Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Superman

Happy Easter, folks!

I know that I've already said in one of my previous entries that I'm not religious, and I stand by that, but I do respect the significance of today to faithful Christians around the world. I would know. For eleven years of my life, from first to seventh grade and first to fourth year high school, I received a highly sheltered, Catholic school education and my parents brought us up instilling in us sisters the basic teachings and values, but somehow I just didn't take to the rituals and practices. And this was long before I went to UP, mind you. I'm not exactly spiritual either, but I do believe in a God, I believe that there are things that transcend man and I get the precepts of love and compassion and doing good, but I just don't feel that Church-going is necessarily the way for me to live out my own "faith." Ever since I can remember, I've never felt connected to God in Church. I feel God's grace in my life and certainly, I'm very blessed, but I don't feel that it has anything to do with the Church as an institution. You could say then that I'm a nominal Catholic, or only on paper. Meaning that, I value my faith over a pretense of religion, and to be honest, that's how I feel when I'm in Church. I feel like I'm a hypocrite when I'm at mass and I can't feel anything even remotely spiritual when I'm there and all my kneeling and responding to the priest are all contrived and empty and it means nothing to me. I am by no means casting aspersions on observant Catholics, if anything I admire them. If it works for them, if they feel a genuine sense of community and belonging in Church and they get spiritual nourishment and they feel closer to God, good for them. I don't have a problem with Christianity, or any organized religion for that matter. Please understand that I'm just saying it (religion) doesn't work for me. I prefer to be the best person I can be, and try to pursue happiness, as a way of showing and expressing my thanks for my life, and to me that does not involve going to Church. This is just my personal belief, but I respect and I really do admire those Christians who are true in their faith. In admitting my own lack of religion, it is my own way of staying true to myself.

But of course, as much as I would rather live and let live, meaning stay away from Church, my  conservative mother fears for our souls. Papa is a faithful Christian, but he's also a very self-determining man, and his faith is in Jesus, not the do's and don't's as preached by the Church, so to him not going to Church is no big deal because he's confident in his faith. My youngest sister is still impressionable, so she just follows Mama. My younger sister and I however are the bad eggs and we have to be dragged to Church, short of kicking and screaming.

IMG_0495 Anyway, we had plans to go to Tagaytay for lunch today, and we were all under the impression that was it. So we all got ready and left bright and early. Mama stopped by De Los Santos to discharge one of her patients first and we proceeded to Tagaytay after that. There was hardly any traffic since most people haven't returned to Manila yet, and it was pretty much smooth driving, so my sister and I fell asleep on the road. Along the way to Tagaytay, we passed by Santa Rosa, Laguna, and Mama woke us up. Apparently Mama was ambushing us with an unplanned visit to Church to hear mass. We were already at the St. John Bosco Parish, so we could do nothing but obey and keep the peace. And I sat through the mass, listening, I didn't just tune out, because sometimes I really do try to make an effort to find it in me to relate it to my life, but not an ounce of me found it relevant to my personal experiences. Right, well, what can you do? I just don't have it in me and it isn't as if I haven't given it a chance.

So there. The 10-11 am mass we attended was pretty packed, and the priest ran overtime because of a lengthy (incoherent) homily. The Church has a nice mural, and actually, my aunt got married there 2 years ago, but at the time it wasn't air-conditioned yet. That was the only upside.

After that, we headed for Tagaytay, and though we didn't encounter anyIMG_0499 traffic in Manila or at SLEX, going to Tagaytay we were surprised by the heavy traffic, that seemingly came from out of nowhere. It seems that people on their way back to Manila were making one last stop at Tagaytay to maximize the holidays. We made it there, past noon and by then we were so hungry. We had a choice between the nearby Pancake House, Teriyaki Boy, Carlo's Pizza, Cebu Lechon and a few smaller restaurants, but we tried a new restaurant called the Mile Hi Diner. It kind of got us (me) curious, and besides we've never eaten there before, so why not? I'll tell you why not. It's was ridiculously overpriced for small portions and average tasting food. No, it wasn't bad at all, it was pretty tasty (for hungry people), but it was too pricey. Lesson learned. They did have good service, with very attentive and polite waiters and waitresses and the food was ready pretty quickly. They also have a nice interior and ambience though. They had all these posters of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and other pin-ups, and they played retro music and they offer a wide selection of burgers, and drinks, and other appetizers, but now that we've tried it once, I don't think I'll be going back there again. Overrated.










