Filipino Time Strikes Again

Last Thursday, I came home by two in the morning from a grueling Wednesday of work. Reaching home by that time wouldn’t have been a problem if my house were just a stone’s throw away from my workplace. Happily for me, I live outside of Metro Manila. I am thankful that no evildoers (hold uppers, kidnappers, snatchers, etc.) hitched a ride on the jeepneys that I rode on my journey home (though, as a precaution, I kept myself from bringing out my cell phone). Another bad thing for me is that I still had to wake up by 5 AM, go to work on Thursday, and suffer 8 hours of doing nothing but pretend that I am indeed doing some things.

I came home that early because we went to Subic for a seminar with the other employees. The departure time from Manila is 7 AM (which forced me to wake up by 4 AM) and the seminar should start by 10 AM. Our service vehicle left the office by 7 AM and we came early in Subic. The problem is that some of my co-workers were late, forcing the seminar to start after lunch.

The seminar, which dragged on for hours, ended by 5 PM. After that is the meeting of the bosses, which ended by 7:30 in the evening. On the way home, we stopped for dinner. We reached Manila by 12 AM.

That day would have been better for me if they know how to set their schedules straight. Unfortunately, they have the so-called Filipino Time Syndrome. However, they are not unique in having this syndrome since many Filipinos suffer from this. It doesn’t matter if they are in school, or in work, or even in important appointments, people like these are bound to be late. It is their style.

This syndrome should be removed from our system. I am, along with those who value their time, fed up for waiting for latecomers. Damn them.

Focus on Jesus!

Last Friday, thousands of people flocked to Manila to attend the largest fan’s day in the Philippines: the Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo. Many, including the media, touted the event as a a proof of how the Filipinos love our God. But is it really the case?

True. The devotees, especially the hardcore ones, experienced a lot of ordeal on that day. Many came to Quiapo from their homes barefoot. Many where crushed, pushed around and stepped upon when they tried to get close to the image of the Black Nazarene. Some of them even fainted. But what is the meaning of their devotion? Is it necessary that they undergo those ordeals so that they could show how much they love God? Or does God require His flock to suffer to hear their pleas?

On the morning of the feast day, the Archbishop of Manila said in his homily that it is not necessary for anyone to touch the image of the Black Nazarene to show his or her devotion to Jesus Christ. What is important is their faith in the Lord and their love to Him. Instead of saying amen to the archbishop, the fanatics booed him off, they booed off the homily, and they booed off the truth.

What they did summed up the devotion of the fanatics of the Black Nazarene. Their devotion now focused on the image and not on WHOM it represents. They believe that the image had some miraculous power that will grant their wishes. What they are doing is a step away to idolatry and it is highly dangerous to their faith. The image of Black Nazarene is just an image, made of wood. It can’t walk and it can’t walk, and it can’t heal anyone on it’s own accord. It is by God’s will alone that anyone is healed from his or her afflictions.

The devotion of the Black Nazarene fanatics is commendable, but they focus those devotions beyond the image and make it show on the way they live. Faith in God and true Christian living is the key to a happy life. The fanaticism on the Black Nazarene must be stopped. The bishops should teach the fanatics that the Black Nazarene is just an image. These fanatics must understand that the Lord is the center of our life and loving Him and serving Him is the most important thing in this world and in our life.

Of course, there are devotees of the Black Nazarene who understands their Faith. They are not exaggerated when showing their devotion and they truly focus it to Jesus Christ. Such devotees are commendable and their number should increase.

Losing My Childhood's New Year Celebration

It had been my personal tradition to celebrate the coming new year with firecrackers. Since I was little, I let my imagination loose and pretend that I am a soldier during New Year’s Eve. The explosion in that day is good to reinforce my imagination of upcoming battle that intensifies as the clock gets nearer and nearer to midnight. In my childish imaginings, I use the “five stars” as my hand grenade and the “kwitis” as an anti-aircraft missile. Me and my brother always build a tableau consisting of pictures of hated artistas, corrupt politicians, and anything that represent the bad things of the past year. The tableau is rigged up with various firecrackers like the “five star,” “piccolo,” and “watusi” and is burned during the midnight of New Years Eve, amidst the tirade of explosions of the coming year.
Firecrakers for New Year's Eve
My last New Year's arsenal of firecrackers.

Those were the days. Last New Year’s Eve, I still kept my personal tradition sans the tableau and the gusto of my childish make-believes. Maybe it is because the rain dampened my mood, or maybe because I outgrew my inner child and make me enjoy the firecrackers less. My focus in the last New Year’s celebration shifted from the celebration per se but to my family that is gathered together well and complete. This makes me look at passing year as a good year because my family is still complete and still a happy one. That is what I celebrated the most in the last New Year’s celebration.
Simple feast for the coming New Year.
A simple New Year's Eve feast.