When In Manila

Episode 169 – Saturday, July 15th, 2017 (7501)

when in manila

I’m so bored staying at home because I’ve been out of work for almost three months. I can’t live at home comfortably because of many distractions like my father, who has been recovered from mild stroke two years ago, calling me up to help something including throwing his urine because he can’t walk straight to the bathroom, my eldest sister who has been also recovered from her illness after being hospitalized two weeks ago (she’s the only one who supports our family after losing my job last April), and of course, my elder brother who is still jobless and also experiencing heavy cough which bothers my privacy in my bedroom. My God! That’s why I’m really unhappy at home right now unlike few years ago where everybody inside the house was happy because of the blessings.

At one time, when some companies called me to have a job interview, I went there, not only to have my job appointment, but also to release from the distractions at home. However, in the past few weeks, I haven’t received any appointments from the companies that I applied for a job, particularly as graphics position. I’m so frustrated. I think it was my fault why I easily quitted my ill-fated job in Cabuyao because of pressure about finances (thanks to my mother) and “never-ending” bullying from my colleagues verbally which made me impatient. But that’s my decision to quit because I felt I was not so happy at all after losing my beloved job in San Pedro last March.

I wondered, after all of the job interviews and exams that I took from the companies that I applied, they never reply me back at all for the follow-up. It’s so frustrating me. Sometimes, I just decided to go away from home for not searching for job opportunities but for my own “freedom”. For instance, last June 16, instead going to the offices that might have some job openings (via walk-in) I just looked for my leisure. I went somewhere in Ortigas, Pasig to visit the Lopez Museum and Library where there were some art exhibits and rare historical collections. This was my first time to visit the museum alone.

Few weeks later, I just read from Facebook news feed where somebody posted that there would be a celebration of Feast Manila because of its 8th anniversary. I was thinking to go there since I was so bored at home and the Feast has been the only bright side in my life right now. So, last Friday, July 7, I went to Manila for not searching or applying any job openings there but instead I just went there for my own leisure, sightseeing and attending Feast Manila for the first time.

My Adventure in Manila

rizal park

Rizal Park in Manila

Manila, the capital of my beloved country, the Philippines, is the place when my life was started from being a young kid. This is the place where I was born, and this was my first place to live with my family (we moved to Santa Rosa, Laguna where we’ve been living since 1992). However, I had never visited this beautiful city after my college graduation. Based on my history records (similar to my diary), the last time that I had been there was around December 2008 where I and my college classmates, as my group mates for the thesis, went there to explore about creating a software system. I still remember that we sang inside a videoke room together to enjoy our leisure. However, I had never visited there ever since until just last July 7.

I rode a bus going to Buendia and instead riding a mass transit like LRT where I had been there a couple of times, I just rode a public jeep, along Taft Avenue going to the heart of Manila (actually I rode jeep twice because I felt uncomfortable on the first ride). When the jeep arrived near the city hall, I supposed to get off because there was a sign of “No Loading and Unloading”, and there were some traffic patrollers standing nearby. But instead, the jeep driver drove straight to the bridge over Pasig River and entered a Chinatown called Binondo. It was the first time that I landed at Binondo since the last time when I was a child more than 20 years ago. Instead of getting loss, thanks to my offline map, I just rode another jeep going back to the city hall where I got off there and went through SM City Manila.

I decided to go straight to SM City Manila, instead of sightseeing in Rizal Park nearby, because I was hungry, needing to eat a lunch, and I knew there would be several attendees entering the cinema for the celebration of Feast Manila. And I already expected it.

Attending Feast Manila

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(Photo courtesy from Feast Manila Facebook page)

For several months since last year, I have always attended (and served) at Feast SM Santa Rosa for several times. Last year, I explored other Feast locations such as Feast Pacita where I attended for my final time last August 7, 2016. That was a quite long time ago. The last time that I attended Feast outside Laguna was at Festival Mall Alabang during Sunday Feast session last April 24, 2016, but a week earlier I attended Feast ATC (Alabang Town Center) where they celebrated their third anniversary. Since then, I had never explored other Feast locations outside Laguna.

For the first time, I attended Feast Manila where I spotted lots of attendees who were already falling in line as early as late morning. Most of them were the college students from several universities around downtown Manila. I just decided to fall in line early, about an hour before the Feast started its special time at 1:30 in the afternoon to get the right seat before it would be full because of the special occasion. I felt I had no companion and “out of place” because I didn’t see any common friends inside and outside the cinema. All the usher servants of Feast Manila were wearing red T-shirts when we entered inside the cinema. I sat with two pretty ladies that I didn’t know who they were.

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Minutes after I found the seat, the holy mass was begun. The Responsorial Psalm was sung with a nice soft melody rhythm by two singers from the Music Ministry. After the mass, there’s a special video asking some questions among the attendees around and lightened up our mobile phones.

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Bro. Obet Cabrillas (left), the Feast builder of Feast Manila, with me after his talk at the Kerygma Lenten Recollection in 2014.

After playing two joyful worship songs, I saw two preachers who were unknown to me standing to lead their special talk about F8ful (faithful), the 8th anniversary of Feast Manila. They were Bro. Doc Ryan Capitulo, the operations head, and Bro. Philip Roland Sumera, the pastoral head of Feast Manila. Bro. Doc discusses about “H.O.P.E.” with different meanings. But he described HOPE as Have Only Positive Expectations as we don’t give up our hope. He also discussed the first part with four key points for Hope: Mercy, Abundance, Grace, and Love. After that, Bro. Philip continued the talk as he discussed the second part about being faithful, and it also had four key points: Be faithful to the church, to the word of God, to our service, and to our calling.

After the powerful worship songs, Bro. Obet Cabrillas sent his video message about the celebration. I only knew him because he’s definitely the worship builder of Feast Manila, but unfortunately he was unable to attend due of his family reasons. As exiting from the cinema, the cute and cheerful servant cheered the attendees and sang Otso-Otso (popularized by comedian Bayani Agbayani in early 2000s) for the 8th anniversary of Feast Manila.

Feast Manila was the sixth Feast location that I ever attended after SM Santa Rosa (formerly Central Mall Biñan), Technopark Hotel (formerly Paseo), Festival Mall Alabang (Wednesday Feast), Pacita, and Alabang Town Center.

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As I was leaving from downtown Manila, I was often sad while traveling in a long distance going back home. I was able to meet my Feast friend, Van, to have our simple Light Group meeting (better known as one-on-one conversation), and I shared to him about my deep problems especially at home. Despite that attending Feast Manila for the first time, I left myself exhausted and with some frustrations because I have still no job, no love life, and no happiness came into my life. Thanks to those who ruined my happy life. But at the end of the day, I felt some satisfaction because I could have my own “freedom” away from home, at least, for only one whole day.

I’m still hoping that someday my life will be raised from the distractions and struggles. As Jesus resurrected from death, I will rise from the darkest times in my life right now, not only at home, but in finances, and in my own freedom.

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