Suspension of Disbelief

Archive for April 2013

Holding on to love

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Outrage Magazine | 11 April 2013



When we’re faced with the trials of waiting, of the possibility of losing everything we’ve worked hard for, the danger of not knowing what will happen after we restart and reboot, we can’t help but wonder: When is the right time to just stand still and look at the big picture?

Everyday we are given with tons and tons of options – options that we can use to have a better understanding of things, or options that we can use to get what we really want. But more often than not, we find ourselves in a position where we think that we are better than we really are, thus making our decisions more complicated.

Andrew, a writer, an optimist and a hopeless romantic, met Rico six months ago.

It was a big slap back to reality when the two of them met. They flirted with each other, shared a lot of intellectual and intimate thoughts together, and it was pretty obvious that they liked each other.

Rico on the other hand, is still in the process of fixing himself after an awful break-up after a six year relationship – even though he said he’s already moved on, and trying to get away from another bad ending with his rebound relationship, who by the way is still messaging him even now.

But every time Rico and Andrew conversed, Rico told Andrew that he’s finally over his exes, even posting a brave status online: “Relationships are not a game or a toy, that when you’re done playing with it, you’ll just store it and put it away. And when you suddenly miss it, you’ll just run back in the closet and take it. That’s very wrong!”

When Andrew read that post, he was unsure if he’s supposed to be happy that Rico is finally over his two exes and was brave enough to post those kinds of things online.  It gave him hope…

He continuously flirted with Rico, and Rico responded to his flirting. The messages were mixed messages, but Andrew knew that it was not a one way thing.

They made a promise that they’re going to be there for each other for as long as they could. And they’re both stuck in that position.

Suddenly, Andrew met Sid.

Sid who is of the same age as Rico, expressed his interest to Andrew overtly. He’s been persistent for the longest time, showing Andrew how much he really likes him.

Just like Rico, Sid also came from a destructive break-up. He even considered moving to Europe just to get away from the situation he’s forced to face. He has been honest to everyone that he still blames himself for what happened, that he thinks of himself small because of several failed relationships.

Suddenly, one Thursday night, he met Andrew. The person who will forever change his life.

It was supposed to be one of those quickie type of meet-ups, but a better thing happened.

When Andrew first saw Sid, moving away from the car and towards his direction, he knew right then and there that this might be something different and special.

He was right.

Sid turned out to be one of the few guys out there who is not willing to give up to get what they really want. He’s been around Andrew most of the time, sharing his dreams, secrets… everything.

He never asked for anything in return for all the efforts he has been doing to make Andrew smile; just one thing – for Andrew to commit himself to Sid completely, no questions asked.

Andrew on the other hand, likes Sid – a lot. But for obvious reasons he just couldn’t; Rico and his insatiability to keep the promise they made to each other.

But slowly, Sid is starting to feel that he might not have a good chance in winning Andrew’s heart. But just like Andrew, a hopeless romantic, someone who values his promises; he doesn’t want to just leave and let go of everything.

Because after all, they say, Andrew is really special.

In life, when we meet someone who takes us to uncertain paths though that someone (also) constantly makes us happy, is it practical to keep that person even if we don’t know where the situation would lead us?


(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)


Rediscovering Binondo Church

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Outrage Magazine | 28 March 2013




If you’re in the mood for an Oriental feast – may it be food, culture, arts or, yes, the men – then Binondo is the place for you this Holy Week season. And while it may not be on top of your list, it may be a good place for you and your friends to meet someone who is in touch with their inner faith. And… who knows, you might just find your next significant other within the area of Binondo.

Located at the heart of the famous Chinatown in Manila is the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, also known as Binondo Church. It was built during the mid-1590s by the Dominican priests, to mainly cater to their Chinese converts to Christianity.

Even before the Spanish occupation, there was already a number of Chinese community members and traders in the Philippines, with the majority of them most notably present in Binondo. And when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, the number of the Chinese people flocking to the country increased because of the substantial need to barter and trade.

The Domincans felt the need to convert the Chinese community to the Christian faith – hence, the building of the Binondo Church was commissioned.

Throughout the years, the original structure of Binondo Church was torn down a few times during the Chinese revolution in the early 1600s. And during the 1760s the original building of the church was destroyed because of the continuous bombing during the war. The present granite structure was completed during the 1850s, but the only thing that was left today of the 16th century structure is the Chinese inspired five-story bell tower.

It was once again destroyed when it was burned during the British invasion of 1872, the re-building of the Church was finished quickly after the occupation. But due to a natural disaster, the structure was once again destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1860s. It was rebuilt once again, and the structure is the one we see today.

And then again during the American occupation, the church was also affected, when most of the interiors and its archives were destroyed and burned. The only thing that was left standing was its shell – the stone walls that hold the majestic design of the Church. The Chinese community in Binondo endured a roofless church for several years, until it was finally restored during the 1950s. Throughout the years, the church and the convent were continuously renovated. And even today, the Chinese community has been funding the renovations and maintenance the church.

“For the longest time, the Chinese community has been taking care of the church. And just like most of the Catholic community, they have been very active in all our projects and celebrations. Every day, before they go to their respective businesses or to their work, they pass by Binondo Church to attend mass or to pray for a few minutes,” Leonida Recto Aranda, planning and formation chairperson of the Basilica Pastoral Council of Binondo, Manila.

A notable change and improvement of the Church from its original structure is its interior. The ceiling is entirely covered with massive detailed religious paintings – from the mysteries of the Holy Rosary to some of the famous stories lifted from the Bible like the stations of the cross.

