For the past 36 years, my Gatdula family has been spending Holy Week in my Dad's hometown in Maragondon, Cavite. It has already been a tradition for us that we cannot EVER be absent even if we are busy saving the world or something. The main reason we go there is because we fix up our statues of Jesus and Simon for the holy procession. I've been doing so with my family since I was 5 years old and it has already been our religious vow to do so every year.
And SOON, we're going to pass the tradition to the little lords.
For now though, it will be another family bonding for THE YAPPY BUNCH.
We're going to Cavite!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We were supposed to drive to Cavite on Wednesday night. But I got home late from work so it was Thursday morning travel for us.
We stopped by our favorite Jollibee for breakfast!
For some reason, we always pass by JOLLIBEE every time we go to Cavite!
My favorite brekky with the Bee!
And now we're on our way to Maragondon again!
Egad! It was just so traffic that day!
My Lolo's ancestral house in Cavite!
This was just renovated but it has been standing here since the early 1930s!
When we arrived, my sister and aunt were fixing up our "karo".
Isn't our "karo" beautiful? We were assigned with Simon helping out Jesus by carrying his cross.
Andrei loves it and would really stare at our religious statues.
After a quick lunch, we went to our room to rest.
It was blazing hot in Cavite that day. Good thing the air conditioner was invented. He he he he he h eh!
Time to sleep little ones!
After our short syesta, we immediately got ready for the procession!
We had a bite of dinner before heading out.
Plus 5 bags of Fried Chicken!!!!!
This tasted so much like how they cook it in MAX's!
Besides the noodles and chicken, the Chinese Adonis bought some cotton candy from outside.
Yep! The sweet tooth boys unite!
It was sort of grainy but I loved it!!!!
Anthony, Tito George, Tita Saling, and Ate Jojit waited for the procession to start by the terrace.
The little lords did the same while playing with their candles.
Me and my handsome master Mati!
Take a look at the different "karos" that will be participating in the procession!
They're all beautiful right?
Of course, ours is the best.
While waiting, Mati observed the winged ants that would fly by his candle.
Awwww... He has been more observant of ants ever since he saw Antman!
Unlike Antman, he tortured the flying creatures by dismembering them.
Anthony and the Chinese Dimpol will be pulling our "karo" that night.
Ate Jojit's new husband is pretty excited since it's his first time ever to do so.
Yub was like "Pssshhh.... Just follow my lead."
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Kidding.
In a few minutes, it's going to start.
Finally the procession started!
The spouse boys checking out the view.
I think I only see these ladies in provincial celebrations.
Uuuuy! Andrei is checking them out too.
H aha ha ha ha ha!
And our karo passes by!
Anthony and the Chinese Dimpol will be steering the float at the front.
My Kuya Jon pushed from the side.
Some of our GAT'S CONDO staff pushed at the back.
Ate Jojit and Andrei line up behind to offer their lighted candles.
And so the long walk begins.
The statue of Veronica has always been behind us since 1980.
Our other drivers pushed from behind too.
My brother and sister with Rocio prayed the rosary during the walk.
While walking, Mati suddenly felt like doing a declamation!
He he he he he!
A lot of people would always go out to watch the procession.
Resting at the curb.
Go Yub and Anthony!!!
Good thing it was a cool night for the long walk.
Next time I'll bring a whip just in case these boys were slow.
Yup! That'll be part of their "sacrifice"
Duh. I'm joking obviously.
And we're done!
It was a great first night for all of us!
After that long walk, it's time to eat AGAIN.
Besides the saucy pancit and delicious fried chicken, we also have some adobo!
After dinner, some of the boys decided to drink.... coke.
While the little lords and my brother watched some dvds.
After dinner, my brothers and sister with the spouses had some drinks and a lot of chatter!
One of my favorite parts when my family gets together is when we talk about everything and anything.
While we do THAT, the little ones busied themselves with gadgets. We allowed them na since it's their vacation also.
Afterwards, it's time to go to bed!
The Chinese Dimpol and Andrei went straight to snoozeland. As for me and master Mati, we still had a good chat.
When Mati fell asleep, I started my marathon of my new favorite...
Next morning, we're up early for some brekky!
Dried Fish, Smoked Fish, Fried Eggs, and Garlic Rice!
My plate!!! My first of MANY plates!
Can't talk. Eating.
Of course, the Yub would still show his dimpol!
Why is it when it's breakfast, I NEVER get full????
