The Virgin, Chuchi and Me

This was the day Chuchi my friend, and I went to Antipolo City to visit the image of the Virgen of Antipolo. It has been a long, long time that I wanted to see HER.

Ayat, another friend of mine used to coax/cajole me to make the trip. I don't really understand why I was not able to find the time to go.

Perhaps, I am not feeling very well these days. Meaning I do not feel too good about myself. Angsty.

You see, when I am really down all I do is chant the name of Jesus and the Virgen Mary. I pray the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary. It never really fails me. I feel better after the ritual. Today, I decided to go and so here we are on our way there.

The trip wasn't long or uncomfortable at all. Sure, it was 2:00 in the afternoon. The ultra violet rays were piercing through the skin. We were getting sun baked. From where we stood, a lot of passenger jeepneys were plying to the SIMBAHAN.

The trip was exhilarating actually. Lots of trees and nature ambiance along the way. Except for the ear shattering sounds made by the jeep's radio speakers, everything went well. The jeep carried around 25 passengers excluding the driver and the conductor who found himself comfortably hanging at the jeep's tailend to collect 25 pesos from each passenger. Chuchi and I paid dutch treat.

The heat didn't stop me from feeling drowsy. I covered my eyes with my hanky and dozed I did. We knew we were there because a throng of people filled the narrow streets leading to I guess, the Church. Tricycle and jeepney stands were all over the place. Barkers announced assuringly that they could take the disembarking jeepney passengers to practically anywhere they so please. Service to a T.

Chuchi and I decided to just walk along. We're sure we are going to be led there anyway. I was really amazed to see a totally different Antipolo Church. 30 years or so ago, I was here with my family. My father had an office outing one summer and so that was the IT site. Antipolo for the mass and Hinulugan Taktak for the picnic. The waterfalls then were still a sight to behold. That was what I remember. The place was full of revelers, picnickers, tourists from out of town. Who knows? My young mind was kind of excited. It was not often we had outings like that.

Today, I understand the waterfalls no longer exists. Worse, I heard it was some kind of a dumping ground for garbage. Pity!!!

But hey, I am supposed to talk about the Antipolo mass experience, am I not? So let me say this. Hearing mass in this historic church did something to me. I just can't seem to figure out what. But suffice it to say, I felt like I was cleansed. I am sure very few can relate to this amalgam of a feeling. Whatever! I am sooooooooooh glad I did the visit.

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