The grand altar on the other hand holds a number of patron saints – this was done mainly to cover the damages the church suffered throughout the years. And as a result, it gave an added beauty to the magnificent structure of the altar. The Statue of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is also seen in the middle of the grand altar, being one of the patrons of the Binondo Church. On the left side of the altar stands the image of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the patron saint of Binondo Church – he was a missionary born to a Chinese father and a Filipina mother, and was executed in Japan for being a Christian; he was the first Filipino saint.

“Every feast of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and San Lorenzo Ruiz, we bring the two patrons out for a procession, and we hold activities for the parishioners so that they can not only pray to them, but they will also get to know them. It is through education that people will nurture their faith and their belief in the religion. People from different areas of Manila go to Binondo Church to pray for our patrons,” Aranda said.

Think disco, but every time there’s a Mass, all the lights inside are turned on – you will see the beauty of the interior and the structure of the old sophisticated columns.

On any given day, the church is open to give way to the Chinese-Filipino community to attend mass before they go to their respective businesses and work.

“This is not only a church for the Chinese community, most people think that Binondo Church is for them only. No, that’s not true. They might have the perception that because most of the parishioners they see are Chinese, this church is only for the Chinese community. This is a church for everyone, in fact, the Chinese community encourages other people to attend the regular celebrations of our church to be part of our thanksgiving,” Aranda said.

This only proves that the church can not only make anyone’s faith stronger but also make the ties between two different cultures, that is the Chinese and Filipino communities, deeper and more meaningful.


(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)


Swaying into Obando Church

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Outrage Magazine | 28 March 2013




If you’re up for a road trip this Holy Week season (and if you’re one of those who don’t fancy Boracay or Puerto Galera this season), this historical church in the Northern part of the Metro might be an option for you.

Built during the 1750′s, the San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church or most popularly known to many as the Church of Obando Bulacan, is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The construction of the church during the Spanish occupation was commissioned by the Franciscan Order, led by Rev. P. Manuel de Olivencia, who was also the first parish priest of the church.

While the church was destroyed during the Second World War (in the 1940s), when it was greatly affected by the clashes between the Japanese and the American-Filipino joint troops, later on, through the efforts of the Obandeno parishioners and Rev. Fr. Marcos Punzal, it was rebuilt again (in two years).

The structure of San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church was altered a bit over the years from its original form – from what used to be a fully abode wall, now the facade and most of its exterior were painted, which gives it a more “modern” feel instead of an old rustic impression. The octagon shaped bell tower was also polished with paint, compared to other bell towers of other old churches; its five-story structure has a more “modern” feel to it.

The church’s interior, though, still manifests the Spanish structure concept, e.g. having minimal designs, a detailed painting on its arc and an antique chandelier with Capiz lights to give the main altar a more dramatic illumination.

On its main altar, the icon of San Pascual de Baylon stands. San Pascual, a Spanish friar and a Franciscan, is the
foremost patron of Obando Church.

“San Pascual de Baylon is one of our patrons here in Obando Church. It is believed during the early times, that San Pascual was the patron who helped the early Filipinos fulfill their wishes. And the college here in Obando, Bulacan was also named after San Pascual de Baylon, to honor the blessing he has bestowed upon. Our parish also manages the school,” said Rev. Fr. Avelino Sampana, priest of Obando Church.

And in the middle of the main altar stands the statue of Nuestra Senora de Salamabao. The Blessed Virgin Mary is shown with her hands clasped together in a prayerful manner while standing on a net, while a fisherman on the side is shown holding a small net. She is the patron of fishermen; it is believed that the image was found when a group of fishermen thought they caught a big fish, though when they retrieved it, they saw the image of the Virgin Mary standing upright in the net.

“Our Lady of Salambao, on the other hand, is believed to be a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was found by a group of fishermen. It was also during that time, when the harvesting fishes was close to scarcity – but then they retrieved the image of Our Lady of Salambao. The fishermen tried to bring back the image to Navotas, but they experienced several hardships, so then they eventually decided to bring it to Obando instead,” Rev. Fr. Sampana said.

Salambaw is a fishing net with bamboo frames that support the catching tool.

On the right side of the main altar is the image of Santa Clara.

San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church is most famously known for its fertility rites or the Obando dance. The church’s parishioners and other Catholics strongly believe that if a couple or a family is encountering difficulties in conceiving a child, all they need do is go to this church of Obando during its feast day in May or every Sunday to join the Bulakenyos in the famous dance ritual.

Contrary to what most people know, the Obando dance is not only for couples who want to have a healthy conception of children, however, as it is also for people who have other personal petitions, like abundance in their farms, improvement in the careers, or betterment in their school ranking.

“People always mistaken the Obando dance as purely for people who are experiencing fertility problems, but it is not. A lot of people, especially the locals, joins and mastered the dance – they go to this church every weekend to participate in our celebration. Especially during the feast of our church, when we parade our patrons around Obando, our parishioners would gather around the patrons and dance,” Rev. Fr. Sampana said.

Like some of the churches in the Philippines, San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church also has several activities during the Holy Week, when its parishioners and other Catholics can go to and attend the celebration.

“I encourage everyone to visit San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church or most commonly known as the Obando Church, so you can see and experience how miraculous Our Lady of Salambao is and join us in celebration of our faith through the dance of Obando,” Rev. Fr. Sampana said.

As the way to celebrate Holy Week continues to evolve, this may not have the flashy lights and the wide selection of boys to be met in the party beaches, or the magnificent views that the “piso fare” flights can offer, but, hey, for those up for it, this is a perfect chance for those interested to reflect on their religious well-being.


(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)


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