Thoughts on a Palm Sunday | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

I can almost see them posing as penitents, doing Visita Iglesia, just to capture a few more followers


It is Palm Sunday. Holy Week starts today. The roads going north and south are busy with people trying to beat the holiday rush and grab more time off their daily grind.


Because temperatures have been unusually high and promise to climb even higher, people will be more inclined to go north to enjoy the colder climate. Baguio beckons.


My plans for the summer capital are on hold until the crowds return to the lowlands.


I understand that politicos have been seriously studying the potential demographic growth at these vacation spots during Mahal na Araw. No need to wonder why.


I can visualize them making their way to places where people congregate. I can almost see them cleverly disguised and posing as penitents, doing Visita Iglesia or even walking with the flagellants, just to capture a few more followers. That is sickening, I know, but not at all surprising.


The May 13 midterm elections are almost here and at a dinner last week, someone asked for advice on who to pick from the list of men and women seeking votes. Some are up for reelection, so it may be easier to decide based on their track record. Then again, many of them have been huge disappointments. Need I name names?


Because I offered no ideas, I was then asked whom I would not campaign for. Their look of surprise at my reply was quite amusing.


It was an interesting night. Among other things, I learned a new word in Tagalog. Ganid. It means “greedy.”


Sad day


We just celebrated Araw ng Kagitingan, the 77th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan.


I remember it was a sad day at our house. Our last bastion of hope had fallen. I didn’t know much about what had happened, but my parents looked sad and spoke in low voices. I heard them whispering about Julian Cabarrus, one of the nine sons of Dr. Juan Cabarrus, who lived just a door away.


Julian was with the US Army Corps of Engineers, and when Bataan surrendered, he was forced, with thousands of prisoners of war (POW), to walk on the Death March from Bataan to Camp O’Donnel in Capas.


I don’t know the exact number of Filipinos and Americans who died during that infamous march. But some calculate about 7,000 to 10,000.


I remember when Julian came home months later, he looked emaciated, his face bloated from beriberi.


In his book “We Remember Bataan and Corregidor,” Mariano Villarin describes how his schoolmate and fellow POW Julian Cabarrus lay on the ground of their shack, delirious and often comatose from the fever of malaria and how his brothers Javier, a doctor, and Joaquin Cabarrus bribed one of the guards to accept syringes and quinine ampoules to treat Julian’s condition.


When he was better, they put him on burial duty, digging ditches for the bodies of the more than the 300 a day who were dying in captivity. When it rained, the ditches overflowed, the corpses floated away and the stench was dreadful.


In a recent email, Julian’s eldest son and namesake, a barrister in Australia, remembers: “Pop did not like to talk much about what he saw and experienced at Capas, even during his later years when I tried to get firsthand stories from him. But I read Villarin’s book.”


He adds: “Many young people today have absolutely no inkling of what happened at that time, and I don’t think it is a bad thing to put this stuff in front of them once in a while to remind them that there is no glory in war.”


I so agree.


Watch list


At a gathering the other day, there was a debate on whether parents should monitor what their little children watch on TV and on their gadgets. That’s a no-brainer. They must!


Of course, after a certain age, all bets are off. The kids are on their own, making choices and clicking away without any parental review or consent.


When my children were growing up, there was just TV and maybe comic books to worry about. They were safer then.


Today, so much is available, and most of it for free. There are millions of sites. How does one keep track of what they can access?


I hear there are ways that parents can get accounts of their own to check if what their children are watching is appropriate. Wonderful!


What a pity that we can’t do the same with the news today.  Spare us the filth!


Would that be censorship and illegal?


Insults, threats, vulgar gutter talk, blood and gore invade the airwaves. But no one seems to care. We laugh. We applaud. We look away.




In the spirit of Holy Week, let me put my rant aside and pose a few thoughts to reflect on.


If you had been there when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, would you have waved your palm frond, thrown your clothes on the ground and shouted “Hosanna”?


And a day or so later, would you have stood in Pilate’s courtyard screaming for Barabbas to be set free?


And did we join the crowds that shouted, “Crucify Him”?


No, we did not.


But we do so every day, when out of one side of our mouths we pray. And in the next breath, we blaspheme.


It is time to check our hearts. And weep in shame.






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