Saturday, July 31, 2010

Que arrogante caudillo osara en su furor?

In honor of the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, here is now the Marcha de San Ignacio, otherwise known as the hymn of the Society of Jesus. They still teach it in grade schools of the Jesuit-run institutions here, although the words are different (it seems that each country has its own version of the song-- the one familiar to me, and most prevalent in the Philippines, may be found here)

Fundador / sois, Ignacio y General /
De la Compañía real /
Que Jesús / con su nombre distinguió. /
La legión de Loyola / con fiel corazón, /
Sin temor enarbola / la cruz por pendón: /
¡Lance, lance a la lid fiero Luzbel /
A sus monstruos en tropel! //
De Luzbel las legiones /
Se ven ya marchar /
Y sus negros pendones /
El sol enlutar, /
¡Compañía de Jesús / corre a la la lid, /
A la lid! /
Del infierno la gente /
No apague tu ardor, /
Que ilumina tu frente /
De Ignacio el valor. /
Ya voces escúchanse /
De trompas bélicas. /
Y el santo ejército /
Sin tregua bátase, /
Y alza sus lábaros /
En la batalla campal. /
Fiel presagio / del lauro bélico y de la paz. /
Del lauro y de la paz

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

El Patrocinio de San Jose

 The work of the Peruvian painter Gaspar Miguel del Berrio, 18th century.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Very Important Prayer Request

Of your charity please pray for a certain lady, who could very well be considered a part of our family. Our old housekeeper Ines left to retire in June of last year, after 20 years of being with us. She is diabetic and is currently based in one of the more remote provinces of the Philippines, where easy access to hospitals is not common. A few weeks ago she injured her leg, and apparently it is now festering and there is a chance she may have to get the gangrenous leg amputated. This is just heartbreaking news for all of us, and especially for me. Please pray that it does not get worse, and if possible, to avert the possibility of the amputation. Thanks.


1.30 am on a Saturday morning, and the road is pitch black, the only consolation coming from a few street dim street lamps and the occasional headlights. No one uses this road much, not as much as some other thoroughfares at least. There is something about driving home in the ungodly hours that somehow makes it easier for your priorities to reach convergence. The radio had been playing crap for a few minutes now, so off it went, and I had to put on one of my dad's CDs to fill in the void.

Three things I saw that night that made me shake my head in absurdity. The first: a thick bundle of tattered black and gray firmly planted on an island in the middle of the road. I shone my headlights at the curious bundle, and discovered a few beer bottles next to it. The bundle shone, the material reflecting my lights to a degree. It looked like a massive but curiously splayed trash bag. I followed the length of the shiny black material until it came to an end-- and from that end protruded a pair of darkly tanned mounds of flesh terminating in calloused, bruised feet. It was a man inside the trash bag, apparently, and judging from the almost imperceptible movement in the trash bag, I could tell, thankfully, that he was alive.

The second instance occurred a little over half an hour after that. A rickety box-like thing was crossing the middle of the highway. It was a kariton, a wooden cart on wheels which, depending on its usage, was either a very poor man's version of a garbage truck, or in some cases, a mobile home, a few items of clothing and shelter, and sometimes even a pet dog for protection, finishing it. Behind it, a tiny old woman, bent and skinny and heaving, was pushing it, oblivious to the oncoming rush of cars at that ungodly hour.

Finally, I entered home stretch, that is to say, the last ten minutes of my drive home. For some strange reason, my stomach was churning, rebelling against the food I had earlier deposited there. It is now ten minutes after two in the morning, and what better way to cap off a minor spasm of hunger than with pan de sal, that ubiquitous Filipino breakfast bread. I parked the car next to the bakery, got off, bought my bread, when my shirt was accosted by an unseen force. A child, probably no more than 7, dressed in tatters, his face muddy, but you could see the hopefulness in it. He offered me sampaguita. 10 pesos for a strand. I bought one strand, handed him 10 pesos -- two brass coins just slightly bigger than my thumb. And he walked off, running to his friend in the dark who I presumed was probably around his age as well.

If you ever want to get rid of even the most insignificant hangover, I suggest a drive through the streets of Manila. There's horror and poetry there to do just that.