Provincial hustle and bustle are redefined in a space that takes pride in its religiosity. In the province of Cebu, on an otherwise regular weekend, there was nothing special to celebrate. Other than stillness, the kind that’s about being anchored in faith that you might not practice a whole lot of, but which in this space is a ride you’re in by default.
After all, where religion is part of history and hysteria, rhyme and reason, the irrational and rational, it feels almost all-encompassing, on the one hand about hopelessness, on the other about the bright light of possibility, both in the face of prayer. And icon upon icon upon icon: there’s one for your every need.
You arrive at the church complex of the Basilica del Santo Niño in the center of town, enter the small chapel for Magellan’s Cross, and buy into the idea of candles: a color for your every need, all ten of them not to be lit but to be offered. Leave it at the Cross, bring it to the icons of your choice inside the church, but only after the manang has chanted your name with the rest of her prayer, only after she has promised that your wishes will come true, her prayers will do all the work for you.