After finishing our meal, we went to the back where there was a view overlooking Taal. It was a bit rainy though so we didn't stay long. It was just nice to feel a cool breeze.

I tried to get some nice pictures of Taal, but it was hard to hold an umbrella with one hand and a camera with the other and it was really foggy, so it was hard to focus with my camera. These are all I got. The first one on the left has a nice bird on it, I didn't notice that while I was taking the picture. On the right, I used the Super Vivid setting, and it made the color well, vivid, but the haze was just too thick over Taal, and there was this troll of a cloud just blocking the sunlight.








I took this picture of my parents. Aren't they cute? But Papa got this cool picture of us under the rain. He's such a trooper.









Photo0319Again, Church was a surprise attack on Mama's part, so I dressed with a Sunday Tagaytay lunch in mind, which was a sleeved dress with a lace detail and sandals. Here's a little face of the day (in other words, camwhoring shot) that I took on my cell phone before we left the house. Anyway, on our way back to Manila, the highlight of the trip was buying fresh fruits, and of course, going to Good Shepherd for ube and strawberry jam, and buko pie! The ube alone makes up for all the discomfort of sitting in Church in a short skirt knowing all the old ladies are silently admonishing you with their disapproving eyes.


When we got past the bottle-neck traffic at Tagaytay, the rest of the way back went without a hitch. Or so we thought. My sisters and I were sleeping soundly (again) but closer to home we would fall in and out of a light sleep. Near Katipunan we heard a noise and thought it was just a rock, but when we were at Commonwealth, there was another noise, but this time it was much louder and a lot more jarring. That really woke us up. It sounded and felt like something hitting the underside of the car. We drove on a small distance when the car started to get shaky, as if we were on a rough dirt road instead of cement. That's when Papa suspected we had blown a tire and were running flat. I suggested we go to the side and stop the car to inspect the damage. We were right in the middle of Commonwealth, but thankfully, there weren't the usual number of cars, so we managed to get there safely. It was still light out and we stopped at a sidewalk with lots of people (busybodies and nosy people) passing by, but at least it was in a less likely to be held up and robbed type of spot along the road. Mama and Papa got down and saw that indeed the right side rear tire was flat. This morning we had the air checked at the gas station before leaving, but we saw this hole in the tire that you could poke your finger through, it was really punctured! In any case, we had a spare tire and there was no cause for panic since we had come to a safe stop. Papa knows how to change a tire and it would have taken a longer time to call for emergency roadside assistance, so they set about doing it.

For some reason or another, they had a hard time using the carjack and getting the spare tire from under the car. Papa suggested that we call the insurance hotline and that we all go home ahead of him, and that he would stay with the car and wait for help to arrive. I absolutely didn't want to leave Papa alone when it was about to get dark, and thanks to my quick thinking, I spotted a nearby vulcanizing shop that was just walking distance away, and suggested we could get help from there. Mama went for help and came back with a grizzly looking man who took a look and started fiddling around. He used their shop's carjack and was finished in no time. Mama thanked him and tipped him for his trouble. And we went on our merry way home, glad we were all unharmed.

But this just got me thinking. From the time I was a little girl, until now, even, I've always looked up to Papa. He's my hero, my Superman. He could do anything, fix anything, make everything  better. He's our all-around handy-man, plumber, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, you name it. We're all girls so well all look to him for manly attributes. And he's never disappointed me. That's why, even when we were all shocked by the noise and the flat tire, we weren't afraid, I wasn't afraid, because I've always been, and always will be confident in Papa, and I believe he can do anything for us. If it had been just Mama driving, then that's the time we would panic. But Papa always keeps a level head and he got us to safety. But it occurred to me while the other man helped replace the tire with a spare, that Papa's still just a man, after all, and not everything's under his control, even if he's the coolest man ever. And now that I'm older I should be more reliable, I should know what to do at times like that, I should be able to help myself because Papa's not always around to protect us. It's not just knowing how to change a tire, especially being a driver, myself, but in general becoming more responsible, because I want both Mama and Papa to be able to count on me and also have that confidence in me that I'll be able to take care of myself.

This is just a realization I had. It's at times like this, narrowly missing an accident and making it home safe and sound with my family, that I feel God's blessings in my life. Not in Church, not in singing hymns and praises, but in feeling glad to be alive and wanting to make it count by growing as a person.

Nonetheless, Happy Easter, everyone!

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