Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back to the Pilgrim City

I could have just waited another month for our semestral break and save all the money and effort in going back and forth to the province. But I've already allotted a part of my allowance for the fare and luckily enough, there wasn't much schoolwork for that weekend. So I pushed through with my plans of going home in Naga. It's September, you see. And on that particular September weekend, the fluvial procession of Our Lady of Pe├▒afrancia, lovingly called Ina by the Bicolanos and devotees, was scheduled to take place.

Festival at the Pilgrim City
My experience of attending fluvial processions of Ina is always unique every time. The first one was way back during my high school year. I was with Mama and Papa then. All three of us were new to the tradition and so we didn't know where to go or what to do. And so, we merely followed the flock of people. We ran (yes, feel free to imagine!) from bridge to bridge, hoping to catch a glimpse of Our Lady's passing retinue. Needless to say, the riverbanks and bridges were packed with people and we couldn't see a thing. Not seeing Ina can already be a reason to feel down, but there was just something about hearing all those people present shouting "Viva Divino Rostro! Viva la Virgen!" in unison while waving their handkerchiefs in the air which moved me. Clearly, it was the voice of faith, filled with conviction and passion. It was, then, that I became a devotee.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Post Reunion Thoughts

As more years slip away, the less frequent our high school batch gets together. Perhaps it's because we're getting busier, or the rendezvous is just a little far and inconvenient for some. But I can't shake off the possibility that it is also because we are having fewer and fewer things in common. Each one has walked his own path, met a lot of other people and had his own share of experiences. From that little part of the world which used to be our everything, we learned to branch out and discovered vast new places we'd never thought existed. Ideas filled the nooks and crannies of our mind, numerous events in our lives since graduation day gradually shaped us, and, unknowingly, we changed a lot since. The overlapping area in the Venn diagram of our similarities and interests grew smaller, the things we can talk about after a long time of not seeing each other became scarce. And during the reunion, when the inevitable awkward pause happens, we either frantically rummage our brains with a new topic to discuss, or just submit to the silence and wonder however did we grow so far apart.

Thank God there's still the memories we shared in our four years of high school. We could always come back to that. Although the reunion is characterized by usually starting off with inquiring what's new with you, it always ends in reminiscing what used to be for us. Exactly the logic behind our "out-of-place or OP game" every after a get-together. In this game, we group ourselves according to our sections back in high school--even Elective classes included! And it never fails to excite even the most unenthusiastic person in the group (who has no choice but yield to the group's whims lest he wanted to be "OP" and eternally branded as buzz kill).

Change is already a given but, at the end of the day, the Venn diagram will not cease to intersect.