It's Black Saturday today and aside from New Year's Day this day reminds me a lot about my childhood....
I considered myself blessed to have ancestors who are devout Catholics (I am not against any religions-- my bestfriend from college was Iglesia ni Cristo and from law school a muslim lady).. It is just that there is something in the Catholic Faith that amazes me until now...
Growing up in Masbate with my Lolo Isiong and Lola Aring means having to learn Spanish religious songs at a very early age, (remember No Mas Amor Que el Tu Yu o corazon divino-) this we sang every Friday at my lola's altar before the image of Sacred Heart.
As soon as the 6PM church bell rings-- dapat nasa altar na lahat for the Angelus-- and in case it would be too far for us to run upstairs to the Daku na Balay-wherever we are, we have to stop (even in the middle of the street- to pray the angelus-- this was the moment in the time when all vehicles stops to pay homage to the Angelus---
Opps! did I say too far to run upstairs?-- well this seldom happens, because it is demanded from us that at 6PM if we are in town--DAPAT nasa Daku na Balay kami during this time--- unless we are brave enough to face Lola Aring's "tumagiktik" or the most dreared "luhod sa altar with asin or monggo beans".. he he
A discipline (corporal punishment to some) which I am lucky I am exposed to--
Attending mass every Sunday is a must- at the onset our family resides in a rented house in Danao St. about 10mins walk from the Cathedral- we lived there until 1980 when we transferred to our own house at Celestina Punta Nursery- which became our family residence up to the present.
Our family residence was about 2kilometers from the Cathedral while my Lola's house is just a cartwheel away from the church--- tatlong tumbling lang nasa church ka na.. he he.. my Lola attends the 1st mass of the day-- sya pa ata nagbubukas ng church (peace Lola) our family's schedule were the 7:30AM masses- known as the mass for the whole family...
After the mass it is a must to pass by at Daku na Balay or Malaking Bahay(our ancestral house) to make mano po to Lola and Lolo and to give Tita Nomie a kiss on the cheek (our spinster aunt- we fondly call her TaNoms)--- konting kwentuhan meryenda uwi na before lunchtime.. Sometimes my parents would leave me at Daku na Balay to play with my cousins-- kaya lang minsan ayaw ko kase meron Time To Sleep-- he he
TaNoms imposes a siesta time-- if we do not sleep "maingay" and "baby dangdang" will surely get us---
"Maingay" hates noisy and rowdy kids, she or he (malamang she) resides in the ceiling of the "banyo"-- her way of getting out is the hole in the ceiling- (actually happens to be the ventilation) it is a black hole on top of the toilet bowl- imagine yourself sitting on the bowl doing your thing- and looking up to the ceiling-- expecting "maingay" to come out at any time-- he he
On the other hand- Baby Dangdang is the kaingin fire on the mountain (hence the name dang dang--in masbateno it means-the heat of the fire) usually seen at the "bangerahan" area of the kitchen often during late afternoons when the town is at dusk---
During "time to Sleep" -- banig mats were laid out at the living area for us to sleep-and a sumptous meryenda awaits us upon waking up- as hyper as we are ang hirap matulog ng pilit and we sometimes "fake" our sleep- our Tanoms would check our eyes for evidence that we indeed slept-- the evidence?--- "muta" gross isn't it? but mas gross po un ginagawa namin para magkaroon ng "fake muta" ha ha--
upon waking up- we will roll the banig mats, and gather the pillows with immaculately white cover (with almidol) and hide them at Lola's room.. Then agawan na sa "kuskos"-- made from coconut husk used to polish the floor-- tapos yehhey!! meryenda na--
Sometimes champorado but oftentimes brewed barako coffee and jacobina cookies-- (in masbate it is plain jobina or jacobines-lol)--
we will either dip the jacobina into the cup of coffee to soften it-- or crush it and ihulog lahat sa kape-- he he-- we will use the spoon to scoop it-- the coffe is hot enough for our "kiddie tongues"-- it's yummy believe me.. he he
I love my childhood so much!!!!
Going back to my blog---
Actually it started on Palm Sunday.. Our Daku na Balay is just a block away from the Cathedral- it has a balcony infront- engulfing the whole facade- very ideal to watch parades and processions (a must see events in our quaint town)..
