Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 2: Saying Hello

First stop:
Before we did anything else, we had to visit our loved ones and say hello.   We took trycicyles as a treat for the kids. It was 8 pesos per person per drop.
The entrance was tricky as well as the path leading to them.  I am intrigued at the hundreds of tombs that are laid so close together.  At first, the kids, being kids, were climbing and walking over the graves because there was no real path.  I started freaking out and admonishing them to give respect.  But mostly in fear of the spirits. 
(Read my story at the end of this post regarding me and the Mangkukula)
And then we were there.  It was a solemn time with everyone crying.  Even the kids didn’t know whether to smile or not when we took pictures.  I always wonder what others do when they visit the graves of their loved ones.  Do they pray? I am assuming that they talk to them in their heads?  I said hello and gave thank you’s.  For me, they are somewhere out there, and I know that they are my guardian angels watching over me. 

The "Mangkukula" (Witch Doctor)- 
This is a true story that happened when I was young, when I was about 4-5 years old.  Before I start this story, let me preface it by telling you that my grandmother was a very strict Catholic person.  She went to church first thing in the morning every day and so the belief of anything "un-Christian" would not have been tolerable.  
My grandfather had already passed away and Lola had taken me to the cemetery with her to visit my Lolo.  I remember feeling well throughout the day, running around the house and Lola's grounds, climbing the guava tree.  We left for the cemetery in the early afternoon.  When we got to the cemetery, I continued to play and run around climbing and jumping over the graves.  I remember my grandmother getting upset at me and telling me to be careful as to not step over anyone but being a young child, the thrill of jumping from grave to grave precariously was too tempting.  So I did and I ran around and didnt listen despite my grandmother's beckonings.  When it was time to leave, she grabbed me (I was a rather naughty child) and we proceeded to head home.  I couldnt remember how we got from the cemetery to the house but the distance is a 5 minute tricycle ride.  What was very perplexing to me was that the change in me from being a healthy and playful child 5 minutes before became very, very sick with an extremely high fever.  I remember being carried into the living room and was laid to rest by the maids, too weak to even lift my head.  I remember my grandmother giving orders for cold basins of ice water which the maids proceeded to sponge bathe me to lower down my temperature.  Nothing seemed to work and my fever didnt subside.  My Lola was worried.
The next thing I remember was that an old lady, looked to me to be in her 60s, shortish (she was shorter than my grandmother), with a very wrinkled, very olive skin, fairly slim, wearing short sleeves and a skirt .  I remember being very intrigued by her and cant figure out to this day how I can remember all of this so clearly considering the very sick state that I was in.  I remember her asking for the basin of water which the maids were giving me my sponge bath.  She then proceeded to dip her hand in it scoop the water while muttering something.  She then lit some candles.  If I remember correctly, there were 2 candles and one was shorter than the other. She then proceeded to drip the candle wax into the basin of water.  I remember her features and her mutterings and then talking rather fast when the wax hardened on the water.  I dont remember much at this point, only that she started to get really worried and her mutterings became fast.  I remember lying back on the couch and her touching my forehead a couple of times.  I do not know how long this whole process took.  But I was young and for children anything unpleasant is time too long.  I remember the old lady, saying something (I dont remember her talking loud whatsoever, just mutterings but even as a young child, I remember having a very calming and soothing effect afterwards and after a last touching of my forheard, I was well.  Well enough to get up from a reclining position to stand.  I dont remember what happened after, which means that I must have run somewhere to play.  But I remember very clearly that from the cemetery, I was not brought any further than the couch bench that was right by the door.  I remember the door being open and it was never closed throughout the whole time that the old lady was there.  I never saw this lady again.  And this whole incident was never brought up.
This is the living room.  During my Lola's time, the floors were a solid, dark, large planked wood.  All the sliding windows are restored originals.  I do not remember curtains then.  The sliding door main entrance, would have been to the bottom left of this picture.  It has since been relocated further to the front of the house.   All the bamboo furniture pictured are new.  The arm chairs to the right are original and were my Lola's.  These armchairs had a couch bench to complete their setting.  They were also arranged within a few feet of the front door upon entering the house. 
This was the couch where I was "healed".

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