Thursday, March 8, 2012


AUTHOR'S NOTE: There are different kinds of poverty.
Spiritual poverty, Emotional poverty, Intellectual and Cultural Poverty
 This account is about all imaginable kinds of POVERTY.                          

The most dangerous is HUNGER because it maims, kills and hardens a man's heart and soul...IF...he/she survives.

The anguish, the ever present pain at the pit of your stomach; hunger because there was not enough to eat yesterday, there will not be enough today and surely not tomorrow or the day after.

There is a Gnostic legend that a poor man wandered from place to place begging for scraps to calm his hunger in exchange for menial work. Few gave him food, even fewer gave him work.The beggar was Lucifer himself. 

"You made a fruitless sacrifice dying on the cross," he said to Jesus who was standing beside him and remained silent.

And then a little boy of about ten years old walked out from one of the larger houses. " My mother is ill and no one could come down to ask you to come in and place more wood in the fireplace. I am the eldest you see. Please come in. You can have all the food you wish plus some to take on your journey."

Jesus, who was invisible to the boy turned to Lucifer" There are more good people in the world than you think, poor deluded Lucifer. Why do you think the world has not destroyed itself yet, though it has come perilously close so many times?" 

Lucifer sneered.

"Now begone Lucifer. I will enter the house where kindness lies in the heart of so many little ones. I will help them for they surely have me in their spirit."


Friday, October 7, 2011


Author's Note: This is a continuation of my previous essay " WHEN MEN BOLT AND DESTROY INNOCENT LIVES."

When Love dies, the subject of one's LOVE, be it a son or daughter, a husband, wife or lover, a sibling or a parent ; a piece of yourself dies with that individual. It can never be recovered. Much as in a heart attack, you hope that you will not die, but survive it brilliantly and colorfully instead; and that scar tissue will cover it in time.

These Murderers may be very much alive, how much is open to question. Why? Because those who wound others so thoughtlessly, selfishly, maliciously, deceitfully, carelessly/planned carefully down to the last details are murderers just as much as those who physically kill others. In a way they are worse.  True murderers relive their kills, feeling emotions which are negative and bad but emotions nevertheless. But the kind of emotional Murders I am dissecting here commit these acts without a backward glance. The worst are the husbands/lovers. They simply go on to the next victim. Of course they do not view the objects of their new Love (Lust is a far better word) as victims. These people do not know what Love, Dedication and Devotion is like. They feel only SEX. They are passionate exclusively  in a lustful howling dog relationship. They can simulate passion, but the only time they FEEL anything is only through depraved coupling.  Once that dissolves, its shelf life is about two years, it's on to the next object/victim. Do emotional and marital murderers live contented lives? Perhaps only sociopaths, because they are so good at pretense.

How do these  killers end their now cold and boring relationship? In this techno age, you need not even face your partner. Just steal away like a thief in the night. And then the beast gets in touch after he has carefully prepared the explanation/explanations with...what email!  Before out techie age, faxes became the rage for breaking off a relationship or running away from a marriage.

Now we come to the vital question.

Are those who wound their families sociopaths/psychopaths? Perhaps. I would dare to answer that in a way one might call them sociopaths. It is not prudent nor wise to blame  their parents or their childhoods.  I have seen vibrant marriages that have lasted sixty years and more and their progeny, sons particularly are "endowed" with multiple or serial marriages. The example set by the parents serve little or nothing. Why?

Because Love rarely dies a natural DEATH. It dies because we don't know or don't want to keep replenishing its vital source - its elan vital .

I would challenge those who use that odious cliche" It takes two to tango".  Not in a marriage dearies.
True, TWO people have to work at it constantly, despite almost insurmountable problems such as money, illness and catastrophic world events. But it only takes ONE of the partners to destroy a marriage or a relationship.  I speak from experience.

Love dies of betrayals and deceit and blindness. Of humiliations and negligence, it withers away like a tubercular lung or a rose whose lymph has been eaten away by aphids.

It dies of destructive behavior. Perhaps a partner is a borderline con-man. Real work is beneath him. He's smarter and usually ends up outsmarting himself, plunging those around him in a dramatic if not feast or famine life; into a never ending nightmare of perennial lack of funds.

It dies of mortal wounds. It dies of weariness. The recipients or dare I call them victims? can truly no longer keep receiving these blows, metaphorically speaking.

But wait , there is no REQUIESCAT IN PACEM in these death.

What happens to the recipients of this Murderer's actions? Women and children?

To be continued.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

USDA fines family four million dollars for selling bunny rabbits

When the Dollarhite family of Nixa, Mo., first started raising and selling bunnies as part of a lesson to teach their teenage son about responsibility and hard work, they had no idea they would eventually meet the heavy hand of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to a recent article covered in Breitbart's Big Government, the USDA recently ordered the Dollarhite family to pay more than $90,000 in fines because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a year -- and if they fail to pay the fine by Monday, May 23, the fine will multiply to nearly $4 million.

It all started back in 2006 when John Dollarhite and his wife Judy rescued two rabbits that ended up breeding. The family cared for and raised the new rabbits, and eventually began to sell them to neighbors, friends, and others for $10 or $15 each. Having started by first selling the animals for meat, and later for show, the Dollarhites carefully and humanely raised the small creatures on their three-acre homestead, all while teaching their son honest values in a business environment similar to running a small lemonade stand.

Eventually, the Dollarhites developed such a highly-respected reputation across Missouri that the popular Branson, Mo., theme park Silver Dollar City, and even a local pet store, Petland, began purchasing bunnies from the family in 2009. And according to John, individuals from both Silver Dollar City and Petland, as well as a rabbit competition judge, told him that the family's bunnies were among the best they had ever seen -- healthy, beautiful, and very well-cared for.

All seemed well until a USDA inspector showed up at the family's home in the fall of 2009, and asked to do a "spot inspection" of the rabbitry. The inspector made no indication that anything was amiss, but only that she wished to see the facility. After meandering the premises, the inspector claimed that a few very insignificant aspects of theraisingfacility were in violation of USDA standards, even though the Dollarhites were not USDA certified, nor were they required to be. She then asked if the Dollarhites wished to be part of the voluntary USDA certification system, upon which they told her they would look into it.

After the inspector left, the Dollarhites heard nothing more fromthe USDA until January 2010 when a Kansas City-based USDA inspector called the family and said he needed to have a meeting with them because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a single year. When the Dollarhites asked why this was a problem and what law this violated, the man refused to offer an explanation over the phone.

Upon meeting in person, the inspector said he was only there to investigate the rabbitry and take notes for a report, upon which he instructed the family to contact another USDA office if they failed to hear anything further from the USDA after six weeks. As the eighth week arrived without any communication, John called the office and was redirected to the Washington, DC, office where a lady shockingly and bluntly explained to him that she had his report, and that the USDA planned to prosecute him and his family "to the maximum that we can" in order to "make an example" out of him.

Shortly thereafter, the Dollarhites received a letter from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ordering them to pay a fine of $90,643 for supposedly violating a mystery law that prohibits the selling of more then $500 in rabbits within a year, even though the Dollarhites were in full accordance with Missouri state law, did not sell their rabbits across state lines, and raised their rabbits humanely and in excess of minimum requirements. The letter outlined that the Dollarhites had until May 23 to pay the exorbitant fine, or else face additional fines totaling nearly $4 million -- all for selling about $4,600 worth of rabbits that netted the family a mere $200 in profits.

