What can I say? I am blown away; I have never seen anything like this.
The cathedral’s many chambers and chapels were overflowing with us, sitting in pews and standing once the pews had been filled. There were dancers in traditional dress dancing and singing in the aisles around the pews, with huge skirts and bright blue fans. We had a procession outside afterwards, circling the cathedral with shrines to Filipino saints decked in real roses carried on the shoulders of usheritos and the archbishop following our saints with his pointy hat and everything. This circuit concluded in front of a flock of tents laden with trays upon trays of roasted meats and any other kind of Filipino delicacy that you could want, offered freely and with smiles, once blessings were said. Live music, inside and outside the cathedral, of course – and every singer, dancer, and musician was radiating cultural pride. We all were.
I sang, I prayed, I drew, I wrote, I marched, I waved my banderita, I smiled, I laughed, and I nearly wept at how ardently I WISHED my Grandma Luds could have seen it all too. (I know my Lolo and Lola could see it all and more…the best seats in the house are probably the ones they have in heaven, no?)