Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The OC Project: St. John the Baptist Church

At the start of the year, I remember making revisions on my bucket list. Among those I wrote was to visit old churches in the country, mostly to those that I have yet to be in. I have always kept an eye wandering in the old churches in Manila. But upon research, there were actually five old parishes from where I live. So it got me thinking, why not begin at where I am instead.

It took a while for me to plan where to start this year's personal endeavor which I called The OC (as in One Church) Project. I am just available for non-work-related activities during weekends, and most of those weekends, I preferred staying at home because of the unfriendly summer weather lately. But last week, I finally found the free time to do it so armed with my backpack, sunscreen and my phone, I followed my "sneaker's instincts" and went off church hunting.

Given the proximity, Taytay Rizal became my first order of business. St. John the Baptist Church is situated just a few meters away from Taytay's old municipal hall. The church may have been renovated but it still is considered an old church given that it was founded in 1579 and the structure itself was completed in 1630. Interestingly, hundreds of years prior to being named saint, St. Pedro Calungsod became an altar boy in this church in 1666.

Another thing that made me choose to visit this church for my personal project was because this place holds a fond memory to me and our family. My parents got married in this church 32 years ago. The photo above is how the altar looks at present -- very much different to how it was when they exchanged their I Do's in 1984. Call it a funny coincidence but on the day and time that I arrived in the church, a wedding ceremony was about to start so by a stroke of luck, I was able to witness the whole ceremony. 

And by paying this place a visit, on a personal note, it made me realize how I was able to conquer a particular fear which I've had for the longest time -- that of seeing weddings. Yeah, I know it sounds absurd but I had my own share of such phobia. Not that I hate seeing weddings, I just tend to cringe and couldn't stand seeing one for a reason I didn't know. While I was only after fulfilling a thing on my wishlist and visiting a place relevant to my parents' love story, I got to face a certain fear and win over it unknowingly. 

It felt good that I was able to accomplish such an endeavor. It was so refreshing to have paid this place a visit and given that I was able to accomplish one church last week, I am happy to say I am looking forward to the next one (still in Rizal) which I hope to do in the coming weeks and yes, I will post it on this blog :-)

St. John the Baptist Church
Sumulong St. Bgy Dolores
Taytay, Rizal

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Election Learnings

It isn't election day yet. But in a number of times I have participated with this event, activities, voting and all, this must be the most critical and most difficult one at the same time.

Despite seeing those posts left and right on social media, I decided to stay quiet with who to vouch. And my decision to keep quiet were because of a lot of things: I opted not to say a word because I've had seen and read most of those posts that contained mostly nothing but trash talk. I admit I've had enough of those after seeing it for weeks. I have heard how a number of friendships were severed just because they have different ideologies as to the candidate they are supporting.

But most of all, I am seriously dead tired of reading those rants and bickering sessions every single freaking day. Come to think of it, whether we like it or not, come June 30, someone is still going to swear on the Bible ending it with the words "so help me God".

Lesson 1: Binoto mo man siya o hindi, wala kang magagawa. Meron at meron tayong magiging presidente. Sa ayaw mo man sa kanya o sa gusto. Pero isipin mo rin na ang pagpili ng tamang kandidato parang pag-ibig din yan: nararamdaman at hindi nabibili!

This election, it's going to be the first time that my family won't have that "solid vote." Unlike the previous ones when we tend to agree on supporting one candidate, this year's not the case. Yes, they kept telling me to just follow suit and vote the one they want but I don't give any word because of two reasons: I don't want to engage in too lengthy talks (that I have always read on social media); and I was being silent out of respect.

Lesson 2: Respect for one's choices is the main sign of love -- oo, kahit pa ang ibig sabihin noOn ay ang pagkakaiba ng pananaw nyo sa iboboto nyong presidente. 

Another thing I realized during this whole period was that those "election struggles" are real. I tend to get those flashbacks of a particular day as I write this part. I won't go into specifics. But while the situation for me was something I consider to be a tough one I've dealt with, it made me realize my worth and what I could do. That just when you think you're doing things wrong, someone's got to tell you you are doing something right -- even for once.

Lesson 3: Politics is never easy. And once in a while someone will need someone like you to rely upon. Bear in mind that you are doing the right thing when you stand firm for someone and for the things and principles that you believe in. 

On the other hand, I never thought this whole thing would allow me to realize that certain situations would show me that I am not just working "in aid of legislation" but I am also living to advocate truth. That despite being really worried and scared for someone's safety, security and reputation, (and this is the first time that it seriously happened to me), you should still  balance things and choose to be on the side of what is truthful, just and right.

Lesson 4: A lot of things may go wrong but there will always be one that's going to be right. Sometimes, in the midst of your choice to be silent in the face of an adversity, the majority is ready to fight on your behalf -- because they know the truth will have to and should always prevail.

Two days. That is all that we've got before we elect a new head of state. Yes, this election is certainly different -- scary even. I cannot say that while I have some apprehensions, I am not part of the silent majority either. I still reserve the name of who I am voting for and I know most of us have our own fears and reservations about who could end up winning but maybe, we just need to do one thing (taking it from Sarah Geronimo's character, Laida in A Very Special Love (oo, idinamay ko na sya):

Lesson 5: Maniwala na lang tayo sa goodness.

Yes. I think we won't go wrong with that -- for we were born with such trait after all.