After breakfast, we headed out to our usual places in Maragondon, Cavite whenever it's Holy Week. Our first stop is to visit the miraculous Mother Mary.
Today, she was waiting at the small chapel.
I see her from outside and a calming feeling already came upon me.
The miraculous statue of the Lady of the Mediatrix.
Like I said, she has a calming yet commanding presence.
When I was little, my parents took the family to this chapel to attend mass. When it finished, my siblings and I were waiting outside while my parents stayed in the chapel to pray the rosary.
My parents noticed that the statue of the Lady of the Mediatrix was nodding to them as if saying "I hear your prayer". My Mom and Dad were so surprised but all they could just do was stare. They cannot believe what they were seeing. The Lady was moving like a human being and kept on nodding not just to them but to everyone in the chapel.
At that time, a woman from the back noticed it and screamed that Mother Mary was moving. With that, my parents cannot believe it but suddenly rays of majestic blue and red lights shone from behind the Lady. Everyone was just in awe of the beauty of it all!
Afterwards it was all over. Everyone in the chapel was speechless. The first impulse of course was to check if there was some sort of mechanism that orchestrated the whole thing. But after immediately examining the Lady, they found nothing.
Also, first hand witnesses exclaimed how the movements of the Lady were not mechanical and was more human-like.
Up to now my parents said they wouldn't ever forget how the Lady of Mediatrix looked that day.
My sister visited this Lady of Mediatrix the day before and was able to speak with the caretaker. For some reason, the old woman who was taking care of this Mother Mary exclaimed how it was great to see a Gatdula visiting the miraculous statue.
My sister wondered how the old lady knew her when she haven't met her before and she would only visit once a year during Holy Week.
And no, my sister was not wearing a name tag. Hello!!!!!
My Ate Jojit asked how the old lady knew her and she gave this excuse as to how she knows everybody from Cavite.
I think there's something more behind this story and I have a feeling it has to do with the miraculous Lady of Mediatrix.
The caretaker told my sister that if we had a feeling of wanting to visit this Mother Mary it means that she is summoning us. Maybe that's why during Holy Week, I always have this need to see her and pray to her.
I told this to Andrei and he prayed extra hard too.
After our blessed visit to the Lady of Mediatrix, we went decided to trek over to this new discovery of ours in Maragondon.
The place was downhill so we just parked and went on foot the rest of the way.
The hanging bridge!!!
It may be a hot day but the sight is definitely worth a visit!
Mommy and Mati!
The Chinese Dimpol and Andrei!
THE YAPPY BUNCH invades the bridge!!!!
It was a long and shaky walk but we loved it.
The right side...
The left side!
Mati was not scared at all!
The Androse was VERY cautious but he got over it.
After the hanging bridge, we went to the Roman Catholic Church.
They just renovated the place and everything seemed to be brighter.
Didn't know that the Yubhub took a picture here.
Like in the chapel earlier, Andrei took the longest time to pray. I am so proud at how he is really talking to God at heart.
Egad! It was so hot! But this family activity was DEFINITELY worth it.
We cooled ourselves off with some slurpees from 7 ELEVEN!
Besides the slurpees, the Strawberry Filled Mister Donuts suddenly became EXTRA good!!!!!!!!!!!
After energizing ourselves with high sugar drinks and a 5 minute stay in an air conditioned room, the boys got raring to shoot some hoops!
The ultra cool thing here is that we have the whole court to ourselves!
The Chinese Adonis was a varsity player in College and he just loved playing with his boys.
When Mati felt like doing something else, I invited him to do some badminton!
Until a VERY BIG basketball suddenly bonked me!
Kidding! That's Andrei's doing.
Best of 10!!!!!!
HA! THE WIND was EVER in my favor!
After playing badminton with Master Mati, I tried to fight off Andrei with basketball.
Egad! That was so tiring! If basketball didn't involve running or throwing heavy balls, I'M GAME.
What a very great day!
Besides our family tradition and making our sacrifices during Holy Week, what I especially love about going to my Dad's hometown is how I have different kind of experiences with the little lords. Here we don't go to the usual malls or eat in their crummy super commercialized restaurants. We just go to the basics, sweat it out, and have MORE bonding fun as a family.
Perhaps these memorable experiences, besides our religious tradition, will encourage them to return again and again to my Father's hometown every year.
Just like for me and my sibs.
He he he he he he....
Have a blessed Lenten Season.
More on PART TWO.