In the next few days, Metro Manila will be one of the most ideal places to be in the Philippines. For a few days, the metropolis will be everything one would want it to be and more. For once, one can actually drive an alfa romeo 33 around; not that I have one, or that I can afford one in this lifetime, nor do I aspire to have one ( the last comment is aimed at student activists who trash me in their blogs for being too "burgis" ). But you get the drift - it is one of those rare times when Metro Manila is a little quieter and less frenetic. Too bad holy week happens towards the summer when it is so godawful hot hot hot and one can't go to Baywalk (on the off chance that one wants to go there just to check out what is so darn special about the place to begin with) to marvel at the trash floating at Manila Bay or behold those what-was-Mayor-Atienza-thinking street lights. Nevertheless, Metro Manila is the place to be during the holy week.

This is why I have made it a point not to go out of town in this supposed season of reflection. Why bother going somewhere where everyone else is going, unless of course, that is one's idea of a perfect vacation. (I do recognize however that there are those who have to go out of Metro Manila for some needed rest and recreation. It is the only time when members of the family are on vacation at the same time and it is a perfect time to bond with family members someplace where food does not have to come in styropor boxes).

The last time I went out of town for the holy week was nine years ago. I got convinced to join some friends to spend some time baking under the sun at San Juan, La Union. This was when the potentials of the town as a surfing destination was still unheard of and it was still unthinkable to imagine the President being photographed or shown on TV going berserk on top of a surfboard. We tried to get out of Manila as early as we could - at the ungodly hour of 1am on a Holy Thursday. Tough luck because it seemed everyone else and their cousin had the same idea. It took us twelve loooong hours to get there. It was sheer bedlam at the North Expressway and at the Tarlac highway. While sitting inside a car whose carburator was threatening to go kaput any moment, we pondered helplessly on the question as to whose suffering was worse, ours or those of the penitents who passed us by. At least the penitents appeared to have some meaningful reason to be out there.

Since then, I have resolved never to inflict the same torture on myself ever again.

I have never been to Boracy or Puerto Galera or Baguio on a Holy Week. I have been informed that people hie off to these and other similar places to... party!!!. For instance, I am told that at Boracay, people get wasted and that at Puerto Galera, they hold an annual Miss Gay Philippines contest right on Good Friday and that Globe and Smart banners compete with the landscape. I don't know what these make of us as a supposedly devout Catholic country.

I plan to join the family in going around churches on Thursday for the traditional visita iglesia even if I actually dread the thought of having to brave the makeshift Jollibee, Shakey's, and Greenwich stalls that are bound to clog the entrance of the more popular churches. Sigh.

But at least I will have some time in my hands to read, read, read. And maybe, if the right mood hits me, I must just sit through the whole second and third seasons of The Sopranos on DVD (they have been sitting on top of my DVD set for at least a year now).

I hope you all have a meaningful holy week.


Anonymous said…
Somehow Bong has again captured in his usual semantic splendor the collective thoughts of an "i-love-trafficless-manila-only-during holy-week" populace. I too make manila my haunt during these few precious days when the city is simply at its most peaceful best.

Bong.. shhhh not too loud, we don't want everyone to know our little secret! :)
Anonymous said…
Somehow Bong has again captured in his usual semantic splendor the exact thoughts of an "I-love-traffic-less-Manila-only-during-holy-week" populace. I too make the city my haunt during these rare precious days when the city is at its most peaceful best.

Bong shhh not so loud.. we don't want everyone to know our little secret! :)
inverbras said…
hey bong,

i can really relate to you on what you said about staying in metro manila during the holy week. you can practically lie down on ayala avenue and still live. i cant really see the fascination on going out of town and getting stuck in traffic for hours on end. you end up needing another vacation.

since you do have some free time, may i suggest other good tv series movies aside from anthony soprano and company ( i too have been following the series). watch 24, which i have always found to be excellent in terms of action, suspense and drama all rolled into one (well actually 24 hours). they even extended keifer sutherlands contract for another 3 seasons. so jack bauer will continue to fight against injustice and protect the american way of life. would you believe that we watch each season straight (as in the whole weekend, and only stop to take bathroom breaks)

another series you should consider is sleeper cell, whose storyline, is the complete opposite of 24. its the lives of one of the terrorist cells based in the usa plotting and planning another attack on usa soil.

i wish you a relaxing holy week with your family.