The whole scenario proves, once again, that the USDA is nothing more than a tag-team terrorist duo with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both agencies' insatiable lust for power and control over private affairs is never satisfied, as they continue to prowl around like bloodthirsty predators seeking whoever and whatever they can devour. When will Americans finally stand up to their tyranny and say enough is enough?

To read the full account of the Dollarhite saga, click here:

Source:  Natural News

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rejoice It's Friday the 13th

To be or not to be superstitious. Tis Friday the thirteenth!!! And so it is. Some of the best things which have taken place in my life fell on Friday the Thirteenth.

How did the number thirteen come to have such a sinister meaning for those of us who live in the so called ''West?''. It happened thusly.

On a bleak October, Friday the thirteenth, in the year of Our Lord, 1314 the powerful King of France, Philip the Fourth, also known as Philip The Fair, ordered the arrest, torture, and execution of all the Knights Templars in France. This was done with the Blessings of the Pope. The charge – heresy (later recanted by the Vatican by the way).

The Templar's Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was immolated, (pun intended) at the stake. Inevitably all leaders of rich and potent organizaions who run afoul of even more powerful and wealthy groups are done in and disposed of. It has ever been thus.

A spate of motion pictures and books discuss the Templars. Some, like Dan Brown, chitter - chatter about it in ''The Da Vinci Code''. Others are far more serious and take the time to research their subjects.

Its all great fun, if you have nothing better to do, go and see the ''Kingdom of Heaven'' for more insight.

The Templars - The Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, were a trans-national, religious-military order, whose members were subject to monastic vows. The order was founded in 1150, supposedly to protect pilgrims going to The Holy Land: its name derives from the location of its headquarters - near or on the site of the Temple of Solomon.

Like Lucifer, they began with the Light, filled with the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Their intentions were noble and pure. However, the easy pickings of unarmed and prosperous Jews, Arabs, and Christians, who happened to live on the routes to Jerusalem, during the Crusades, were too strong to resist.

Rumors abound even today about the Templars discovery of certain secrets whilst digging in the ruins of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Solomon is a poor example of a Jewish leader, if indeed he was even Jewish. His mother, Bas Shiva was not. He was lustful, so much so that he had a harem (an abomination to the True Jews of the Torah). He was ruthless, greedy,and warlike. Solomon was supposed to be wise. Give me a break! He spent his people's money with no thought for their well being. Extravagant is a mild word to use on King Solomon. He would feel comfortably at home in our time.

The sublime Song of Songs attributed to him in the Old Testament, is just that... an attribution and a supposition.
Back to the Templars. What did the Templars find, digging underneath one of the areas of the Temple? I doubt they found anything of great value. The Romans under the Emperor Titus had destroyed the Temple, so that ''not one stone stood upon another stone".' Thus the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled. Before him, the Prophet Isaiah had predicted much the same thing. If there was any gold or other treasures, the Pharisees, who were smart men, would not have buried it in the Temple. Consider that the Roman Armies were thorough. Just remember what was done to Carthage almost three hundred years before. It died and it never rose again.

War always brings out the worst in men. Rarely does the best side of Humanity triumph. There would have been Jewish spies and informers. Keep in mind, the Emperor Titus, forced all the Jews to leave Palestine. They had no choice. It was the Diaspora or Death.

This is not to say that the Knights Templar didn't accumulate wealth. They did. A great deal of it. Without the limitless wealth of the Templars, to say nothing of their engineering and architectural expertise, which they learnt from the Arabs - the most stunning Gothic Cathedrals - Chartres, Notre Dame de Paris, Cologne, Santiago de Compostela, Burgos and Avignon to name a few would not be standing today, with their spires soaring towards the heavens.

What about the rumors that they found esoteric knowledge in Jerusalem? I believe it is more likely that the Templars stumbled onto whatever arcane knowledge they learned in Alexandria, Egypt. Since its founding by Alexander the Great, it had been a repository of Arcane and Gnostic Knowledge, as well as a center for the early Christians of the Catholic Church.

Two hundred years is a long time to amass great liquidity, hundreds of castles, estates, industries,and thousands upon thousands of indentured slaves.
The Templars became the biggest usurers/loan sharks in Europe. Kings, Rulers and Popes owed their souls and entrails to them. They were helpless if not prostrate before the Monk/Warriors.

The War machine of the Templars dwarfed the armies of Kings. They had the logistics, technology, and money to crush them without mercy. The Templars had strayed far from the teachings of Jesus.

''If you owe the bank ten thousand Euros, it's your problem. If you owe the bank one hundred million Euros, it's the bank's problem''.

That is flippant and superficial. First of all, those who are so foolhardy as to owe any bank such a vast sum of money, may find themselves drowned, disappeared or suicided. Banks have no hearts and souls. They can, and do, live with all sorts of suspicions. Retribution in this world hardly ever rains down upon any bank.

Over the centuries, the Knights Templar, who had taken vows of Celibacy and Poverty, degenerated into Assassins, Reprobates and Usurers. Their gods became War, Death, Sex (Including pedophilia) and Money.
Unbridled power corrupts absolutely. Unnacountability creates an illusion of invulnerability.

In stepped Pope Clement V. He found the moral strengh and grace to suppress the Order of the Knights Templars in 1312. They were excommunicated and ordered to disband immediately. The order was ignored.

Philip the Fair, King of France, owed so much money to the Templars, his interest payments alone were bankrupting his nation, and de-pauperizing his subjects. Desperate situations call for desperate measures.

The Arabs have an aphorism. ''Never push your enemy so far against the wall, he has no way out except to fight back'' (actually a lot of our "western wisdom" came from the Arabs – for more details read my book on Suleyman the Magnificent)

Philip reasoned, ''What can I and my people lose by implementing the Pope's order? I am the Defender of the Faith''. And the fact that he could wipe away his massive debts and sieze all their land and assets was a compelling incentive.

So, in October,while an early winter storm raged, on a Friday the 13th, in the year 1314, in great stealth, Philip sent his soldiers to arrest the most important Knights Templar. They were imprisoned in various dungeons through out France. The poor, and the feudal aristocracy alike, hated them so, they could not count on their support.

They had no time to gather their far-flung armies. The element of surprise had struck at their arrogance. Many were burnt at the stake. There is nothing left of the Templars today except Rumor, ''they say that'' and legends, which, being legends, never die. Several groups call themselves the Knights Templar and claim fidelity to their vows. I am not passing judgement for or against. Time will prove to be their greatest challenge.

We have writers of fiction who are fascinated with them. Evil exerts these attractions. Like Lucifer, they had everything initially. Like him, they chose
the Negative Way.

The Templars became a barbarous lot, who lived in barbarous times, acted barbarously and met their end barbarously.

So, enjoy Friday the 13th. It is a day of Rejoicing especially if you owe money to somebody. Not a day to fear – unless of course you are some wicked and debauched money lender – then I say watch out.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Obama's Birth Certificate is an Obvious Fake - But That's OK with Me

 Now that the White House has released President Obama's birth certificate, the case is now closed, but they just won't stop ranting about it. Why are these birthers still complaining?

They claim the birth certificate document is a fake. Why does that matter? But of course the document is a fake. It's not "merely" fake; it's so fake that the whole thing has become an IQ test for figuring out how many people can be so easily fooled by a fake.

