Lent meant absolute silence during Holy Thursday and Good Friday when I was a child. Today is Good Friday. As a child, I remember my mom and lola’s mouth-watering bacalao a la Vizcaina in lieu of meat. I also recall opening the piano to pound on a few keys and then playing with a harmonica after. I was reprimanded by my spinster grandaunts for being noisy as I might disturb neighbors who might be praying. We were told, “no running around, no playing, no laughing and no loud talking around the house.” I think I spent most of my time reading and playing puzzles or otherwise poking around other people’s chores just to while the time away.
Back in the day, we had no cable tv, which meant we were stuck with Charlton Heston’s “Ten Commandments” and local productions of religious tales like “Marcelino Pan y Vino” on Channel 9. Was it Subas Herrero playing a friar? I remember something vague like that. Other channels would simply go off-air with that high-pitch wheezing sound with an image of saints frozen until Black Saturday. In the recent years, several radio stations would still go off-air to observe the solemnity of the occasion. Our family is not particularly religious, although my grandmothers did pray the Angelus at 6pm and said the rosary every night (of course at their age, they fell asleep half the time). Today, Lenten season back home evolved into opportunity for out-of-town vacation and beach holidays — a stark contrast to how I knew it back in the day.
These are paintings I made when I lived in Baguio City — the northern region of the Philippines where the weather can actually drop to 7C on some months. I remember having pasta by myself one afternoon after work when I decided to sketch the Baguio Cathedral — which was directly across from my table. Many of my paintings have been inspired by the stained glass and detailed spires of this beautiful structure — one which served as a refuge for the bomb victims of WWII.