12-16 Apr 2017
It’s been years since I last went back to my father’s hometown, Vinzons, Camarines Norte. We have this family tradition that we would bring a life-size Jesus Carrying the cross with Simon of Cyrene statue to procession every Holy Wednesday and Good Friday. This tradition has been passed through generations to generations. We have been doing it since I could remember. Unfortunately, as I went to work abroad, I couldn’t really go back for it regularly anymore.
Also, as this is something huge for the family. I could remember how excited we were every Holy Week because this was our chance to meet and bond with our relatives and cousins. This time around, I am aware that my cousins, even my sister, are already busy living their own lives. Adulthood can be sad sometimes.
As soon as I arrived, we directly went for a long drive. We had to stop a while for breaks but generally, the whole travel was uneventful. I slept almost the whole time.
We arrived quite late for the start of the procession, but me and my dad decided to wait for it by the street and follow afterwards. Unlike before, there weren’t many people following our “Poon”. According them, it’s because, now, there were more statues, hence, followers were more dispersed. It went from 28 to 30 something, next year would be 40s.
I know that Holy Week usually is celebrated by fasting and prayers. In our family, this is, until now celebrated by feasting out together (at least not on Friday). Balanes are always tantamount to people who eats a lot, including yours truly. Luckily for me, I am quite disciplined with my diet, at least, I am trying.
Next day, we all decided to go to this newly opened resort called Maria Fatima Farm Resort. It only opened a month before. It didn’t even have it’s official receipt yet. Made me wonder how can they operate without it? Well, Philippines, everything is possible for rich people.
It was quite overpriced for very basic amenities. My relatives didn’t even swim anymore. Anyway, our overall stay wasn’t a very good experience. A lot has to be done in that resort.
Since, the resort wasn’t very enjoyable, our clan decided to head to Bagasbas beach and rent out a private room with Karaoke in Catherine’s. We enjoyed this better. Bagasbas used to look uninhabited. Now, it already has the Bali beach feel. Waves, parties and people everywhere. I couldn’t really say if I felt good about it but to be honest, I missed the old quiet Bagasbas..
The next day was uneventful. Some relatives came over the house and then at night, we went to buy pasalubongs and we drove to our relatives’ house for dinner.
Next day was our long drive back home. My cousin joined us going back to Manila. Sunday was my delayed flight back to Singapore.
I may have forgotten to fast during this period, but for us, the real essence of Holy Week has always been togetherness. Intimate prayers and introspection. Indeed, Holy Week is a family affair.