If I turned in a document like this as part of an effort to get a home loan, for example, and I assembled it layer by layer with obvious cutting and pasting of numbers from multiple sources in order to fake my reported income levels, I would be guilty of a felony crime. At the very least, I would be laughed out of the room. "Are you kidding me? This is your best attempt at falsifying an income statement?" they would say. Even a high school kid with a scanner and Photoshop knows how to make a more convincing forgery than this... 

For an explanation of why it's all so obviously a fake, watch this:

But I ask the far more important question:Does it matter that it's a fake in the first place?Given that most of the U.S. government's job statistics are fake, and that the U.S. dollar is being counterfeited on a daily basis by the Fed, and that virtually the entire U.S. economy is built on fake "abundance" that's really just more debt spending... isn't it is some way actually moreauthenticto have a President at the helm who faked his birth certificate?

It's almost like he's more qualified for the job, you see, running the fake economy with fake dollars while the mainstream media distributes all the fake news. And then in between the fake news bits, the advertisers come on and promote their fake foods, and fake pharmaceuticals which are approved based on faked science approved by FDA regulators who are faking it, too.

Couples are now artificially fertilized (fake conception!), and when their children are born, they feed them fake milk (infant formula). They grow up on fake sweeteners and fake (artificial) colors. In school, they're taught fake U.S. history so that they have fake ideas of how the world really works. When they're old enough, they get to participate in faked voting schemes where the winners are already determined.

And thanks to the internet, we live in a world of fake friends, fake emotions and fake sex. Football games are played on fake grass, and today's "reality" TV shows are all faked, too. Professional wrestling is fake (but MMA isn't), and most of the news consumed by the masses is entirely fabricated. Even the science behind most of modern medicine is faked, fabricated or twisted around in order to get the results the drug companies want to see.

And oh yeah, the drugs are faked, too, especially the antidepressants which appear to work only because of the Placebo Effect -- which is real, even though it only exists in the mind.

We need more leaders who embrace fakery.  For the most part, we are fake people living in a fake world engaged in fake interactions. So why shouldn't we have a fake President with a fake birth certificate to top it all off?

I don't know what the problem is here with the obviously fake birth certificate. Of course it's a fake. But isn't that what we vote for when we vote for any president? After all, presidential election campaigns are all about making fake promises uttered with fake smiles as part of faked speeches that are actually written by somebody else and read on the teleprompter.

In fact, I would argue that Obama's faked birth certificate makes himmore authenticthan any other President in American history. It is precisely this mastery of fakery that has allowed Obama to deliver fake health care reform, faked world peace (new war on Libya!), and faked preparedness (radioactive fallout from Fukushima? Don't prepare!)

It's perfect for a nation of fake people who live in fake houses with the fake stonework plastered onto the front to make them look as if they were built out of stone. The people go get their cosmetic surgery and botox (faked youth!) so they can meet new fake people and pursue their fake relationships with faked orgasms. Their profiles on Facebook are completely faked; their resumes handed in at prospective employers are faked; and even their apparent "wealth" is faked because they're neck-deep in debt on that luxury car parked in the driveway of the luxury house they can't afford.

At work, they fake like they're getting something done so that they can receive a paycheck that's also largely faked because it's denominated in fake dollars which are deposited in a fake (electronic) bank account so that the money can be multiplied and leveraged in order for the bank to keep creating more fake currency in the form of loans handed out to people who faked their credit history and lied on their loan applications. But who cares? As long as we all fake it together, the system works!

So we go shopping with our fake money and we buy fake "fashion" jeans with fake holes already pre-fabricated right into the pant legs, and we purchase our colognes and perfumes made with fake chemical fragrances that try to put a fake smell on our bodies so that we can meet other fake people who wear their own faked chemical smells to try to fool us into thinking they smell like fresh flowers and honey when, in reality, they stink like a country goat.

They use cosmetics to fake their skin health, and hair implants to fake their hair growth. Young girls are wearing fake contact lenses to fake their pupil dilation as fakes sign of faked sexual arousal. This is designed to get a rise out of their fake date partner who takes them to a fake restaurant to order fake food grown from fake (GMO) seeds and fertilizers with fake soils (made out of composted human sewage) which is contaminated with fake hormones (HRT drugs) and other drugs.

And the next morning they'll wake up and share a bowl of faked blueberries in their faked breakfast cereals. Those have been faked, too.

Authentic leaders would fail.   In fact, the whole matrix in which we live today is so universally faked and fabricated that I'm not sure that an authentic, genuine human being would even have a chance at leading the nation.We need fake Presidents to lead our fake nation into fake economic abundance, so all those "birthers" screaming about the faked birth certificate should frankly just shut up and eat their fake ham sandwiches made with that faked processed cheese food-like substance squeezed between two pieces of fake white bread.

Stop complaining and watch your fake "reality" TV shows, listen to the fake news, work at your fake government job and keep swallowing fake food so that you can become a highly-profitable patient in our faked health care system based on faked science and run by fake researchers. This is how the system works today. Reality has nothing to do with it, and you should abandon any such bizarre ideas. They're unpatriotic.

In fact, the release of Obama's birth certificate, with all its layers and Photoshop edits and mismatched numbers that were obviously assembled from multiple sources is not an admission of fakery -- it's a proud statement of authenticity! It says that our President is perfectly in tune with the faked society over which he presides. That's what we need in America today; a genuine man of the People.

After all, only a true fake can achieve the level of fakery required in our world to be embraced as authentic.

And today, I bow down to the master of fakery; the man who is so authentic in his fakiness that he has releasedthe world's first authentic counterfeit birth certificate, proudly assembled from layers that would be widely considered faked by anyone who wasn't sufficiently psychologically invested in the real world, by which I mean our faked society.

From here forward, I think we should all just start faking it. Reality, after all, is overrated.

Source:  Natural News

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Dona Esperanza sat spellbound in her bamboo chaise lounge in the verandah. At this hour of the morning she was alone. Soon the frisson of an Easter dawn would overwhelm her and she would give thanks for another Holy Week passed in reflection, meditation and harmony.

“Everything took place without incident (no blood shed by terrorist guerillas) my family has its tensions and frustrations but not one of them is a drunk, an addict, a cruel parent and employer, and a mean-hearted individual. They all work hard to fulfill their duties. The children enjoy school and are all top-notch students. I thank you for my blessings, O Jesus,” she humbly prayed.

“Are we disturbing you Mama?” asked Matt.

“Would you prefer to be alone with your thoughts?”

“This is a welcome surprise,” she thought. “Oh no, hijos, I am happy that all of us had the same thoughts. Dahlia and Allegra had also joined her eldest son and daughter.

“It was a truly sacred Holy Week. A Joyous Easter Mama.”

“I am sorry I was irritated at the beginning of Lent at the thought of spending these holy days in the unbearable heat of Manila.”

“It came to us that perhaps we are all overly spoiled. Some reminders of crude realities have surely made us better human beings.”

“Our children will grow up to be more enlightened and spiritual beings.”

“They, like you and to a lesser degree us, because of you, will be open and understanding towards all religious beliefs, no matter how weird and outlandish they might appear.”

“So long as they are not Satanic and do not involve possession of one’s body and ultimately one’s soul, infestation of one’s house and a Faustian bargain," stated Dona Esperanza.