On Palm Sunday Lola's balcony (we call it her balcony because this is where she tends her roses- american roses at that) will be decked with "palaspas" made by TaNoms from coconut fronds gathered by Lolo's tenants in his farm)...
It is in Lola's balcony where little girls dressed up as angels sings their Alleluias as the church goers passes by...
As Holy Week unfolds- the voices of the " mga para passion" those who sings the passion of Christ fills the "airwaves" of Masbate Town-- with the "vocas" (old fashioned voice speakers)
Holy Wednesday means- us cousins- dressing up for the procession of the "Carosas"- our parents allow us to join the Wednesday procession with our yayas in tow because the route of this procession is not "that long" compared to the Good Friday procession of the Santo Entierro (this is another story)
Our place in the procession is the "carosa" of the Agony in the Graden-- why? uhm we don't know but aside from being it's the first carosa in line (the carosa of San Pedro came much later in years na) it is the only 'carosa' with an angel and according to our parents dapat dun kami kase meron angel..and angels are for kids.. he he (logical po ba)
Joining the procession excites us more than anything else because we got to hold candles throughout the procession ha ha - there is something in the canlde light that fascinates us--- although we know how to pray the Rosary- we were too young then to pray it while walking-- he he
After the procession we end up at Daku na Balay, (raid TaNoms kitchen) and our parents will fetch us from there...
Good Friday means waking up early in the morning for the Via Crusis (Way of the Cross) and the confessions.. I always have that eerie feeling when our family enters the church during Good Fridays-- the cathedral doesn't look the same as regualr days--
The Images of the Saints are all covered up either in white or purple blankets.. at the altar the humongous altar table is put aside and 3 gigantic wooden crosses place in it's stead... accoding to mom's prayer book the scenery resembles that of "golgotha" the place of the skull where Jesus was nailed to the cross---
Via Crusis kept our family in prayer mode-- I was too young to remember all the prayers we utter in each Station but I am not to young to be excited about the act of genuflecting before each station- (because the day after; my butt and Quad muscles will be sore- maybe due to the stretchings during the kneeling, bowing and standing 14times) my mom would often say the pain your feeling right now is just "chicken" to what Jesus had in His on way of the cross...
As usual after the church visit we will pass by Daku na Balay to pay respect to Lolo, Lola TaNOms and other aunts, uncles who are present.
Debate always happen here- because our dad will not allow us to attend the Siete Palabaras (according to him we were to young to understand, and the ceremony is solemn hence not for kids). We end-up listening to the radio the Siete Palabras in the comfort of our home.
At 4PM we are bound to Town (we live in Barrio Sinalikway--he he) when we were much younger we just watch the procession at DBP Branch (the Friday procession takes the other route- it do not pass by at Daku na Balay)..
Sometimes our parents will allow us to have sleep over at Daku na Balay- for us to watch the La Soledad (the late night procession of the Dolorosa)- amidst our deep slumber- we could not miss watching this procession because it is the "noisiest procession"... the sacristan clunking their "matracas" as the procession goes by, will definitely wake up the sleepiest vein you have.. he he
Black Saturday!!!! one of the most anticipated day of the week-- it is because our family had a "panata' handed down from our Apoy's (grand lolas) to offer breakfast meals to the group of 14pious people (12Disciples, Bishop Iligan and Monsignor Caluya).
As early as 3AM Daku na Balay's kitchen would be in chaos (Friday pa lang naka set up na ang long table) the "abuhan" would be busy with crackling fires--- usually a big cauldron with hot water for Lola's hot cocoa is on top of it---
TaNoms will be the one giving orders- to the tenants who came to help- they are in charge in the cooking and cleaning the dishes after..
--to our elder female cousins (Manay Pet, Manay Bing and Ate Nene) coaching them how to serve and all--
--then all the aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives, will soon be trooping in-- it is a must that their arrival should be before that of the Pious people...
--if the female cousins' place is the kitchen- the male cousins are in charged of fetching the Pious people from the Cathedral- the much younger male cousins- will act as look-outs sa balcony sisigaw ng "andito na mga Disipulos na waran pulos"... he he
---if that shout be heard in the house it is now time for everyone to move fast-- and if Lola Aring will hear that -- expect a "tumagiktik" following you-- he he
Anyways, the whole house would be very busy (ours is a big family- that time we are about 30cousins in all) with the yayas chaotic talaga.. some would even find their fingers tinkering the grand piano--- and if Lola Aring will hear a note coming from the piano- halaka! you will surely hear " shhh puyo-patay pa an Dios"...