Anonymous said…
Bong (can I call you that?), am so truly sorry to ruin your Holy Week break and your visita Iglesia mindset,but have you seen last night's news where the Survey says (parang game show sa US!) Erap topping the list of people those respondents said they will choose should there be a snap elections! And Pingping Lacson is 2nd! And that Erap says he's wiling to run again if there will be snap elections! Holy guacamole! Omigod! Jesus H. Christ! I felt like having a heart attack! O my Lord, nanikip talaga dibdib koh! Shouldn't that be enough to stop those godawful noisy "intelligentsia" streetbunch? Pag nangyari yon wala na talaga, pack up kami!!! Whaddya say kaya, Prof. Randy? Please explain to me! Must we include this now in our Lenten prayers? --MommyJo
acidboy said…
the mere fact that you are familiar with "alfa romeo" shows your evil elitist nature. only someone who aspires to be part of the american-influenced, world bank controlled conspiracy that is enveloping our poor nation with their wto treaties. alfa romeo, and gianni agnelli the founder, became successful after world war 2, when italy was controlled by the evil americans after they killed the great italian patriot mussolini. this is living proof that you are part of the 'luli brigade' for only gma and her cohorts can know of italy- perhaps you go on "vacation" there, because your evil money can allow you to do so at the expense of all the poor compatriots of ours who have to endure endless poverty and to which they have no choice but to join our, i mean, the communist movement.

you also choose to stay here in imperial manila?! why? do you not want to see the abject poverty that this corrupt gma dictatorship has bestowed on the whole country as her evil legacy? your ignorance will not shield you from the truth- that all corners of this country are clamoring for a junta, i mean a council of leaders pala, to rule, i mean to administer this country! i pity you for you will not see the eyes of those poor poor people in such places like davao city, boracay, maricaban bay, pueto princesa, batanes, vigan, bohol, romblon.... such hardships!

as part of the democratic protest movement, i command you to shut this website down because your opinions run counter to ours which is enlightened and always correct.

... okay just kidding. :)
BongA said…

I applaud you for your courage in saying the things that should be said. I apologize for having opinions; more for having the temerity to have opinions contrary to the moral and righteous cause. I am sufficiently chastised and embarrassed. Thank you.


(am just kidding too, of course!) But you almost got me there, dude!
BongA said…
Mommy jo,

First, it is important to make this distinction. The surveys are either commissioned by specific groups or individuals (which means they control the kind of questions asked and the manner in which these questions are asked), second, they are "business projects," and third, they reflect top of mind state of things which can change any moment. Which is why I do not give them that much credence. Notice how survey results immediately respond to specific burning issues of the day - parang there is an automatic "context" to whatever question happens to be hot. The surveys are also descriptive in nature - I doubt if the results would be the same if they correlate the results (to see if the responses are truly related to each other). Yes, I read the results of that survey but since they did not reveal who commissioned the survey, I ignored it. But the results are unnerving, yeah. Imagine another Erap presidency. Or a Susan Roces presidency.

Sobering thoughts for a holy week indeed.

BongA said…

Thanks for the recommendation. So we share the same fascination for 24 and watch it the same way too - straight for 24 hours! It is a family thing for us too. I wish they will keep on doing that series.

I haven't gotten my hands on sleeper cell, but I have heard so much about it. I will make it a point to get the series once I get to downtown manila (but after holy week, I promise not to buy pirated DVDs during the holy week. hehehe).

BongA said…
okay. it's our little secret then. smile.

Angelo said…
Don't forget the coronary-inducing Black Saturday frolic to Tagaytay a couple of years back with a vertain notorious posse, which was a real test of nerves for everyone which had to endure a monstrous jam going to the Picnic Grove. And whose stupid idea was that?
jher said…
the people who approved of the idea is just as stupid as the one who proposed it.

happy easter bong.

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