“I think I speak for all of us, that these last three days of the Passion and Agony of Christ have cleansed us. We feel enriched. We feel kind towards our fellow beings, especially those we do not like,“ Matt told his mother and sisters.

“A Joyous Easter Mama,” they reiterated bending down to hug and kiss her. She clasped each one to her bosom. Dona Esperanza had cried in anguish and in pain over the tragedies that had befallen her clan,

“So far, I have not had to live through the indescribable agony of losing one of my children. I am thankful to God for that. Almost all of the people I know; friends, acquaintances and relatives have all experienced the deaths of one or more children.”

A chorus of “Happy Easter”, from her three sons-in law; handsome and serious Edmund, Camilla’s husband and father of Lucrezia, greeted Dona Esperanza. Armand, debonair, devil-may care and an inveterate gambler married to Allegra her youngest daughter. They had produced Freckie, Zita and Henry, still a toddler. Esperanza’s favorite son–in-law was Rudolf (Rudy) Dahlia’s spouse and father of six-year-old Lola. Rudy was a source of strength, the kind Jesus and the Buddha would have chosen as a disciple. The Japanese had beaten him senseless. They tortured him. His spirit had never been crushed. Rudy remained his good-natured, patient and self-effacing self.

“A queridos, where are you all off to at this hour of the morning? It’s quarter past five in the morning, “ she exclaimed laughing in between their kisses on her cheeks. It was a ritual between them. She always knew where they were headed. They enjoyed telling her.

“By the time I shower, dress and breakfast with Dahlia, it will be nearly six o’clock. It takes thirty minutes to get there. I shall be just in time for the golf game which starts at seven. I am going to do a few rounds with my Roxas-Acuna cousins at Wack Wack Country Club," replied Rudy.

“I have an unfinished poker game with Harry and Joe Levine,” said Armand.

Esperanza smiled and said nothing. Joe ran the International Casino for the Mafia or so went the rumors. Joe was one of her most trusted friends since the thirties.

“He won’t let Armand lose his head today of all days. If I know Joe, he’ll see that Armand shows up for the Easter Egg Hunt at 9:00 o’clock this morning.”

“My Beloved Mother died on Easter Sunday of 1944. That’s her anniversary. I shall visit her grave as long as I can. Tong the gardener has made a huge bouquet of waling-waling “(the spectacular Vanda Sanderiana Orchids native only to the Philippines.)

“Queridos, Hasta pronto. Be on the lookout for drunk drivers or for those with hangovers. Easter for some is a time of alcohol, sex and drugs,” she told them, mindful that friends and acquaintances had been injured, maimed and killed because they had been involved in smash-ups with those under the influence or they themselves had been more than a little stoned at the time of their crack-ups.

“In a few hours, we are going to be invaded by 25 children between the ages of 7 and 12, at the very least. Who knows just how many tortured and moody teen-agers will come? Muttered Matthias.

“Mon Dieu, the exclusive schools these children attend including ours, won’t accept more than 15 to a class. That gives you an idea of our bravery,” quipped Allegra.

“Thank God, Easter, comes but once a year. I can barely survive Lent as it is now, replied Camilla the eldest of his sisters and mother to Lucrezia.

“I am always terrified by what choice jewels may issue forth from Fray Paco’s mouth if one of these tweety children provokes him,” said Dahlia, the middle sister and mother of Lola, who was in the province of Laguna spending Holy Week with her paternal grand-mother, Dona Pilar.

“Isn’t Lola coming back this morning for the Easter egg hunt and our song fest?’ asked Allegra, the youngest sister, Her children were Ziti, Freckie and Henry.

“We have just seen Edmund leave for his Easter salute to Dona Zorayda. He has made it clear he prefers to be alone. He says it’s like a break for him,” said Camilla, her voice tinged with sadness.

“His mother Zorayda died a tragic death of tuberculosis on Easter Sunday of 1944. What a beautiful and unusual woman she was. All that unimaginable and incalculable wealth she and her older sister Keramen had in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. She was so natural and accepting of her great beauty. It reminds me of Lucrezia's what-of-it attitude. Beauty can sometimes be terrifying,” declared Dona Esperanza.

“ I remember her at a ball in the Manila Hotel just a few days before Pearl Harbor was bombed on the 7th of December. She wore a black lace gown under scarlet silk. Few knew that the many buttons on the back of her gown encased in mother –of pearl were all three carat rubies from Burma,” Camilla recalled.

“The Japanese beheaded two of her sons, Edmund’s brothers, Mikel and Willie and then they sent her the photographs. How considerate,” uttered Matthias with sarcasm.

“Fernando, her fifth son, was shot dead in Baguio. It was a gold mine he was protecting for the Buch-von Remo family and for their American partners, the Guggenheims I think. What futile romanticism. I would not die to protect any of my family’s assets,” declared Matt.

His statement startledd his sisters. “Oh don’t be alarmed. I never said I would not die protecting my family, I used the word assets,” he pointed out.

Chocolate eggs from Switzerland had been ordered from the Swiss Trading Company – Marsman and Sons. They only sold Lindt, the best milk chocolates on the market. The eggs varied in size from three inches to 12 inches in length. They contained lovely mementos. Gold pendants in the shape of all the letters of the alphabet for the girls. The boys received carved signet rings with their family’s coat of arms.

“We researched the coats of arms thoroughly. We are all related by blood, marriage, money, business and financial alliances, and of course, adultery,” pointed out Allegra keeping a straight face.

Mother, son and daughters cracked up with laughter.

“There might be some incest it that boiling cauldron you have just so flippantly referred to Allegra.

Her son and daughters looked on in horror. She hastened to clarify.

“It is not a father committing unspeakable acts with his daughter. I think it deals more with some of our men and women indulging in sex with their husbands’ brothers or for that matter with their sisters’ husbands. It is the order of the day in our oligarchy for first cousins to marry. The elders in the family discourage such matches. The Church grants dispensations for matrimony between first cousins after a through investigation of the case. The point is are the young people besotted with each other really first cousins? We have no tests as yet to determine if instead they may be half brother and half sister.”

“How did you get to know so much Mama? “

“Life, my darlings. Just living Life. Let’s move on to a more scrumptious subject – chocolates anybody.”

“For those who preferred the so called ‘Fondente,' chocolate composed of a minimum of 75% Cacao, the plantations in the Bicol Peninsula owned by the Buch von Remos sent kilos of pure cacao to enable the Chef at Santol Mansion to bake them in the shape of cockatoos, Batman and Superman.

Amir, the young son of Ranjit Singh, one of their Chiefs of Security had been thoughtful enough to draw a map. The tropics could be deadly. In no time, insects and pesky ants would get to the chocolates and ruin everything for the children.

Ronnie Laing, an extravagant decorator, florist and artist had engaged his artists in decorating white porcelain eggs from China. They had Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist motifs. Some eggs also had Chinese symbols of good luck, good fortune and Long life. The Ortigas women had ordered gorgeous porcelain eggs hand painted and signed in Naples, which featured the Passion of Christ.

“Those are not to
be placed on the ground. They are not free. Anyone who wants these masterpieces, 12 in all can go the Hospice of Saint Joseph and pay $120 dollars for them,” Esperanza had suggested.

“Filipinos, like the Spanish and the Italians are not punctual. We should have said first come first served just as Monsignor Alberti did at the Mass of Holy Saturday. They would have inundated Santol Mansion by now, instead of arriving in trickles,” observed Camilla.

