Friday, January 02, 2009

First Friday at Quiapo

Just like most people I know who grew up in the Philippine capital, my mom has been a devotee of the Black Nazarene. It’s been a practice for her to hear Mass at the Quiapo Church on Fridays and recite the novena in honor of the Nazarene.

And since yesterday was a Friday (no less than the first ever of this brand new year!), she egged me to join her. As an obedient son, that left me with practically no choice.

Taking a quick shower, off I went to Quiapo Church with her.

Arriving at Quiapo, I realized how I underestimated the devotion of Filipinos to the Black Nazarene.

I thought that I would be finding the Church empty since it’s still a holiday.

I thought that most of people in Metro Manila are still in the suburbs relishing the joys of extended vacation.

I thought that most of the people are tired and still are resting because of the just concluded festivities.

But how silly was I in wrongfully entertaining these bad thoughts.

The place was jam-packed with a thick sea ocean of people. And it was entirely difficult to wade through the people to reach the Basilica Minore. I swear, I only experienced that phenomenon in two events: in riding LRT years ago when I was in college and when I joined the Sinulog last year.

Inching our way to the church, a petty fist fight ensued between two men. This created agitation and boy, I was so afraid that a stampede might consequently follow. But to my amazement, a space emerged to provide a makeshift arena for our two boxers.

There goes the penchant of Filipinos for boxing even on crowded streets.

And yes, even within a church’s perimeter.