Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jollibee, Candle Vendors and the Church

Am not at ease calling this place a town since everywhere I look says ‘Bogo City’. Probably, people excitedly changed everything to “Bogo City” when RA9390 descended upon them in June 2007 hehe! And they probably thought it would be a waste of resources and effort if they erased everything “city” from everything they changed, when the supreme court ruled its cityhood unconstitutional! But I want to refer to it as a city just the same. What’s in a name anyway? This is a progressive town by the way in case you want to compare it with the 15 others that suffered the same fate after about a year of cityhood!

So where did I go?

First was to the new Jollibee at the new Gaisano for breakfast since the Yanie’s cook was not around, remember from my previous post?! Alright, nothing unusual there but, this was the first time I hopped into a Jollibee that did not serve free drinking water. They have bottled water that you have to buy. In other Jollibee stores all over the country, they even have those 5-gallon dispensers, while at others, they have pitchers of cold water waiting for you at a counter, you just ask for a glass with ice (also free) from the clerks, right? Isn’t this water thing part of the standards when acquiring a franchise? Well, I guess the incorporators of this Jolly-Bogo, Inc. are in such a hurry to earn their millions – perchance to help Bogo become a city again, hahaha!

St. Vincent Ferrer Church. What a fine-looking house of worship. I like the use of pastel colors both outside and inside. For me it departs from the usual eerie feeling when in and around old or antique structures. I read as I roamed around that it was erected in January 1850 and reconstructed in 1997. I don’t have many words to describe how I like that church, so, just look at the pictures, aight?!

Oh, meters from even approaching the entrance of the church (that’s a highway where the Ceres bus passes when entering Bogo), I got swarmed by old women selling candles. Like anywhere, I just smiled and shook my head. As I proceeded towards the side where people light candles, a pesky little oldie kept following me saying “sir ta-ud, sir ta-ud”… I did not look at her nor paid any attention. I was actually reading the so many signs that said selling in that area is not allowed.

When the manang was getting too persistent and already touching her candles to my arm, sarcastically smiling I told her in bisaya… “I did not come here to light candles, I came here to see if you all follow those signs that you are not allowed to sell candles in this area… and I have already taken your picture” (showed my camera). Then she disappeared back to the highway outside of the church compound hehehe! How wicked of me!

At the fenced candle-lighting area, there is even a bigger sign that 1) advises those who want to light candles to buy them outside of this area 2) advises candle vendors not to enter the area. But there were three ladies selling candles technically inside the area. They were seated inside while their candles were laid out on a board atop a monoblock stool just outside of the fence. After a devotee bought candles from them, I went near and asked them if they were an exception to what the signs say. Their answer was, they’re the only authorized sellers and their candles are from the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC). So I said, “oh okay” then went inside the church.

If those ladies were telling the truth… well, what a clever business strategy this PPC has. Drive the vendors away and monopolize candle sales! Whew! And if those ladies were lying… sign of the times… old women can tell a lie right at the very compound of a place where honesty is taught as a spiritual virtue! Money is everything these days, even for the religious hehe!

Inside the church, it’s breezy even if the main door is closed. That is probably because the sides are not walls but big open doors with iron grills. Oh yes, the second level is spacious and it skirts the totality of the church except for the altar area. Should the lower pews become so full, that area upstairs can accommodate hundreds more. I saw a dog and wondered how it got high up there! Ah, this church actually perches up a hill and almost overlooking the city. Thus, the cool breeze!

Hey, on my way out, passing by the side near the parish offices, I saw a group of folks gathered under a tree and around a new vehicle. Soon came a priest and started a ceremony that looked like the center of it all was that red new multicab. I guess it was some kind of a blessing ceremony for the vehicle. Watched them a bit and I noticed that the dear priest, while robed, was comfortably wearing just shorts and in his comfy crocs! Hehe, the things I see when roaming around! And who says you can’t perform your spiritual duties without shoes?! Just uncommon, therefore worth remembering hehehe!

Now now…, across the highway from the arched entrance to the church, there is a big statue of Jesus Christ and the old women candle vendors were huddled there all looking at me. Oh my, the old lady I drove away earlier probably told them about it (she was with them). It was not a friendly look but it was neither a hostile look hehe. They just sat there conversing while all eyes were following me. Whatever they were thinking, it sent some little chills up my nape! I suddenly remembered Robert Ludlum. Jason Bourne used a clandestine network of old people in Paris, right?! Things played in my mind that those old ladies could be scheming something I won’t like. But I knew I could run faster than them if push comes to shove hehe! Ah hehehe, the fictional junk in me do sometimes become active still!

Then came a Ceres bus that stopped for passengers to get off… All of them old ladies stopped looking at me and ran for it perchance to make a new sell with their candles. Unfortunately for them, the two dudes who alighted were not on the way to church. They walked towards where I was headed – down the street to CRMC and my hotel. It was lunchtime; don’t them old folks give themselves a rest or even a siesta? How many candles are they able to sell at noon?

Oh well! Very memorable encounter!


  1. Nice travel description. And yes, your encounter is very memorising.

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