My Asian Adventure - Part Eleventy, Religion

The national religion here is Catholicism and oh boy, it shows. There are pregnant women and kids literally everywhere. The religious imagery at the stores is a bit overwhelming and elaborate. Of course, I live in a mainly Hispanic neighborhood back home, so it’s not complete culture shock.

Here’s something strange: every day at 6 pm, there is a moment of prayer. The first time Mike and I witnessed it we were at the grocery store and this disembodied voice came over the loud speaker which caused everyone to literally stop in their tracks. We just looked at each other not really knowing what was going on and if we should keep shopping or what. Total wtf moment. Apparently it happens in all the public areas like stores and malls daily.

The girls in the cafeteria at work listen to Christian radio every morning, so we’ve started joking that we eat breakfast with Jesus. It’s actually quite surreal but sometimes when they’re on the “thought of the day” part there’s a message there for me. Guess it really doesn’t matter what religion you are, the basic tenets are the same: be a good person, try and live a good life, and do it without completely screwing anyone over. I can get on board with that. :)

They do have some beautiful churches here and I got to go to downtown Cebu one day with a local tour guide who was the awesome. I saw the oldest street in the entire Philippines: Colon (pronounced cologne, fyi). I also got to see Magellan’s cross which is located by this amazing cathedral. I want to go back with Eric’s camera because there’s no flash photography inside the church, and my point and shoot just didn’t cut it. I did get some super cool pix of the outside and of Magellan’s cross, tho. :)

Halloween seems to be primarily a kid holiday (much to my extreme disappointment) but omfg the Christmas is already killing me. I’m told the stores started playing the music over the loud speakers at the beginning of September, and there is an amazing variety of it. I’ve heard it remixed with pop songs, and Mike actually purchased that cd because we knew no one would believe it. Hilarious. It totally cracks me up hearing the winter songs about snow and snuggling by fires, because it *never* gets cold here. Oh the irony. LOL!

Since Christmas is my least favorite holiday, it’s like a whole new level of hell to be in the retail areas and have to deal with this. I’m happy to report I’m starting to get used to it and even have a laugh at the crazy decorations here. I’m gonna have to collect pix, it’s so notably foreign and familiar at the same time. This country is so hard for me to understand!

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