After the "panata breakfast"-- Lolo Isiong in behalf of the family will thank them for their presence to our Daku na Balay- the tenants will soon bring out the "kaings of caimitos" (starfruits) to be distributed to the visitors-- it is somehow amazing that amidst the summer heat and the dry season the caimito tree from Lolo's farm will always be heavily laden with purple fruits.. ready for harvest before Black Saturday... This is the lone caimito tree infront of Lolo's farm house in Asid...
After the visitors left- with bags of the purple caimitos-- it's now our time to "party'!!!!! he he
Lola Aring could not do much with her "tumagiktik" against her rowdy apos...
After we partake Black Saturday breakfast- off to the beach we go-- sometimes-- if Lola allows us- according to her "patay pa ang Dios".. sometimes-- we do not go to swim--- bawal sabi ni Lola..
The following day -- Easter!!! mas masaya na kami dito- sometimes we still have the energy to wake up before dawn to watch the "Alleluia" or the "Salubong"-- again Lola's balcony will be bedecked with coconut fronds for the angels-- singing the "sit-sit sigoditsit--sigoditsit-sigoditsit- alleluia alleuia-- ha ha (well it sounds like that)
after the 7:30AM Easter mass-- off we go to Daku na Balay-- for the "egg hunting" hay naku super duper mega fantastic saya--- looking/finding/searching/ for colored eggs and candies around Lola's plants-- and the big cousins climbing up the "is-is tree".. it's riot talaga...
Later on it was already "our time" to be in charge in the Sabado de Gloria breakfast Panata --- cousins Shiela, STN, Che-Che and me...
The years had started to turn the pages of time-- being kikay- I am now in-charge in gathering pitogo leaves for Lola's balcony for the Palm Sunday...
Being older-- means able to join not only the Wednesday procession but also the Good Friday procession--
We already have the liberty to choose which carosa we will follow -- one of the choices is the carosa of Mary Magdalene-(she smells sooooo good!!) because it belongs to the Legazpi's, aside from their ancestral house just a stone throw away from Daku na Balay they are our relatives--
However we are not allowed to follow the Santo Entierro-- only older men are allowed to follow this carosa- the brave and the strong-- because -aside from being a miraculous image-- His carosa is bedecked with precious stones and it is heavily guarded to avoid being ransacked (humm. teka Holy week di ba? bawal magnanakaw.. he he)
The Good Friday procession is something extra ordinary (to us)-- we always cheated-- he he..
We never start the procession from the church- and never accompany the procession to the end--- instead we take the shortcuts- we take the road beside La Concha and wait for the procession infront of Villa Bayot-
- while waiting for the procession-- we fascinate ourself at the "grandeur" of this old villa-- most specially the resident-- one of the heirs happen to be a beauty queen- known as Chita Zaldariaga- she has fair skin and she will sit infront of one of the many windows of the villa waiting for the procession to pass by (their family owns the santo Entierro)- she will always have an alalay beside her, to fan her and keep her cool-- he he--
She no longer resides in Masbate but she'll always come home for the Good Friday procession--- maybe panata to the Santo Entierro she takes care of preparing Him for the procession-- ewan di ko alam un kwento-- he he
On Saturday- the next day she'll take the PAL flight and leave Masbate, their old black car will pass by Daku na Balay enroute to the airport. To be home again the next year...
As said earlier, as the years unfolded-- there were many changes that happened in our family- transfer of roles happened...
Cousin Sheila is now in-charge in buying the groceries for the Sabado de Gloria breakfast panata--
Cousin Che-che and me incharge pouring hot cocoa to the cups of the pious people..
Cousin STN- tulog-- he he (peace) well--she is very active in the alleluia-- she's always in the Cathedral with the other angels for the practice for the easter rituals...
Years past- as we grew taller-older-- some cousins got married-- other family members migrated -- family issues started to be sour-- a lot of things changed-- but the memory of my childhood and my cousin's-- will forever be etched in walls of our Daku na Balay...