The seven cousins appeared in all their finery, ready to assist and charm their guests. Lola had just joined them.

“You have no idea what you missed by going to Laguna,” declared Dolly.

“I saw the Crucifixion re-enacted. On the Plaza (town square) it scared me and I cried. Did you see one?” retorted Lola nonplussed.

"No we did not. But we went through the Agony and the Passion of Jesus as if we had been there with him,” replied Lucrezia.

“Welcome back to Santol Lola, we all missed you,” said Jaime. They closed ranks and hugged her. “Where is Fray Paco?"

“The dwarves won’t bring him out until the party is well on its way and the Egg hunt is about to begin,” said Heinzie.

“You are the most beautiful one here Lucrezia. Everyone else is pretty and nice looking. No one has the “It” but you and the Dona,” whispered Ah Wei into her ear.

“Thank you Amah, but please don’t remind me all the time because I might become conceited and make even more girls envious and hostile towards me,” she implored AhWei. Also, I feel that my essence is violated every time physical beauty is mentioned, she mused.

“Child is right. She is lovely to look at like a swan and she is not yet eleven. She is naturally elegant and does not have any of the awkwardness of girls her age. I had no idea Lucrezia knew about the anger her beauty and her smarts aroused in other girls. In Shanghai bordello before I ran away to the Temple of the White Mandarins (the Jesuit Cathedral of Saint Ignatius Loyola) we all hated the most beautiful girl even if she was kind to all of us,” remembered Ah Wei with a shiver.

Lucrezia’s dress was a peach colored silk organza, with tiny hand-embroidered rosebuds in cyclamen. That is magical color for Chinese. "May it protect her from harm today. I have bad feeling about this egg hunt, I don’t know why,” said the Amah quietly.

In the torrid heat of the driest part of the summer, it was not elegant to show one’s feet unless one was at the beach or at the country club. All seven cousins between the ages of seven to twelve wore hand woven linen socks, which matched their ensemble. Lucrezia loved her cyclamen colored ballerinas handcrafted by a cobbler in Barcelona. The boys had Italian moccasins made by Zingone in Rome.

It seemed that all their cousins, friends and acquaintances arrived within minutes of each other. Their grandmother and their parents had barely enough time to exchange pleasantries before the children headed their way.

“Well, look at you. You are a tall adolescent but you still have your Amah hovering over you like a shadow,” said Kiya de la Rama artlessly.

In 1907, after a struggle, which took seven years, Don Cesar, Lucrezia's great-great uncle had at last taken over every piece of property, company, enterprise, and precious object that had once belonged to the De la Rama family. He had destroyed them.

Kiya was a direct descendant of that family. She was a great- granddaughter of Don Jesus Maria de la Rama, Don Cesar’s most implacable foe. Her father was a dashing Castilian, one of Manila society’s pedigreed poor. Her mother Mari-Cruz, who was as plain and dowdy as she was rich could set her sights on the comely de la Rama. Her father, Charles Darnay owned 670 and counting pawnshops throughout the archipelago.

“You are just being catty because you are nearly fourteen and I am already an inch taller than you. I want Amah close to me. She’s clever. And oh! I almost forgot Happy Easter and all that stuff,” she answered leading Kiya to her cousin Raff (Rafael,) who was stunning, and closer to her own age.

Kiya was beauteous; wavy ebony hair, fair skin and jet black eyes. She was endowed with an acid tongue and coltish demeanor. Boys fled her company as soon as they could. Raff had promised Lucrezia he would spend at least 15 minutes chatting her up. He had a secret crush on Lucrezia and did not know how to refuse any of her requests.

What neither of them knew was that Kiya liked Raff and was determined to stick to him like glue. Raff sensed it. Boys and Girls are fey about the effect of their pheromones on members of the opposite sex.

Then Fray Paco made his grand entrance. He flew sharply and low and yelled "The Eastah egg hunt will now begin!”

“Phew, saved by Fray Paco,” thought Raff.

His attendants Eneas and Achilles kept a sharp eye out for hawks, his natural enemies. The youngsters scampered, their parents strode, and their elders walked while chatting amongst themselves.

Lucrezia found herself surrounded by Raff and Harry, “They’re cute but way too old for me.”

Heinzie, Jaime, Charlie, Dolly and Lola followed closely behind them. Freckie had joined Kiya and was talking up a storm.

“Ooh, here’s an egg shaped box,” squealed Lola.

“I found one too," repeated Dolly.

“Here’s another box.”

“And another,”

“And yet another.”

Hurrah! I found one, right behind the trunk of the avocado tree,” cried out Lucrezia.

Raff and Harry located their boxes. They opened them, slowly peeled off the silver paper covering the chocolate eggs. "Hey everybody, there’s a gift inside. Pay attention as to how you open them. All right? They espied the signet rings.” Wow! It’s a gas,” they exclaimed in delight.

“If you find a gold pendant inside a chocolate egg and you are a boy, please exchange it with the girl who has the signet ring instead. No one will be left without a gift. We have more of them for any eventuality,” Uncle Matt reminded them.

“Where arrr me gifts? roared Fray Paco.

“You get one of each mi amor,” Dona Esperanza informed him.

“Si, Si, Hai Hai, Ja, Ja, Yes, Yes,” he cried out in childish enthusiasm.

“Oh shut up, you silly old bird. Why does he merit two? He isn’t even a human being,” yelled Freckie.

“Yeah, he’s right,” agreed his friends Eddie and Jackie.

Fray Paco, a raptor was sharpening his talons. “I earned me gifts churl.”

The high-ranking members of the Ortigas Nieto clan froze. Since 1907, during the Night of the Long Winds) the typhoon) no one had ever dared disrespect their wise, savvy and smart-ass cockatoo. Who was this snotty nosed kid, a hooligan in the making, to challenge their tradition to one so deserving of their love.

It was Dona Esperanza who took the thirteen-year-old challenger by the horns.
‘Freckie this is neither the time nor the place to act like the spoiled, thoughtless kid you really are. Fray Paco merits those gifts and more. End of discussion.”

Allegro and Armand approached Freckie. “Find a rock and crawl underneath it son,” suggested his father with disappointment. Try not to commit any more gaffes like this one or you might just be grounded for the polo matches.”

Freckie was due to play his first polo match later that afternoon at the Polo Club. That did it for Freckie. He would eat crow for a few minutes of glory on the field playing with his cousins.

He ran over to Dona Esperanza, took her hand and cried, ”I don’t know what came over me. I love Fray Paco very much. I apologize for my behavior.”

She gazed long and hard into her grandson’s stricken face. “Your apology is accepted dear.

“Fray Paco could not have said it any better with his “I earned me gifts, churl,” she reflected.

The Japanese occupiers had used the ground floor of Santol Mansion as an area where their samurais could practice their plays and thrusts with the Katana. Dona Esperanza had removed every single tile, knocked down its wooden floors and had turned it into a skating rink. Her architects had designed it in such away that narra floor boards could be placed over it, converting it into a dance floor. A center stage was set back against the wall, where a twenty piece orchestra played. Sound engineers from their radio and television station had set up a state of the art PA system. Young and old loved to dance; it’s in their genes,

“The Polynesians gave us not only some of the words of their language, they gave us grace, timing and rhythm,” affirmed Dona Esperanza.

“We are all like flowers, Gran,” stated Lucrezia.

