8.6.06

The Virgin of Antipolo Today

The last time I visited the Virgen of Antipolo was ages ago. Back when I was sooooooo much younger. It was a trip made around this same time of the year to celebrate summer. Back then, weather patterns were more predictable. Summer is summer, not a drop of rain.

Riding on a public conveyance to Antipolo gave us a good look at the scenery. Felt like taking a short trip to the province. Lots of trees and plants along the way. If only the radio didn't so much produce those head cracking music. And I thought that there was a law banning loud music blaring on passenger jeeps.

I knew we had arrived. The roads had suddenly turned dense with tricycles, jeeps, and vendors by the wayside. We alighted and I asked my friend if she knew the way. She acknowledges that it was a mere walking distance. We'll just have to feel our way. And so we walked turning to the left here, and turning to the right there. And here we are.

Obviously, we looked like people who hadn't been there for a while. As we came inside the Church, on my right was a small room with a very big Christ carrying a very big cross. This was the Black Nazarene. I entered and looked at the other images. I took the Black Nazarene's right hand and arm. I was hoping He would bless me despite His heavy load. But I too had my own personal crosses. Perhaps not as heavy as what the world has destined Him to carry but I am human aren't I. And Jesus is supposed to be God the son. No contest if you ask me. I am just kidding. Don't get mad Lord.

The Virgen remains beautiful from where we sat. I couln't help but marvel at the seemingly vast expanse of her power over me. I felt dazed but happy at the same time. I am genuinely glad I took this trip. Entering the Virgen's domain made me feel like a speck of dust ready to be swept by a cleaning rag.

Yes! I have returned. It felt so comforting as I knelt and I didn't know how long we stayed that way. It surprised me. I didn't feel tired at all. I looked up to admire Her. I almost forgot to say Hi! to Jesus on the Cross.

Although the place looks very different today I felt like I belonged. Here I am a long lost daughter returning home. My cares and worries before I came to the shrine felt lighter. Bliss! Around the church were numerous food and native ware vendors who literally shoved their goods down your throat. We took some pictures of the beautiful Virgen and the church facade. So much stuff to buy - suman, matamis na mani, piyaya, all filipino native delicacies.

I feel good.

Before visiting the Virgen I was hoping for enlightenment. I asked for a message, hoping my question will be answered and the Virgen has spoken!!!

Goodbye for now but I will be back!!!