Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Simbang Gabi sa Samal

simbang gabiWhen in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in Samal, do as the Samals do... And so I did. Out of respect for my hosts, I cut my sleep short for several nights to wake up at around 3:30 in the morning. At this time, we would head down to the local oyster shell-shaped church for a session of Simbang Gabi or Mass at Dawn, which is an old Catholic Filipino tradition. Some say that if you are able to complete the whole nine-day "novena," then things will start going your way and you begin to feel the presence of the Lord in your life.

I am not really religious, so I really had to force myself to keep up this nightly (or early morning, I should say) routine of cutting my sleep short. I would often find myself nodding off during the mass as the priest preached in the Bisayan dialect, only to be suddenly awoken by the occasional need to kneel, hold hands, say "God be with you" to the people next to me, or some other Catholic gesture.

I had not experienced Simbang Gabi since I was a child, and if I remember clearly, it seemed better the first time around when it was all new--when it was exciting to get out of the house while it was still dark, and when I could catch sight of my childhood crush who happened to also show up at church.

Interestingly, the dogs here in Samal were welcomed inside the church too. They had it lucky though, as they were able to sleep through the whole mass...

I knew it was about over when everyone got up to consume their crackers and shots of grape juice. And by the time the mass finally did come to a close, the sun had already risen and another day had arrived... Amen.

1 comment:

Joelmagphi said...

Nakapagvisit ka na pala ng Davao... Oh my, I waited for how many years waiting for a chance to meet you in person. Anyway, there will be more chances in the future. :-)

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