in a place of forever Sunday: Quezon-Batangas


Candelaria, Quezon is a place of forever Sunday. It is so idyllic the place could pass for a dreamland where carabaos float on the rice fields and curing waters flow from the river while music lulls everything to half-sleep.

It is also ideal. The Philippines’ only bloodline should be running along the agricultural provinces of the country, because in these global trying times, each country is left to its own. We could only nourish ourselves with our resources, and Prof Randy David, in our Sociology class, points out agriculture as this country’s hope (another is overseas work or human labor, so overpopulation must have its positive side after all, he joked).

I went to Batangas (passing by Candelaria) last weekend to attend the 70th birthday of a friend’s mother. Mike and I took the 7am bus ride from Cubao and arrived at Quezon-Batangas boundary after a little more than two hours.

Laiya’s parish church in San Juan was accidentally our first stop, and what a wonderful accident it was! I believe I’ve seen that church featured somewhere, perhaps in an Art class, for its magnificent woodwork of a roof. About three storeys high, its ceiling is lined up with planks of tough wood, creating this feeling that one is in a huge and spacious resthouse by the sea (and why not? Laiya is famous for its cool white sand beaches and diving spots). How I was tempted to take pictures, if only for the Mass going on.

Around the town are streets of bahay na bato. Some of them looked dilapidated, some were renovated, some still standing elegantly as they should. Those wide windows must have served their purpose right because wind blows like natural airconditioner outside.

Arriving at birthday party I gathered that their style of celebration was in tune with the Chinese New Year the day next. Instead of the birthday celebrator accepting gifts, she gave away ones–a box of Chinese sweet cake or tikoy and a small bottle of perfume, for each guest.

The whole family was in red. Chinese belief says that red symbolizes fire, which drives away evil spirits, therefore bringing in luck. So, yes, red is lucky.

After the sumptuous feast there were birthday messages and dances then off we went to the ever bumpy South Luzon expressway. But that’s a different story.

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