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Posted on: April 6, 2012

After my husband and I had dinner with my in-laws last night, we came across these people, mostly youth pilgrims, walking along major thoroughfares leading to Antipolo.

Youth pilgrims from various parts of Metro Manila on their way to Antipolo on foot

Taken along Raymundo Ave., Pasig City. April 5, 2012. Photo by Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com

Source: Uploaded by user via likha on Pinterest

I learned about these pilgrims about 5 years ago when Mel and I left home (we used to live in the Pasig-Cainta area) and drove on a Maundy Thursday night to Los Banos to spend the rest of the Holy Week with my family.

Anyway, back to last night’s walk-athon, I only came to realize the size of the crowd going to Antipolo when we finally got to the Ortigas-C5 flyover and saw a sea of people occupying almost the entire east-bound lane of Ortigas Ave. extension.

You see, Metro Manila starts flushing out people and their debris starting Holy Wednesday, so by Maundy Thursday you can do cartwheels along EDSA or C5. But it was not the case last night. Major traffic jam along Ortigas Ave., Major, major.

I think this is an un-organized gathering of people, which is the case with religious pilgrimages. What was nice about the whole thing was that police stations and other volunteers had set up water stations for the pilgrims. No politicos and their banners and faces plastered on every water container—well I guess that was true for the areas where we’ve been to (pasig-cainta area).

The sad thing about the whole thing was this:

Massive trash left by Antipolo ‘Alay-Lakad’ devotees

06-Apr-12, 11:43 AM | InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines – An environmental group campaigning for a “litter-free Pilipinas” decried the “massive breach” of the country’s waste law during the penitential walk to Antipolo City that began on Maundy Thursday.

“By sunrise of Good Friday, the ugly mess left by the tens of thousands of mainly youth pilgrims came to full view,” lamented Manny Calonzo, EcoWaste Coalition’s Basura Patroller.

“The unbridled littering during the ‘Alay-Lakad’ has blighted what was supposed to be an act of atonement for wrongs committed or an avowal of faith and obedience to Christ the Redeemer,” he said.

“What happened was exactly an ‘Alay-Kalat’ to the max: a massive breach of R.A. 9003 as if littering was OK and devotees were exempted from observing the law that clearly forbids and penalizes littering,” he observed.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits several acts that could endanger public health and sanitation and the environment, including the littering, dumping and burning of garbage.

Litterbugs can be penalized with a fine of P300 to P1,000, compelled to render community service at the local government unit (LGU) where the act was committed or be required to pay the fine as well as perform community service.

“LGUs would have made a killing in collected fines if only R.A. 9003 and its parallel anti-littering ordinances were duly enforced,” Calonzo said.

“LGUs would have enlisted thousands of warm bodies to help with community cleanup activities such as the removal of garbage in clogged canals and esteros if litterbugs were not let off the hook,” he also said.

The EcoWaste Coalition noted the rampant disposal of trash along the Alay-Lakad routes, particularly along Ortigas Avenue Extension, Sumulong Highway and in M.L. Quezon St. and P. Oliveros St. and adjoining streets in Antipolo City…” 

Read more here

Ok now I found the blog entry i did about these youth pilgrims a couple of years ago.

Other Half and i left pasig-cainta for elbi at 9 pm last holy thursday and while we were passing through mercedes ave, we saw throngs of teenagers walking (in groups), carrying bags and water containers as if they’re going to some picnic in the middle of the night. Other Half told me these kids were bound for antipolo for some kind of panata…going all the way to antipolo church (or some grotto — i don’t know which) ON FOOT! *hithit ng hangin*

(photo courtesy of antipolo.com)

i guess these teens were magbabarkada since they walked in groups. i tell you, andami nila sa kalyeng naglalakad na parang nagpuprusisyon. unfortunately, i wasn’t able to get a snapshot since Other Half was going so fast and all i managed to get was just a blurry photo.

i guess inumaga na sila sa pag-akyat ng antipolo. i muttered to myself, “goodluck na lang sa init ng panahon ngayon.”

i surmise that it’s not really about the panata or because of religious reasons why these kids go through the trouble of walking all the way to antipolo. it’s more about the journey. you know, it’s some kind of barkada gimmick. it’s kinda fun, if you think about it. it’s also a way of getting out the house with permission. a way of getting out of their parents’ way — or the other way around.

anyway, the sight of these people and their quest for antipolo reminded me of what my cousins used to do when we were teenagers. every summer and christmas vacation we went home to our parents’ hometown in batangas to do our thing there — just hang out. we climbed mt. maculot out of boredom, we went down the slopes of the ridge (i.e. lumusong kami) to swim in taal lake or to bathe in the batis where our aunts used to wash their clothes.

