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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 9, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

It's Black Nazarene Day

Ninfa Leonardia

Today is the day when the traffic will absolutely stop in portions of Metro Manila. This is because pedestrians, barefoot ones, at that, will clog its major streets as they follow the route of the annual procession of the image of the Black Nazarene, a representation of Jesus Christ, with a blackened complexion, that continues to draw millions of devotees to Quiapo Church and to join the long, long procession that will wind around the city until its return at dawn to its stand inside the famous church.

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Those who are not of the faith may not understand what seems to be the frenzy of devotees who expose themselves both to rain or shine, most of them barefoot at that, just to walk along the way they believe approximates the walk of Jesus Himself to Calvary. Indeed, it does seem incredible that people, literally from all walks of life, turn out to participate in the ritual, and do so year after year. Some say they do it in the hope of being blessed with a petition granted, others to give thanks for having received blessings sought, and prayers answered. Whatever their motives, it is clear that they are motivated by a faith so strong, it continues to grow as the year pass.

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Those who can only watch on TV what will be going on today, will see how the participants, both who walk along and those who serve by clinging to the “carroza”, this time a huge vehicle carrying the statue with dozens of men on it accommodating those in the ground by catching their handkerchiefs, towels, mantillas, scarves, and other items, to rub on the hands, arms or face of the image, and toss them back to those who threw them. I once had the good fortune to actually watch the procession, and wondered about the helpfulness of the men on the vehicle, and the honesty of those on the ground, as there never was an incident when someone grabbed somebody else's object!

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One could only wish that such honesty, helpfulness and bonhomie existed the whole year through. But then, maybe the Black Nazarene, after its annual exposure to the thousands surely, even millions, watching and meditating upon its passage, also gives his blessings to them all and grants their petitions, or the forbearance to accept what His Father's will for them must be.

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Meanwhile, one can just imagine the consternation of the people living in Florida when suddenly snow began to fall on their state. When people talk about Florida, they think about a sunny place where vacationists love to go because they can avoid the cold in the other states. But now, after 29 years, snow is falling again there, and this must have caught the residents unaware and without the proper cold weather outfits! I now regret very much that I did not go there upon the invitation of my dear cousin, Danny Corral, who was formerly manager of one of its top hotels. I am glad, though, that he is no longer there, having his pick and choice of hotel managing offers.

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That is why we have reason to worry when we hear talks and reports about climate change. Will such a change mean that even a tropical country like ours could someday find itself being snowed down on? Heaven forbid! Maybe city folk may be able to adjust by installing heaters and getting the proper attire, but what about those in the farms, mountainsides and rural areas living in thatched, or nipa houses? Surely thousands, even millions, will freeze to death within a day! Maybe we should start including in our daily prayers petitions for climate change not to affect us that way.

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In the meantime, who can predict what is going to happen politically in our country? People talk about a shift to Federalism as if it were a sure thing already. Maybe it is because there is now an impression that “What Rody wants, Rody gets”. Remember that he hit the ground crying “Federalism” as soon as he decided to run for president? Now we don't know how our lawmakers will set that up, because until now there is no strong indication whether we will go through a con-con (constitutional convention) or a con-ass (constitutional assembly) which place the decision in the hands of Congress.

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They claim it should be Con-ass because Con-con may cost the country some P7 billion. But the latter is more democratic, why should we leave the decision only to an assembly that we suspect (don't you?) to be under the thumb of one person? If we can spend billions on a war over one city, surely we can allocate that much to enable our people to have a say in the changing of the highest law of the land, which is our Constitution? What should that say about our priorities?*

 

 

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