Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pakil Church

A few weekends ago I found myself between the mountains ranges of the Sierra Madre and the shores of Laguna Lake or Laguna de Bai. There was a family celebration in the hometown of my mother Pangil, Laguna. To reach the town of Pangil it was easier to travel by the province of Rizal and pass through the mountain pass of the Sierra Madre. The pass was a meandering stretch of road up and down the mountain. It was a zigzag asphalt road was completed during Marcos time and it provided an alternative route into Laguna. A few years ago they completed another road and this time it went around the base of Sierra Madre along the lake. Suffice to say the route, devoid of the hustle and bustle of an expressway, was panoramic. Towns around the lake, fields of rice, hills of grass and at certain point valleys of jungle trees, complete with a giant balete tree – which seem to guard the entrance to the forest. The air was of course invigorating. Unless, you passed by a duck farm and get smell of avian odor. Moreover, the trip itself was unhampered, save on the occasion if one of the passengers wanted to buy something, duhat, lanzones and even fried chicken, on the road. Then there were the occasional stops caused by a carabao oblivious to the traffic, the road being used to dry the harvest or the occasional checkpoints. Yes, it was relatively carefree. However, Pangil despite its inherent attraction, a clean and attractive river called Piit, was not the only town we visited. After lunch we sneaked of to visit the Church of Pakil. This was the home of the miraculous statue of the Lady of Turamba. According to legend, a fisherman found the statue floating along the river and the fisherman, sensing perhaps he could sell the statue, go it and stashed it inside his banca. Later, the fisherman left his banca and proceeded to sell his catch. A woman passing by, allegedly the fisherman’s wife saw the statue and started dancing. Soon a group of people gathered around the statue and they were dancing. Who knows why they danced? Perhaps something supernatural happened and this prompted the people to dance or perhaps this was an old anito long-lost but found again and the people started to worship by dancing. Did a miracle happen after the people started dancing? Whatever the reason for the dancing this would not be the last time people danced around the statue. Up to the present devotees of the Lady Turumba would join the dancing procession escorting the figurine and inside the church, while chanting the word “Turumba”, again and again. I first witnessed the event as a child. We had accompanied a friend to the event. She was quite keen on participating in the event. Even back then there were many people about. They came from all over the place, the local town folks, people from other towns, people from Manila and even people from other lands. It was not as voluminous as the crowd of the Black Nazarene at Quiapo, but it was lively. The statue of the Lady was carried and then chanting and the dancing around it began. One need not move the mass of people behind you would make sure you moved forward. And at the same time chattering and shouting Turumba. End of the day we rested. It was tiring but worth it. A few years, I found myself with my cousin and nephew in front of the church. And it was not even the time for the Turumba, The church seemed to have been refurbished, a sure sign of progress or maybe the financial rewards brought about by the devotees. Whatever it was the church had indeed change. Although it had not been modernized. Unfortunately a lot of old churches today are being renovated, I am still taken aback whenever I see a new façade on the altar of the church I frequent, can you imagine a tacky baroque façade covering a minimalist-inspired altar. Anyway, the church still looks nice. pklfrnt02 I was able to take a couple of snapshots before we left. I will be posting those pictures on my photoblog at Pinoy Snapshots. An additional post BlOG: Pinoy Snapshots Title: Pakil Church View


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