“The dance and song fest is about to begin,” announced Matt over the PA system, which had been placed in strategic places in the vast gardens.

Li Mei and Chung li, granddaughters and grandson respectively of the man Dona Esperanza and her clan affectionately and respectfully addressed as Uncle Wak Nam, begun the short program. They sang a duet "Mek Wei – Mek Wei” in Hakka. Everyone was familiar with the rousing music. Pop singers Frankie Laine and Tony Bennett had just recorded it in English. The song was known as” Rose, Rose I love you.” It had skyrocketed to the top of the charts on radio and in music stores in Asia, Australia, The Commonwealth, Canada and the United States.

“Rose, Rose I love you,
With an aching heart.
Glory is your future,
Now we have to part. Standing on a rickshaw as my steamer pulls away.
Flower of Malaya I cannot stay.

All my life I shall remember,
Loads of scented roses and you in my arms,
Bright powdery beaches and swaying palms
Perfumed peonies in your tresses.
Your beautiful form in your cheongsam dress.

Rose, Rose I love you.
My tears are flowing still.
East is east and West is west.
Our worlds can never be.

Flower of Malaya, I cannot stay.

The Wak Nam children did something unprecedented for that time and place. They invited the seven Ortigas children - Lucrezia, Dolly, Lola, Heinzie, Jaime, Zita and Freckie to join them on stage with their respective Hakka Amahs. Li Mei and Chung Li also had Hakka Amahs.

The Amahs knew and loved one another. It was as if they shared a big secret that only they were privy to. Dona Esperanza and Don Wak Nam knew about their tragic fate in China, since they had been the prime movers of their rescue.

Thus, Chinese and Filipino-European children and their Hakka Amahs sang Mek Wei O Mek Wei in Chinese and then in English.

“I am going to feature you all on our family’s radio station. You should learn more songs in Chinese and English,” said Matt excitedly through the applause.

All seventeen participants took countless bows.

Ayesha and Chandra Singh danced a stylized Bharata Natyam. The girls were sisters and sat behind Lucrezia in her classroom at the College of the Holy Spirit. Bharata Natyam is a form of Hindu mystical dance portraying the Lord Shiva dancing around the planets created by Brahma. The Mudras (hand movements) took years to master.

Jaime, one of the cousins sang “Francisco Alegre Ole” a cappella. The song was about a tragic torero, Francisco Alegre, who is stabbed by a rival just before he is to enter the Plaza de Toros in Seville. He must face the fiercest toro( bull ) of them all. He emerges the victor abd collapses just as he kneels before the statue of La Virgen de la Macarena- The Virgin of Macarena who is a black virgin. Jaime had a crystalline voice and was a marvelous actor. He garnered much applause.

Michi, one of the members of the clan appeared in a costly kimono to sing Sakura, a sad, sublime Japanese song full of hope. Michi was a stately 14, year old, her face and demeanor showed the near perfection of east meeting west in coitus

No one in the clan discussed it openly, but Michi’s mother Cornelia, nicknamed Corni since childhood had had a passionate love affair with one of the most attractive Japanese officers serving in the Kempeitai (the Secret Service).

Given Cornelia’s loveliness; long, flowing light brown hair, caramel skinned and emerald eyed, the Officer asked her parents for permission to “court” her. It was a form of refined sexual coercion. It was nothing but rape.

Michi’s father had a family in Japan with whom he was reunited at the end of hostilities. He continued however to look after her every need. Anything that was in the form of money was politely sent back by her parents. So, he sent her the finest baroque pearls as well as Mikimoto pearls. He sent exquisite porcelain, obis and sets of jade and lacquered combs.

Twice a year, Corni and Mitchi for Mitchiko traveled to Tokyo as guests of the former Colonel, now a nobleman in the entourage of Lady Chichibu, sister in-law of the Emperor Hirohito. Lord Chichibu was his brother and was the brain behind the Japanese war machine.

Ivan was a prodigy on the violin. At ten, he offered them Antonin Dvorak’s Humoresque. He was the natural son of Armand, Allegra’s husband. He had conducted an affair with a White Russian hostess who worked in one of Manila’s most famous nightclubs, They had all understood that Armand, though loving Allegra deeply had a sexual attraction to and for women that exceeded prudence and good sense.

In truth Esperanza had opposed the marriage because she knew from personal experience that sex and gambling, when given free rein turned into obsessions like drugs from which one could not tear himself away. She was not present at her daughter’s lavish wedding to Armand at the Cathedral of Manila. That was the only way she could show her fears and perplexities. She attended the wedding reception, which she hosted at the Casino Espanol and not at Santol Mansion.

“I paid for all the expenses without an aye or bye. I cannot control her destiny. She must live her life. I know it will be a sorrowful one. I am tempted not to show up at the Reception but I must go through with it. I am going to hurt Allegra more than I already have. I want her to know that I love her even if I don’t like what she has done and that she can always count on me.

Dona Esperanza and Dona Apollonia were providing for Ivan’s schooling.

“I could not agree with you more Queridita, the boy is blameless. He is gifted. We must both help out. It is our duty,” opined Apollonia.

“Don’t take offense mia cara. Life will be feast or famine with Armand. I understand from my informers that he rarely sees the boy; He is no longer interested in the mother. She was just a toy to enjoy for a while. We are going to help her out financially as well. We cannot and must not give Ivan an expensive education while he lives a hand to mouth existence with his mother, “ declared Esperanza.

This Easter celebration was the occasion for Ivan to become acquainted with his half-brothers and sister as well as the rest of his cousins in a natural; setting. Esperanza hoped that the power of music and his gift for the violin which was an instrument that touched you in your deepest being would slowly sweep away any resentment.

The finale was the Tinkling, an intricate Filipino dance originating from central Luzon, where rice paddies stunned you with their green colors and the yellow morning mists over the rice paddies caused you to draw in your breath and abandon yourself to becoming enraptured.

Two long and thick pairs of bamboo poles were inserted firmly into stone or cement stands. One person on each side of the bamboo, three people in all slid and struck the poles in syncopated rhythm of One, Two, Three. It was constant and the beat increased in tempo until one could no longer see the feet fly.

It went “One” - bamboo poles struck together. Two and three - hit apart. This enabled the dancers to place their right and left feet inside the open poles dancing in imitation of the long legged thin bird in the rice paddies – the Tinkling. They then ended up with both their feet on the other side. Now the left foot was closest to the pole so that would be the first one inside the open poles at the stroke of two, then the right foot at three. As the poles were brought together at the count of one, both feet would not be on the other side of the poles. It was a dance of dexterity and it was performed in one’s bare feet.

“Lose one beat, and an ankle would be crushed like a leaf.” Most Filipino children easily mastered it, so did the many nationalities such as Chinese, Spanish, Japanese. Etc. The important ingredient in one’s myriads of genes was Filipino blood. That gave one the syncopation and the fascinating rhythm George Gershwin wrote about.

All the children were dancing the Tinkling with the greatest of ease, without incident. The Rondalla played the song Tinkling as Dona Esperanza, her children and the rest of the clan sang the song in Tagalog or Filipino with energy and gusto. Mir, son of their Sikh Chief of Security had changed the words as befitting Easter Sunday.

“Evviva! Bravissimi! Monsignor Albert had shown up unexpectedly.

“I thought you could not make it,” shouted Esperanza amid the din.

