Quizzical Quasi-Quotation

One of my childhood memories surrounds over the stripping and plaiting of palaspas or fronds freshly taken from coconut or buri palm, intricately woven into thousand an one designs, and brought to church for blessing during Palm Sundays to commemorate the entry of Christ in Jerusalem. These were then made as decks, as religious reminders, as talismanic symbols in almost every Catholic Filipino home, business establishment and vehicle. The ubiquity of these palm fronds reminds Philippines, the only Christian nation in Asia, of its being second in the most number of Catholic followers in the world. Funny to note that these drying, browning sacred things are burned during Ash Wednesday and use to remind Catholics of their evanescent humanity with a cross from the soot marked on their foreheads.

At one time, routine Catholicism bored me. And it crazed me over “I believe in God.” statement; weather I really affirm it or simply quote it. This made me miss one of those Palm Sundays I yearly await and left me writing over my bed the following:

You lie supine on the upper board of your wooden bed, jackfruit double deck to be exact. You eye up the fluorescent bulb drop hanging from the sky of your twelve-year old room but you shape out the quad-centennial dome of Magellan's shrine. Who was Magellan? Whine back your first Cebu stopover to this sailor who planted the cross on your country. Through him, you then and now make the forehead, bosom, left and right shoulder tapping gesture with your right middle and index fingers. As you believed.

Later in your shirt jack years you were taught that he was an enemy of the locals, the first boss of intruders from the far west. His daring venture to the unknown, though tainted in the battle of Mactan, is still idolatric even you abhor what drove him to. Certainly he never took those wealth and power, but he posthumously homed prestige after the remains of his fleet proved that the world is round. An idea you believe.

Now you are on another voyage. This time with a one-spirit army to a place that none of your specie or the Internet could conclude exists. Not one proof could quake the earth and the universalize faith. If there was, then it had been. You made an unscientific step of jumping into conclusion that the people learned to doubt because of the absence of the backings to the basics of all, such as the A-Z of the cosmos, the inert velocity of the starting material, the sub-quantum precision of things, the perfect superlative. You wet up and down your cracked lips, el ninod by the absence of answer. But you still believe.

You shook head to the industry of past people in weaving their respective hold that completely influence their living. Some debated: nature is the origin, the means and the ends. Others find contemplation as benefactors of altruism. But you? You just don't know why you kneel head down, or you stood up arms wide and open your mouth for an Alleluia, to dinagyang your own stand. You simply pull yourself and enjoy the early to rise for nine rooster masses, the hand scalding candles in the Lenten and Easter processions and the vomiting-wheel ride above the lake of balloons and pop corn vendors during town fiestas. You even once took a role in those plays at the end of May – the Santacruzan, the search for the Holy Cross.

And you seek a goal in your voyage greater than this prose: To seek for the Cross again. What's that? Where's that? When is that? You don't know. But you believe.

That was when I was about 18. That was when my writing was still immature. That was a Palm Sunday – a day for reaffirmation of faith. Today is another Palm Sunday. Today is March 16 – the alleged date the first Europeans headed by Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. To all those who believe in God, Who ever He is to you – rediscover your faith in him today.

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