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ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Dreamer in the Rye

April 14, 2006

If I were in the Philippines, the following (or several of these) would have comprised my activities and itinerary for this Lenten weekend:

1. I would have been working my ass off at the office. I was known to be an ergomaniac (make it, ergophiliac), working even during Holidays, not because I was after the additional pay but because I just love working especially when what I am working on is something that gives me satisfaction—like writing or researching or giving training sessions and orienting staff members. (I used to be a Coding Supervisor cum trainor and manual/newsletter editor at Quorum-Lanier Philippines, 1996–1999; and then a contributing editor of scholastic textbooks and magazines at Diwa Scholastic Press Inc., 2000–2003.)

2. Besides, working in the office during holidays is peaceful and quiet; for obviously, only a few go to work.

3. If I were not in the mood to work, I would be at home, relaxing while listening to New Wave music in full blast, with my mom insisting that I observe the Lenten season by not making so much noise. I'd surely respond by lowering the volume a bit, but I'd still listen to music for all I care.

4. In the afternoon, my sisters and I and the kids might decide to visit churches, just to feel the Lenten air. I love going to church not because I love to pray or be with "religious" people but primarily because being inside a church gives me a sense of personal spirituality. To tell you frankly, I'd rather go to church when there's no mass going on or when there's not much people inside. I just want to kneel or sit there; observe the church's interior design, the statues of the saints and Mother Mary and, of course, the Jesus Christ on the cross above the altar; listen to the echoing sounds reverberating on the walls; or reminisce my highschool days when I used to be a mass lector and a member of the choir.

But, to tell you the truth, I'm disappointed with people who go to church virtually every freaking occasion but still treat others like shit. I also abhor churchgoers who couldn't seem to concentrate with the entire ceremony, talking with their companions or busy checking their cellular phones.

There are also those who do not finish the ceremony, who go right after the communion rites. I'd prefer going to church—not regularly—but only when I really feel like it; so when I attend mass I really finish it to the end, to the final hymn. Oh, and how I love singing church songs. For one, I can practice my vocal cords, then, singing church songs remind me of my childhood days.

Speaking of church, here's a list of churches each of which has its significant chapter in my book of memories:

San Ildefonso Church, in Hen. Pio del Pilar, Makati:

Having resided on Cuangco Street in Makati from 1971 (the year I was born) to 1992, I surely had attended thousands of masses at that church. I also joined a few church organizations there. When in the mood to play, my childhood friends and I would spend the whole day playing in that church's vicinity. So many processions I had attended there too. I even remember its parochial priest during my childhood, in the '70s, named Father Rizzato, a balding (could be Italian) priest who had the penchant to smack children on the head when he felt like it. And to think that he was a well-respected priest in the community. Luckily, I was not one of those clueless children who got a dose of Father Rizzato's sick pranks. And there was this gossip about his keeping an affair with a teacher at the nearby Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School (where I attended a year, fourth grade). In fact, I still remember the name of that teacher. I knew where she used to live. She was even a friend of a friend of my mom. But I would no longer mention her name. That would give nothing anyway.

Our Lady of Sorrows, on F.B. Harrison, Pasay City:

While we were residing on Cuangco in Makati, we also had a restaurant and a house on F.B. Harrison Avenue near Santa Scholastica Street, in front of a dilapidated law school known as Lacson College. It was during the mid-'70s. I was baptized at that church. Looking at my baptismal certificate when I was already quite older, I saw that I had only one godfather and one godmother—Godofredo Aranzamendez Jr., a cousin of my mom, and Winnie something (not Pooh), an officemate of my mom during those days. I remember when I was a kid, I used to bug my mom about it. I was like, "Mom, how come my friends have lots of godparents, while I...." The reason I didn't get many presents during special occasions when I was a kid. When I grew much older, it didn't matter anyway. It no longer bothered me big time. Who cares, anyway, if I have only a pair of godparents, both of whom I last saw in the early '80s. I just wonder now, once in a while, whatever happened to them, especially to Ninang Winnie, with whom we'd lost contact since then. Ninong Godo, as far as I know, is still in the United States; but so what? I'm not even sure if he thinks of me once in a while. And Ninang Winnie, I'm sure that she thinks of my mom once in a while, because they were friends back then; so this means that she thinks of me once in a while. I just hope that she could know that I grew up to be a writer after all, as what my father used to tell her about me when I was a small kid--that I was a little Jose Rizal or something.

...which brings me many godchildren do I have anyway? Oh my! Perhaps most of these kids would think about me someday, the way I think today about my missing godparents.

Let me see...

Cha-cha, a daughter of my auntie Emma, whom I last saw during my despedida lunch in 2003. I think I'll just give her a beautiful gift next year when I return home.

