Sunday, January 31, 2010

Argao: Another Proof of the Cebuano Religiosity

Away from the kids practicing their dance moves and that impertinent mother who probably have another concept of what is a parade, we entered the church and I was luckily surprised to stumble upon this scene.

Acutally, they entered the church a few steps behind us, and I really at first thought they were some engineers and/or contractors about to inspect parts of this edifice that needed some sprucing up. But when I turned in this direction after looking around, my eyes grew wide, and all I could silently say was ‘OMG’!

My goodness!

I hope they won’t mind my posting this picture of them. Shhh, I took this secretly without flash because their activity really mesmerized me. Not a common sight. Not anymore anyway, and am sure many of you will agree.

I kinda walked on the side of the pews to observe their faces as they inched their way towards the altar. They do not look (to me at least) like the stereotyped or the common lay leaders. Y’know, armed with bibles or pamphlets, rosary beads in their hands or necks and dressed in barong or some other vestments as if saying they are almost priests. Di ba?

Nor do these men look like the perennially problematic folks who do nothing but go to church and plea to be showered with graces. To me, they all look like men in various respectable (a.k.a. well-remunerated) businesses or professions. Yet I saw them do this sacrifice that we most commonly see only done by women, right?

And I had to wait until they were done. And I purposely stood by the main door so I could clearly see their faces when they pile out of the church. Again, I silently said OMG in appreciation (or was that disbelief?) of what I just witnessed. I mean how many times do you see a group of men do this? I even had goose bumps. Such devotion, when majority of men in this country do not even anymore peek at churches other than the few times they were coerced by their wives to attend a wedding, their relatives’ burial or their children’s baptisms, right?

And imagine… we learned this was fiesta day of Argao (reason why there was a Sinulog-style parade). That, all the more surprised me! Yeah imagine, where would the menfolk in your community be at 12:56PM on the very day of your town, city or barangay fiesta? Most of them would probably be already rowdy drunk in your houses, right?

The friend whispered a giggly “they’re probably going to the cockfight”. I thought the friend may have had a very valid and highly probably point there. But I said “REGARDLESS”! Well, my father and many other young and old men I know were/are fans of those cockfights too. But I have never seen anyone of them walk on their knees from entrance to altar of a church – whether it be before, after or without a cockfight. Sugarol or not, I still say, they have such devotion in their hearts worthy of emulation by many Catholics.

Oh well. I was dumbfounded at this find.

That’s why I love going places. It makes me see the true reality!


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