I convinced myself before that I will spend more time scribbling words and letters rather than pour all my effort and focus at work. I guess I failed again. Tons of paperworks, endless troubles, boundless responsibilities, this is the current picture I never wished to have been developed. An image that paints a miniscule suffering as compared to the Messiah's in the cross of Calvary.
Holy week is a time for everyone's reflection upon him/herself. We may differ in terms of beliefs, but I consider this as an opportunity to gauge ones faith.
Some may eagerly dispute me, for there are different types of people living in this world. A vast collection of religion in this country is one proof. There are atheists who don't entirely believe in God. Catholics consist the majority. Christians, protestants, methodists, baptists, born again, pentecosts, JW, INC, ADD, muslims, the list seems endless. I learned from an expat that most of the Japanese are buddhists, realizing later that I have less knowledge of what their religion is all about.
We vary in beliefs that some of them have life long traditions worthy of note. I am referring to the manner a great minority of the Filipino Catholics celebrate Christ death and resurrection. More specifically, Kapampangan faithfuls who, for a long time already, been practicing this tradition they embedded since I first came to see the light in this world.
Armed with the enthusiasm to witness first hand, the physical portrayal of Christ death in the cross, I tagged familiar persons in this blog. We raced to San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga under a blistering sun last Good Friday.
The heat was indeed terrible. But this was not enough to maim my interest to see a once in a year event. We parked in front of the old church right in the heart of the city. The town was overflowing with pedicabs, a bicycle fixed with a side car used for public transport, tricycles and even saw a few kalesas.
It was also a day of discovery when I learned that the road we were traversing towards Cutud was the first pavement ever established in the Philippines. Evident through a script written in a concrete, the road from Apalit to San Fernando was built in 1956 which led to the construction of the rest of the country's concrete road.
We strutted a few more meters to hoist a jeepney which ferried us closer into the crucifixion site. The jeepney fare was 6 pesos but we didn't have the slightest idea of how long we will walk further to reach our goal.
People overwhelmed the streets, foreigners and Filipinos alike. It drew the craze brought about by the presence of media, local and abroad.
We reached the site with an imperfect timing. Mass crucifixion already took place wherein even a Briton was reported to have joined the tradition along with 15 other mandarame (local word for penitent). Eavesdropping led us to confusion and even a lot more questions. Did we miss it? Will there be no one else to be crucified, in the truest sense of the word? Was our purpose in getting there vanquished, defeated, spoiled?
I tried looking for answers but no credible person was able to guarantee whether there will be another one.
So, we waited it out.
Hid from the sun via the installed booths nearby.
Took a lot of pictures.
Drank coke and water.
Walk briskly from one shade to another.
Nibbled junk food bought from a store more than 500 meters away and witnessed someone carrying a cross heading towards the same direction I came from.
Until I realized that he was destined to be nailed at 3 pm.
We hurried past the crowd and took possesion of a better spot that will give us enough viewing angle. By this time, the number of spectators multiplied and grew steadily by the second.
Suddenly, the man was already up, nailed and almost naked. Both of his hands were punctured each with a nail that resembled those being used in fastening roofs, with a big head and slim body. Although, his feet were spared from the occasion.
He was up there for approximately 15 minutes which appeared to be a lot longer. We came to learn further bits of stories with some of the natives standing near us.
That the man have done so for the 15th time this year. It will also be his last. That his wife, never came to witness his husband suffering in the entire 15 years of his penitensya. That he excessively drink and when he is drunk, he bullies all people who come his way like a psycho criminal out from jail. That the one who hammered the nails through the hands and into the wooden cross, is the last existing soul from the original cast of yesteryears. That, in contrast, all of the persons being crucified are still alive.
Getting down and off the cross, I think is an excruciating sight to see, second only to the point of feeling the pain of flesh pierced by iron. The nails were believed to have been blessed by a priest prior the event. His face revealed much of the suffering. And his emotions never lied. His panata is now over as soon as the cross disappeared from our sight.