Religious Culture In The Philippines


Most Filipino homes have an altar or prayer area set up. Since Jessie and I have had to start over from scratch with basic furniture needs, we have not been able to do that. I wish to furnish my home with a  Filipino theme. For that reason, I have wanted an altar area. Though Jessie doesn’t follow as many traditions as strictly as most Filipino and organized religion has turned her off, mostly due to their participation in politics, she very much considers herself Catholic. However, she has many protestant views and didn’t realize it.

We bought some items to introduce some of these practices into our home. Jessie bought some rosary beads for me. I’ve wanted to collect crosses so this also accomplishes that goal. Rosary beads here are probably much like those any where in the world. My upbringing is protestant though and I know very little about Catholicism. So I don’t know if they are the same. They can be simple plastic beads or they can be extravagant with diamonds and other precious stones. We also bought two crucifixes in the gift shop within Basilica del Santo Niño or the parish of the boy saint.

Once we left the church we had some fries and a coke at a fast food joint known as Jollibee. Just before we went in someone approached us trying to sell us this rugged looking crucifix. Jessie just shook her head no, but I liked what I saw. He was asking for P150. We went into Jollibee and I told her to offer the guy P75. She offered him P100 via hand signals as he was on the sidewalk. We ended up getting it for for P125.

The Last Supper Carved From Drift Wood
The Last Supper Carved From Drift Wood

Once we had it, we realized it was hand carved from drift wood! Soon the man was back with a carving of the Last Super. He wanted P300 for that and after more customary haggling we got it for P250. He then tried to sell us a carving of the twin hearts. I’ve spoken of those several times as I’ve been drawn to that as soon as I saw them about a year ago. I told him no, I had spent too much money. The street vendor then said next time. I said, yes next time.

Crucifix Hard Carved From Drift Wood
Crucifix Hard Carved From Drift Wood

I think I could sell these things on e-bay for a lot of money. I didn’t buy them to sell though, I bought them for our home. I need to keep my mind open to money making ideas so we may buy more and try to sell them. I want to be 100% sure it is drift wood and not some copy cat product.

Before we can display them though, we must get them blessed. Our helper told us that if we took them to Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish Church we will have to pay to get them blessed. I wouldn’t mind that, I’d like to see exactly what it is done but, I spent too much money in Cebu City, so the helper is going to take them to her church on Sunday and get them blessed for nothing. Blessing involves prayer and holy water.

In Bogo City, it seems the priest at the main parish church charges a fee for blessings. At least that’s what we’ve been told by our helper. She said she can get it blessed for free at her church though. We will get that done next Sunday.

There is a museum on the Basilica del Santo Niño compound as well but it was closed on Wednesday. Hopefully we will return there before too long so I can visit the museum.

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Filed under: Cebuanos and Religion

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