Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hidden in Plain Sight

We went to Manila last Tuesday to catch up with some friends. It was about the time when preparations for the feast of the Black Nazarene reaches fever pitch. Actual feast day was yesterday, January 9 (my son's birthday too). I watched TV reports on the long procession as I did year after year. It never cease to amaze me how this unbelievable 'sea of people' show their veneration for the life-sized, dark-skinned, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ genuflected on the weight of his cross. I am always inclined to draw a parallel with out people's hapless state and how they truly resonate with the image of the suffering Saviour.
Photos from My Sari-sari Store
Then something else strikes me. There is actually rhythm and grace in the frenzied pulling of the Black Nazarene’s wood and steel float as it is processioned along the streets of Quiapo from mid- afternoon until well into the night. Bearers take the cue from every push and every pull on the a 50-meter rope throughout the procession. Everyone reaches out to touch the rope, but each one mindful of the need to let go immediately to allow the float to move on.

There is our lesson -- like a treasure hidden in plain sight. Selflessness. Respect for one another. It waits for the day when we can fully apply it to our daily lives. Perhaps then, our nation will have been well on its way to the destiny it rightfully deserves.


Sidney said...

Thank you for the plug!
Much appreciated.
By the way I just published some addition pictures of the 2008 Procession of the Black Nazarene.

To touch the rope is not for the faint at heart!

restless_river said...

Hey sidney, the pleasure is mine. I've been a lurker on your page for so long. ha ha !

jio said...

Hello, I see you do have the pictures from Sid here (a great photoblogger in Phil).

I still do wonder why we still have this yearly procession. I'm not a devotee, but I'm always at awe at the fervent faith of our people flocking at this time in Quiapo. My flatmate has gone there back in Phil for vacation and I think has gone there in the procession as he mentioned it to us.

Around 2.6M people flocked and attended the procession. Now that is really something for the books... around half already the population here in Singapore.

restless_river said...

Hiya Jio!

2.6 million people yea, amazing ! our people relate so much to that depiction of sacrifice and endurance. I dont see that as negative though. Rather, to my mind,it shows the depth of our national character and how we see life on earth as duty, painful duty though it may be at times...they say we are too fanatical? I'd rather that we are, as I couldnt care for the world of those who do not know what they believe in.