Tin-tin, a daughter of my cousin Joel. Another gift next year. Don't worry.

A son of a former officemate, named Bong, at Quorum. Well, this one will someday certainly think about me the way I think about Ninang Winnie. The last time I saw Bong was in 2000, a chance bump on each other at the Boni Avenue MRT station. We were no longer officemates at the time. This is the problem when we get godparents from our pool of officemates or acquaintances. They will just soon disappear when the only bond that connects you with each other is work. So, if you will ask for my suggestion, I'd advice you to get godparents only from close relatives and best friends. That way, no matter how far apart from each other your lives had become, the connection will always be there.

Another, a son of my friend Jayge, with whom I am in a regular correspondence to this day. At least, Jayge is someone like me who give high regard for relations and friendship. I'll certainly give, too, that kid a gift.

Don't worry, my godchildren, I may be too far away and had seemingly lost contact with all of you and will definitely just a memory for all of you in the future when you're old, but one thing I can promise to all of you—I'll certainly be thinking of each one of you once in a while, like what I'm doing right now. Will you think of me, too? I hope so. I care, of course, if you think of me or not, even only occasionally.

That's why I get pissed off when people try to get as many godparents for their children. What were they thinking? Were they expecting many gifts for their children come special occasions? For me, the fewer the better. As in, quality over quantity.

Oh well, my eyes are tired and my back is aching from having to stay in front of the computer since after lunch. I'll just continue my stories later...

But before I go, one last thing...
Many people say that we must be extra careful during Good Friday and Black Saturday because accidents are likely to happen...

That's so bullshit.

Accidents happen every day, not only during Lenten season or All Saints' / All Souls' days.

If you want to know what I want to do right now...well, I think I want to just lie on the bed for a while and read a book. Or perhaps listen to music.

I'm alone in the room and the utter silence is killing me. I miss home. I miss home badly.

To tell you for the last time, If I were home right now, I'd probably be just home, listening to music and then later in the afternoon I'd bug my mom and sisters and the kids that we go to the mall (in case the malls are open), and then visit a church so I could stare at its ceiling in seeming catatonia.

However, I'm not home. I'm in Canada. So I couldn't be with my mom and sisters and the kids and maybe visit a church. What I'm going to do, anyway, is start reading a new book, Goblins in the Castle by Bruce Coville, a light read. I'm giving my brain a short break. I just finished J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye last night.

' want me to tell you what the book was all about? Oh, well, not now, maybe later. I'm just not in the mood to write some more. Besides, I might have been boring you too much already.

Catch you later, rye.


  • At Sunday, April 16, 2006 4:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello Alfie,

    Firstly...happy easter!! I just came down from both Mt. Makiling and Mt.'s what I've been doing for a good almost 6 years now...consider it as my's not really to relax becoz how can you relax when you are in an overwhelming journey to questions that seek answers even if years have already's a journey wherein you do not only question the faith based on the series of events that transpired in your's a journey wherein you ask forgiveness to those whom you have transgressed either accidentally or otherwise....right? It is also the time that you observe the lenten season about the people and the things that go around you not to gawk nor judge but see some kind of light in the things that they do and the beings that they have become....

    Anyways, we are in exactly the same thoughts when it comes to church goers such as those and believe least you were never accused of being a me who is constantly being accused of one just because of my open judgement because of such....worse, I was even accused of being falsely righteous...on my end...hey! Do unto others what others want to do unto you....

    It is not that I am justfiying but there a crime in both observation and observance? I would reply..."my war was never with God or the church but with people such as them"....and then clam up before uttering anything regretful....

    This is not a boring topic to tell's just that some people would not dare talk about it....

    Thank you for sharing this really....and to this day....for anyone that reads this...I still am a roman catholic....which brings me to another case in point....people would mean christian...then I would, roman catholic...and then I would somehow engage into a lecture of sorts but again...that is another subject altogether....

    skyray is love,

  • At Sunday, April 16, 2006 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous Eugene Tecson said…


    happy easter! cool topic bro... just like you, i've been to san ildefonso church in pio del pilar, pasay city because we used to reside in pio del pilar way back when i was in grade school... oh and by the way, i also miss the double-decker love bus that i get to ride from malibay.

    kinda awkward for me to celebrate my birthday during lent... april 13 was maundy thursday... hehehe... =P

    other churches that i go to during the lenten season are sto. domingo church in quezon city, st. peter parish church along commonwealth avenue, good shepherd parish church in west fairview, holy redeeemer parish church near araneta avenue, espiritu santo parochial church in tayuman, and parish of the holy sacrifice in UP Diliman. During Lent, I go to these churches either to attend the Recollection, or to hear the Seven Last Words.

    The Palm Sunday and Salubong, though are the highlights for me, as they are more festive days... =)



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