“I did not want to raise false hopes, I instructed my driver to drive as fast as he could which is way over the speed limit. Eccomi qua. Here I am. All the Ortigas-Nieto bambini and ragazzi dancing the Tinkling as if they had been doing it all their lives. Look at them. Sono favolosi. They are fabulous. I want them for a film the Vatican is doing on the Philippines. His Holiness is going to love this dance.”

“Someday, when I become a Minister of the Roman Curia, I am aiming for Treasury or Finance, if God and the fates allow, I shall do everything in my power to sponsor poor boys and girls to come to Italy to study. They can tour during the summer months and sing and dance as only they can,” he mused.

“Buona Pasqua a tutti. A good Easter to all,” exclaimed the Apostolic Nuncio as the merriment and gaiety continued.

Midnight Mass in Manila

Midnight Mass on the Eve of Easter marked the first time since the horrific War in the Pacific had ended in 1946, that an Easter Mass was being celebrated publicly in the evening,

The Japanese had taken particular delight in the mistreatment and maltreatment of Filipinos during the war. Manila was the Pearl of the Orient, the capital of the American Empire. Under MANIFEST DESTINY, Presidents McKinley and his successor Theodore Roosevelt had set their sights on the Philippines, then a colony of a ruined and self-destructive Spain.

The principal reason was to thwart Japan’s expansionism and hegemony in the Pacific. America badly needed a colony in a strategic area of the Pacific. The Philippines was perfect. A population of twenty million souls with a high rate of literacy, higher than their South. Its position in the Malacca Straits meant that its dominion of the Straits constituted an important first step towards the American Empire. Being clever men, the American Rulers did not fail to see the vast natural resources. Sugar, gold, hemp, tobacco, cotton, pearls and copper. Then there was the most precious of all resources – the Filipinos themselves. All this and it was a Christian country too!!

Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan had witnessed first hand the horror of several hundred thousand corpses burnt and fried by radiation in a matter of seconds. The Japanese forces in the Philippines not only continued to fight on, they turned as brutal as they could towards the brave-hearted Filipinos who battled on in the swamps, mountains, rain forests and boondocks (boondocks) The Japanese executed 400 Filipinos for every Japanese killed by the Guerillas, They grieved but continued their struggle.

The liberation of Manila was a mass slaughter. The American forces had to take it room by room, forget house to house. Manila bore the brunt of the ugliness and inevitable Death of War.

Monsignor Enio Alberti and the Catholic Church in the Philippines as well as its most enlightened political, business and cultural leaders decided that the Celebration of Holy Saturday would be a genuine act of moving forward and looking ahead rather than turning constantly back to their irreplaceable loved ones and unspeakable anguish.

"As Manila goes so will the rest of the archipelago,” declared the Monsignor in his apostolic letter to the Bishops in the Philippine Dioceses.

In an unspoken but eloquent gesture, the people of Manila had accepted the challenge and their attendance at this High Mass in Latin was the proof.

Dona Esperanza slowly walked down the central nave if the Church of San Beda (Saint Bede) Her son and daughter-in law and then her daughters with their husbands in tow came closely behind. The Hakka Amahs held the hands of their respective "children".

Dona Esperanza had given them the choice of staying at home in their cozy beds and enjoying their well deserved sleep or coming with her, in other words no choice at all.

“Thank you, my Dona. I speak for us all. Even if we are a bit tired. We not miss this event for our Hakka people suffer and die too in Manila,” Ah Wei had replied.

“I have never seen so many people, there must be thousands inside and outside San Beda, marveled Dona Esperanza.

The thousands stretched from E. Mendiola Street where the Benedictine monks to honor Saint Bede, the learned and erudite monk, all the way to Aviles Street, had built San Beda Church in the early 17th century. The people stood before the locked gates of the Presidential Palace – Malacanang. It had been the official residence of most of the Spanish Governor- Generals who had ruled the 3,700 plus islands in the name of the King. The American military Governors had picked the splendidly white marbled Malacanang as their residence as well. They governed in the name of the President, Theodore Roosevelt, an imperial and illuminated political leader.

Giant loudspeakers placed atop trucks laden with heavily armed soldiers to enable the masses of faithful on the streets to follow the Mass inside San Beda. The leaders of the Philippine communities and its religious leaders led by the Nuncio feared terrorist attacks by the Marxist guerillas. Hence the soldiers armed to the teeth.

It was a joint military exercise. American soldiers could be spotted armed with rifles and telescopic sights standing on armored tanks.

“We are at peace? I would like to know from what and from whom. The war never ended. This is just called by another name – the Cold War. I think it is even more deadly than the one we have just survived. Helpless and Innocent people are being murdered in this War with the ugly name - Cold War. God help us,” prayed Esperanza.

“San Beda looks intimidating,” whispered Lucrezia.

“It’s scary,” agreed Zita.

Few candles were lit inside the church. The Faithful used flashlights to find their seats.

“It’s like scenes from the movies,” remarked several voices.

“Ssh. Quiet. “ Unseen voices murmured.

“I think they may be right. This is a form of spectacle,” said Esperanza softly.

“It’s a sacred spectacle Mamma,” affirmed Matthias, eldest son of Esperanza.

‘The waiting is the worst part,” stated Allegra, her youngest daughter, mother of Zita and Freckie.

‘Why did we come so early? “ Asked a perplexed Freckie.

"Cuz…Monsignor Alberti decided not to allow reserved seats for any of the VIPs."

“That would be our family and others like us,” pointed out Dolly.

“It’s first come, first served,” explained Heinzie.

Lucrezia turned her head slowly. Her pupils had by now adjusted themselves to the blackness, but she had difficulty making out the outlines of the altar of gold facing her. The gold glistened.

“Ahhh, that will guide me,” observed Lucrezia.

The Blessed Sacrament – the golden chalice holding the sacred host, which symbolically was both the body and blood of Jesus, was not exposed. There was a larger and more opulent chalice on the altar, but it was empty. The fragments of light striking it from the dome reminded the faithful it must be so.”

Multitudes terrorized her. “Since the ambush in the blue and green hills of Montalban, floods of people make me feel faint. It seems as if elephants are sitting on my chest. If I keep on thinking about it, I shall surely pass out. I must not and I won’t,” resolved Lucrezia.

She turned towards Ah Wei and clutched her hand. “Terrible and sad visions are appearing before my eyes. Why don’t we recite the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary? (It dealt with the Passion and agony of Christ.)

“Child, you always forget. I pray in Hakka,”Ah Wei reminds her softly. “Bad memories must never crush you. You are never alone.”

Lucrezia sighed deeply. The darkness, the tumult, the roar of the masses of faithful praying sends icicles through her arms, chest and legs.

“Dear Jesus. Dear Guardian Angel Mahasiah who forms part of the chorus of the Seraphim – the Archangel Metatron, help me please. Remove my fears “

She closed her eyes and repeated over and over until she no longer felt her heart beating in her chest and her breath was slow and faint. She let the calmness descend over her.

A symphony of small bells suddenly began ringing. Dozens of altar boys in white carried them and rang them as they walked down the three aisles of the Church towards the Altar. A lone acolyte carrying a candle preceded them and lit the way for Monsignor Alberti. He wore dazzling orange vestments and he was carrying the sacred Chalice containing the body and blood of Christ to bring it back to its rightful place. On Holy Thursday and Good Friday it is removed from the altar.

