics professor who has lost his passion for teaching and writing having taught the same subject for about 20 years. He tries to fill the vacuum by taking classical piano lessons, unsuccessfully. Life changed when he was sent by his university to Manhattan to deliver/read a paper (written by another professor). He owned an apartment there and he was surprised to find a Syrian and his Senegalese girlfriend living there. They were victimized by a real estate broker. He allowed them to stay. The Syrian, who was a talented musician taught him to play the African drum and brought him to jazz clubs. (I too, loved the music.) He was beginning to be “re-awakened” when the Syrian was arrested as undocumented alien. The professor committed himself to help the Syrian. Unexpectedly, the Syrian’s beautiful mother came to visit his son, and a romance developed between the prof and the mother. The Syrian was deported and the mother had to follow him to Syria. Although the prof was again left alone, he had already been awakened to a new world, and a new life. The movie ended with the professor playing the African drum in wild abandon……. In a subway!)
“A Beautiful Mind” (true story of Prof. John Nash, a Nobel prize winner who almost lost his sanity. He was a genius suffering from schizophrenia but was able to overcome his mental illness due to the nurturing love and care of his wife. This won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director for Ron Howard of the Da Vinci Code,
Rituals. I went to Church on Thursday. This was supposed to be a happy occasion because we commemorate the first celebration of the Eucharist. The church was already full, so I just stood outside. The crowd seemed to be smaller compared to previous years. Perhaps, more people went out of town. During the washing of the apostles’ feet, I remembered what I used to wonder when I was a child. What if the apostoles did not wash their feet before the priest did the ceremonial washing? I can visualize one of the regular apostoles, whom we called “Angel sa Lupa”. I wonder if he’s still alive today.
After the mass, there was a procession of the blessed sacrament inside the church. I liked the smell of the burning incense. Tantum Ergo was sang. I can remember the hymn but not the Latin lyrics. This brought memories of the benediction during first Fridays when we were in high school. We had to genuflect with both knees then bow our heads.
It was difficult to pray, to concentrate, to commune with the Lord. There were many distractions. Teenagers chatting, reading text messages and giggling. After the mass, I was able to enter the church, but it was like a market place as the lay ministers took their time for the chikahan.
There was a pabasa/pasyon near the church and near the house of the former KOMISYONer of NBN-ZTE. You know who he is of course. Yung may sariling burjeer na masarap daw. The tolda used by the pasyon(istas?) bore the big picture and name of a mandaluyong councillor (kaapilyido ni KOMISYONer. Of course, that's already a campaign paraphernalia. I would have wanted to join the “rappers” so I could partake of the dinner. On the roadside, they were cooking ginataang langka in a big kawa, and pritong galunggong in another big kawali.
Friday, I watched the siete palabras on TV, both Channel 2 and 7 had their own coverage. I decided to watch the one at the UST chapel, with the Dominicans covered by Kapuso. One priest tried to connect with the audience by citing contemporary examples. He was assigned the words “Ngayon din, isasama kita sa Paraiso”. … hindi kahapon, hindi bukas… kundi ngayon. Hindi gaya ni Santino, na May Bukas Pa” ….. he probably wasn’t conscious that it was a GMA7 excusive coverage while May Bukas Pa is the top rating teleserye of its fierce competitor, Kapamilya 2. More than the priests’ sermons, I liked the reflections shared by Boots Anson Roa about her family’s triple whammy – the death of her father, husband, and the illness of her son, and how they have accepted them as God’s will.
I did not join the procession. In Daet, this was supposed to be the time when the bakasyonistas from Manila make their appearance. Kabali kamo digdi. Sabi pa kan iba, ogwa daang “Tagalig” na ang taram pagkalipas nin pirang bulan na pagklase sa Manila. Of course, exempted sina Alot and Rey. Tagalog talaga sinda, tagalog-Vinzons nga lang. Dasig-dasig naman dyan. Maya-maya palingin mo ang kandila ha.
Of course, Holy Week will be without meaning without the Easter Sunday. More than the passion of Christ, our focus should be on the Resurrection because this is what gives us Hope in the midst of all the present difficulties.