I remember going to LapuLapu Church last month.
It was the same day that we were leaving for Singapore.
It was the feast of Birhen sa Regla in Lapu-lapu, of whom my family is an ardent devotee;
everyone was heading to the church for petition and thanksgiving.
I went with my brother. We had to park the motorbike at a shop a couple of meters
away from the church. The road was packed with candle vendors, devotees,
food and ukay-ukay (used clothes) sellers, not minding the hurting heat of the sun.
It was just my second time to go there, so I was not very familiar of the place.
I was trailing my brother; hearing the mass was not our intention though.
We went to the prayer chapel, along with us was a candle vendor, middle-aged woman,
who kept on following from the moment we parked our bike.
Then I noticed that bulge on her throat; maybe it was one of the reasons why I
bought a lot of candles from her. Then on our way, we saw this guy, with amputated legs,
I dunno how he did it but he put slippers on his knees, and walked with his knees and hands
(he had slippers on his hands too).
I was saddened by what I saw. Moving on, the line towards the chapel was too long,
we still lined up only to realize it was the wrong way, it was heading towards the gated part
where a man inside was reaching out for all the candles of the devotees.
Oh well, we just gave our candles too. We did not really sacrifice much, did we?
We took another way going out. I saw the same guy(with no legs) again.
I felt pity for him. But then I was struck with the next thing I saw along the road.
They were lined up. They were on a wheel chair. I think there were five of them.
Holding plastic cups, asking for donation from whoever passed by.
One was so skinny, I could not even tell what was wrong with him.
One was like having Parkinson's disease, shaking, trying to hold the cup steadily.
Aside from them there were also some lying on the ground, sleeping...
Then it hit me, the realization of how poor our country is.
And then I looked around, seeing other people, they looked pretty occupied with
a lot of things, not minding those beggars.
I told my brother to pay attention.
He said, "At the end of the day, some people will then collect these beggars."
It made me wonder, how did they go there in the first place.
And that road, it was like.. beggars' lounge?
I wanted to help but I had second thoughts; will I really help them by giving some coins?
If not, how can I do so?
Truth is, there were the ones who helped me at that very moment.
I was so messed up, emotionally. I had a lot of complains about my job, my family, relationships.
But they made me see that all my issues are too small compared to what they were experiencing.
If I was born like them, where in the world would I be now?
Which church would I be begging for alms.. these thoughts flooded in my mind.
They were the ones who needed help, but in some way, they helped me.
So I felt so embarrassed at the thought, that I tried to look for justification
of the misery I was feeling, by comparing my life to those less fortunate people.
That I had to see how miserable they were, so I would feel better.
I made the common mistake most people do. And I apologize for that.
I am not rich, I have a lot of financial issues to attend to..so I could not
raise my own charity you know. So I am searching for some institution
that needs volunteer workers.
Did I mention I used to go to the gym and do dumbbells? lol
(this ends here. i dunno what else to write that would not sound too dramatic.. peace)