Daily Archives: March 8, 2008

Travelling Farther North (Part 1: Manaoag)

Yup. We are now back on the lowlands after a weekend off to the upper province of the northern part of the Philippines. Well, my entry is a week late but at least the photo suppliments to this entry is at hand.

Well, I had to wait for a while since for the first time in my travel experience, I left my trusty Canon G5 at my unit at the eve of the trip. Ok, ok. I am really getting older and being forgetful. I was in a hurry to go home. Lesson learned. Good thing our driver brought his digicam and was kind enough to take our pictures and even let me use it like my own Ü

On our way up to Baguio, as it has been traditional, we always pass by Pangasinan to pay respects (I mean at least pray of course) to Our Lady of Manaoag. As far as I remember, I think I was about 7 or 8 years old, we always go there at least once every year. But lately, I wasn’t able to join them but my Nanay never missed a year. Unless she’s out of the country.

There had been lots of improvements in the church and in the area. Roads are cemented. Parking lots much organized. Lots of vendors selling from candles, corn, peanuts, balloons, blessed oil and other religious “souvenirs” as they call it. But what odd for me is that, it isn’t as crowded as before. Or perhaps I’m tall and big enough not to see other people as giants when I was small. It was a Saturday. I just can’t recall what day we usually go there. Since we left Bulacan at past 5:00 AM, we reached Pangasinan before 8:00 AM just in time for a mass. And I thought I’m the only one who noticed but my titas noticed it too that the priest seemed to be quite in a hurry. His homily is short and skipped a couple of the usual sections of the mass.

The church reminded me of those churches in southern Cebu, minus the murals and detailed paintings on the walls and ceiling. There some on the Manaoag Shrine but not quite old and a bit rustic.

A handful of these chandeliers suspend from the church’s ceiling

After the mass, I took a few shots inside the church with my SE K610i. We were on our way to the petition area where you light your petition candles and say your petition, and a little prayer.

Sight of the altar and Our Lady of Manaoag along the middle aisle. The priest is about to bless the people and whatever they are holding at this time.

Still at the middle aisle. Nanay is unaware that I was taking photos. Hehehe. You can see the inner dome of the church. I just forgot what it’s proper term is. Oh well.

From the sideline, see the devotees awaits for the priest’s blessing.

I am guilty of still a sucker for petitioning or praying for certain petition by lighting a candle or giving money to the church. I know. I know. I’m not that religious and at times being an activist of some sort comes out of me. Ok, call me half-half… Half-devotee and half-activist. I’m an agnostic. A female version of Thomas the Doubter. But I do respect other’s beliefs and Catholism. I grew up and was brought up with that faith. It’s just that there are times that I doubt and question some pratices.

I see it at times as commercialism. Take for example…

On the background you see the queue of devotees in line to see, touch and pray to the Lady at her shrine. The candles lighted are from those who had petitions or intentions. You buy these candles for at least pHp6.00. And I am guilty of those.

I am still a sucker and quite brought up with such ideology that every church I go to I’d do that. At least one candle.

I came there as a devotee. An agnostic but yet still a Catholic by heart. But what sudden changed my mood?

These men. Well, they are doing their jobs. I call them, the candle recyclers. They are getting the cooled wax from the candles and I bet will recycle them again to candles. At first I was amazed that it won’t go to waste. You know, the recycling-save Mother Earth thing… somehow related to it. But then again, I felt I was somehow being robbed. Why? I found out that the candles I bought from a “certified” vendor at the parking lot who helped us get a parking space was pHp4.00 over priced from the candles being sold in the petition area. It’s business. negosyo as one of my titas said. Well, I wish that extra money will indeed go for a good cause of that mamang tindero, if not a guarantee that my petition a little ahead of queued on God’s list 😉

I’m a Catholic. An agnostic one. Still a sucker for certain beliefs and gestures since I grew up with it and raised with it. As long as I don’t hurt anyone. This is me… and that’s them.

I just find it off that they are getting the waxes of the candles while some is still placing their petition candle. And people just don’t mind.

Well, I am amazed and curious. First time to see such… and a bit affected. Much affected that I almost missed this scene…

A little wave nga Lola. This tricycle is just right in front of us. You can only do that in the provinces of the Philippines. Take note, provinces NOT the cities. This is on a national road, BUT in a province.

And we are off to our final destination: BAGUIO


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