Monday, March 1, 2010

Simala Again

I was back there today, to accompany a friend who comes from afar and also a devout believer of the “miracles” that the Mama Mary image in this monastery is supposed to ‘offer’. Chance for me to see if at all there may have been changes!

It’s Monday, so thankfully, there was no long arduous line to toe! Whohoa! So we went straight up. Well there was a line of sorts but just within the building area. No grueling it out under the sun! Uh-huh, that new ‘palacial’ wing under construction seems to have seen a bit of ‘development’ compared to my visit 2 months ago.

New signages within the building were also evident this time.

Oh, since there was no long line this time (I am very patient y’know), I went with the friend all the way to the “halok” (kiss Mama Mary). Here are the views going up there.

Where is “up there”? Exactly behind her image in the altar that faces the chapel. So you would see the rebulto’s back? Yes, as in exactly this picture below.

But I learned it is not the one that people get to. It is another (similar) image facing you just behind the one that faces the chapel. So there are two Mama Mary images in “back-to-back” positions up there - one is that above, and another (below)!

Can you really literally kiss the image? No! You won’t even be able to touch it. Its inside a big glass enclosure perched on a pedestal high up. Her foot, the base of the image would be at the chest (even chin) level of a normal adult. How do you “kiss”? Ah, if you must, like many do, you just kiss the outside base of the glass or wood base that you can reach. Some people wipe their hankies on that glass then re-wipe said hanky on parts of their bodies or the bodies of their companions, usually children. Akala ko naman kung anong “halok” yun!

I got a closer look of some other cabinets with many other letters of devotees. There are just too many of them, and heartwarming to read their stories. Hey, I saw one letter from somebody I know – or somebody who has got the same name of somebody I know! Nice!

Remember the “Pandong” I mentioned on that story about my previous visit? I got to see how it ‘transpires’! Yep, I still tagged behind the friend this time. And I noticed, this “Pandong” area is the natural “next step” after one comes down from the “Halok”. Why? Because it is located just below the stairs where you descend from. And just how does this thing ‘happen’?

Ganito yan… To do the “Pandong”, there is another big image of Mama Mary standing at a lobby, holding a long veil. Then you who lined up faces the image and ‘take cover’ under that veil she is holding. I saw some women mutter things as they were under that ‘hood’ and I also saw some who loudly prayed. Ah ambot, I am Catholic, but many times, these “ceremonies” whatever, just perplexes me if at all they are really necessary.
Aw, do you see that other white cloth behind the guard? It is another “Pandong”, this time facing a framed picture of Mama Mary. What does one do there? Well, am not too sure what for, but like in front of the rebulto, people would also cloak themselves with that white cloth while facing that picture. Some also wipe their hankies on that picture frame but what you see in the pic is a baby’s bib that that woman is swiping all over that picture frame. Surely that frame does not need any cleaning anymore! Yeah I know, that bib is probably of a sick baby.

Needless to say, anywhere there is a thing or two to do like the above, there is always a “slot” for devotees to drop money (aw, "donation" daw proper term dyan)!

One thing more, all these places people line up for inside the monastery, no type of footwear is allowed. Socks are fine, and I think should even be encouraged so as not to share any unwanted communicable whatevers from people who have those hehe.

This pink house is new to my eyes. Not sure if I just did not see this the last time I was here. But there was no one to ask, so I still do not know what it is.

The 35-peso candles? Ah, at least they’re still the same. And how cute to see that couple buying candles. You and I would know they’re not Filipinos! Knowing the likes of them that live in this country, I focused on them for some time, just watching what they would do next. Yeah yeah, I was thinking they might go around selling those candles for profit (hehe how wicked my imagination)! But I can assure you they did not. I watched them light the colored candles they bought, over at the designated box for lighting them candles!

The bell and the coins near the CR? Still the same, only that the water is now green mossy murky but still strewn at the bottom with a lot of coins!

The decorative bridge that links the toilets to the eating huts? Ah still the same cozy area shaded by tall trees. There are more Koi down at the artificial pond and murky too! But I think that's just how the fish want it, right?

Oh, I saw this rebulto on my first visit. Only now the area around it has been spruced up with more flowering plants, concrete sheep and hand rails. Yep, now a photo op area for devotees. This is right at the corner (intersection) where you turn right towards the main building, or go straight to the toilets passing by the masahistas.

This is the cab we took going there and back. Contract price P1,500. But yep, we of course invited the driver to have lunch with us (on us) at some native restaurant in Carcar.

Hmm, I may not be totally sold to the things people do in this place other than kneel and pray at the pews in the chapel, but come to think of it, I like going there, just to see how its changing! And of course, I 'highly suspect', this is not the last time am heading this way. Wanna bet?!

Ok then. Let’s go somewhere else next!


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