The High Mass in Latin was about to initiate.

“Porca Miseria, dirty filthy Misery,” swore the Monsignor. He had tripped over a handbag, which had been thoughtlessly left in the aisle. No one took a breath. Even those who did not understand Italian could tell from the tone of his voice that he had tripped. He recovered his composure quickly and proceeded ramrod straight to the central altar.

“Introibi ad altare Dei,” I will go into the altar of God,” he intoned in his fine baritone voice.

“Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam,” replied the faithful.

“It means To God who is the joy of my youth,” Matt translated in a loud whisper for the benefit of is nephews and nieces.

“I know, thank you Uncle Matthias,” Lucrezia whispered back.

“Show off,” said Freckie standing with his parents Allegra and Armand in the pew in front of her.

“Silence,” ordered Dona Esperanza.

The High Mass was being sung entirely in Latin, except for the sermon or homily, which Monsignor always kept short, sweet and to the point. The choir was composed of some of the country’s finest sopranos and tenors.

“It’s electrifying. I have been transported somewhere else. As long as I live, I will never forget this moment,” mused Lucrezia as tears of joy and sadness rained down her face.

Freckie continued to fidget.” He is like those children in the Middle Ages who had been bitten by the tarantula spider. Their nervous systems induced them to move jerkily. In Spain and in Italy it was known as Saint Vitus’s dance,” said Camilla, Lucrezia’s mother.

Aunt Allegra swatted him lightly with her gilded fan. Freckie went on.

“Let us all ignore him,” suggested Dona Esperanza gruffly.

“Frightful Freckie has finally done it. We are embarrassed and mortified. Gran’s right. We must pay no attention,” reasoned Lucrezia.

“Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” Glory to God in the Highest.” proclaimed Monsignor.

And then there was Light once again the Universe. San Beda’s massive chandeliers blinded the faithful with light. They lit the candles which they had all brought with them and sang with the choir,” And on earth peace to men of good will.”

The reason why Saturday of Glory or Holy Saturday was so portentous to the early Christian converts as well as to the Roman, Catholic, Apostolic and Universal Church was because Jesus’ spirit and soul on that night between midnight and dawn of Easter descended into Hell. Some call it the blackness, the Satanic Hole and the dwelling of the Luciferian forces.

Jesus’ death had released many of the condemned. They could accompany him back into the forces of Light if they had once been human. They could once again join the Legions of Angels, if they had once been cast down into the bowels of the earth.

To enjoy eternal life they had to do two things.

“Forgive me Lord for my sin of pride. I believe in you as my Savior.”

The lights suddenly appeared in Aviles and e. Mendiola Street. The huge spotlights on the trucks turned midnight into daylight. The thousands shut their eyes for a few seconds.

“The Gospel on Easter Sunday is the longest ever. It takes about twenty minutes, because it recounts the passion and the agony of Christ as well as his Resurrection. Let us steel ourselves. The faithful realize they have now entered the first few minutes of Easter Sunday,” mused Dona Esperanza.

Monsignor Alberti did not ascend the steep steps into the pulpit to read the long Gospel. He steps down from the altar, and walks among the faithful. This is the first time the people have ever witnessed this.

The long wires of the microphones are smoothed out for him, as technicians try to follow him unobtrusively. All three national radio and television networks are broadcasting this important Easter mass.

“There’s our own DZRH,” pointed out Matt proudly.

Monsignor Alberti adjusted the height of the microphones and begun reading from the longest Gospel in the Easter Mass taken from John the Apostle.

They listened so quietly even the nervous coughing and clearing of throats ceased as if by divine intervention. When he had finished, he closed the golden missal of the New Testament. He gazed at all the faces around him.

"Happy Easter, Maligayang Pasko, and Felices Pascuas,” he boomed in English, Filipino and Spanish.

His greetings had stunned the people. For a few seconds they did not know hot to react.

“Well? Are you not going to wish me a Happy Easter too?”

“Happy Easter,” replied the thousands gaily.

“Louder please. His Holiness would like to hear a special and affectionate greeting from the only Catholic country in Asia. Ready? One, Two, Three. Go!”

Wave after wave of thunderous roars swept the church and the streets. “Happy Easter Monsignor. Happy Easter Holy Father!”

He waited serenely for another 15 minutes until the thunder abated. Then he went on. “Listen to me. You all know after all the years I have spent with you in the Philippines that I am not one for long and wordy sermons. I don’t like to preach to the faithful. The Resurrection of Jesus is about renewal. It is also about change. Jesus means eternal Life, Hope and Love. Many of you here present or watching us on television or listening on the radio must remember the Easter Sunday of 1946. There was Death, Devastation and some of you felt Despair. The stench of death never left our nostrils. Until June, masses of corpses kept being recovered from the ruins and the rubble. You allowed Jesus to take hold of your hearts and souls. Suddenly you felt joy even as you sobbed in grief. Despair had fled. You pulled up your shirtsleeves and began to remove piece by piece the signs of destruction. Manila was struck so horribly; many ruins are still among us.

“The Resurrection of Jesus gave you there-assurance that you would someday be reunited withal your dead. Jesus reminds us constantly that we should always look ahead, to our future and to our children and the future of our children’s children and so on…ad infinitum. This is timeless. I am talking about a future for all, rich, middleclass and poor. Those of you who think the poor want handouts and charity are wrong. Then, I must say that you don’t really know the poor. They want to work. They want jobs where they can give value for value. I pray that you will leave this celebration of Life and Light with the Love of Jesus, therefore with the love of your fellow men in your thoughts and deeds. This is not easy to do. Not for those listening neither to me, nor for me as I speak these words. Those of you, who can kneel, please do so now. The rest of you, please remain standing. I promise you the Lord understands. I am about to bestow His Holiness, Pope Pius Xll’s papal blessing on the Philippines.”

Iit was a very moving scene. Filipinos made room for each other so that many of them could kneel on the pavement and on the streets for the blessing. The soldiers laid down their rifles. Those standing on tanks descended and knelt on the ground.

Monsignor raised his hands and then made the Sign of the Cross. “In the name of the Father, the Son ad the Holy Spirit. Amen." He raised his arms once again.

“May Jesus bless each and every one of those present at this celebration of Easter; all of you who are devoutly listening by your radios wherever you are in the Archipelago, all who are patiently watching on television. The men and women in the prisons and in the jails. The beloved lepers in our own colony of Culion, a thousand miles from Manila. May Jesus bless those suffering from tuberculosis, malaria, dengue fever and meningitis and polio. Dear Jesus, bless the urchins peddling gum and cigarettes who have dropped out of school to help out their poor parents. May Jesus bless Tondo (a notorious slum) Remember Chinatown, where many pious Chinese work and live according to your tenets. May Jesus enlighten the misguided and duped terrorist Marxist and Communist guerillas that are devastating our country-side.

“Our own Manila has risen from the ashes, like a Holy Phoenix. The Pearl of the Orient no longer exists. But let us not forget that Manila is blessed with an incomparable moon shaped bay. The city has a potential to bea turquoise or even a sapphire. We beg Jesus to bless all the Philippine islands. May she bloom, thrive and grow. Thank you and Salamat." (the Filipino word taken from the Arab Salaam for thank you).

In a strong and beautiful voice Monsignor chanted, ”Ite Missa est.” The Mass is ended. Go in peace.
Isabel Van Fechtmann

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