(photo courtesy of waypoints.ph)

there was a time my ate, my cousins and my aunt climbed maculot to reach the grotto on Good Friday more than a decade ago—mga 15 years ago. my female cousin suffered from vertigo upon reaching the grotto. so they camped for the night and they had nothing but emperador brandy to keep them warm (during those times malamig pa dun kahit summer).

hmm…come to think of it i also climbed maculot on a Good Friday seven years ago. i chronicled the climb and the article was published by another daily i was “working for” at that time (contributor lang naman ako nun). it was my penitensya at that time. didn’t have the strength to go up the summit so my friends and i decided to go down the next day and head home to elbi. wala lang, nagpakahirap lang kami.

anyway, my cousins and i spent the rest of our summer days in batangas and we planned “gimmicks” with friends like going to the lake (twice) or beach (na hindi matuloy-tuloy) and other stuff that would keep us busy. we formed teams (together with some barkada there) for the ligang barangay and i just end up humiliating myself infront of everybody since i was (and still am) not really a volleyball player (i was really bad at it)…ewan ko ba bakit laging volleyball ang laging nilalaro sa mga barangay.

then there are town/barangay fiestas. barkadahan kaming pupunta sa mga bahay. there was this time my ate and cousin threw up becuase they ate too much. sobra kasing masiba. *guffaw*

and oh, don’t forget about the elections. there was this time we went around town campaigning for an uncle who ran for mayor. he lost. hehehe. it was fun but it sure was a lot of work.

some days we just hung out in my lolo’s porch, eating junkfood and drinking fanta (remember those?). we played pingpong in the parking area or or played the guitar and sang like drunkards until the wee hours. we played cards to while away the time. we laughed our guts out until 3 am with our barkada.

there was this time my ate climbed our aunt’s mango tree with salt and kinfe in her pocket and stayed there the whole afternoon picking and eating green mangoes. then she suffered from extreme (redundant na) hyperacidity and puked all the way home. she could barely eat the following days. she lost a lot of weight that summer. *snigger* that was before the era of kankunis and bangkok pills.

before the advent of cellphones and landlines (grabe wala pang landline doon noon kungdi sa munisipyo) and cable tvs, my cousins and i were dependent on four channels na malabo pa. nasa deadspot kami so our radio was useless to us. unfortunately, my cousin was on a different planet when it came to music so we were stuck with casette tapes of the very best of chicago , lilet (remember her?), and wilson philips that we played to death the whole summer. saulado na namin ang mga kantang yun hanggang ngayon since those were the tapes that we played over and over every morning when we did our chores.

uhhmmm…i think the wilson philips album was mine.

anyway, i had so many fond memories of my sisters and cousins, of our summers and christmases in batangas, manila and davao. my ate and i were just talking about it this holy week. dati di pa uso ang cellphone and email and wala pa kaming mga landline nun (dahil sa PLDT na yan inaabot ng 10 years bago pa kami makabitan) pero we managed to keep in touch palagi and nakakapag-usap kami ng matino like pag may usuapan ng ganito, magkikita-kita talaga kami.

ngayon, we’re just one text or one friendster message away from each other pero — wala…i guess dala na rin ng pagtanda yun…

kaya nga the image of those teenagers — those barakadas — brought back bitter-sweet memories to me because we would not be able to go back to those days and do all those happy and stupid things that we’ve done.

shucks, i’m getting old. *sniff*

Unfortunately, hindi na magandang umakyat ng Maculot ngayong panahong to because everybody’s doing it and and sobrang masikip and magulo dun ngayon. Parang palengke na daw, maraming mga vendors.

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life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
April 2012
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