Not so long ago, there was this wonderful custom in our once-serene community where all peoples had a chance to pray together as one big family. The prayer has been popularly known as “Orasyon”, a Spanish word for prayer. Officially though, this prayer is called Angelus, a prayer attributed to our Blessed Mother Mary. It was prayed then every six in the evening under the sound of church bells (bajo de las campanas). At the strike of the hand of the clock to six o’clock and at the toll of bells, everybody would just stop. Everyone dropped what they were doing and paused in silence. Even vehicles would pull over and observed silence. After this quick peaceful pause, young people would get the hands of the elders and do the “mano po”, a gesture of both respect and blessing. Then, everybody was somewhat signaled to call it a day and go home. Then and there, one could sense that entire community was at prayer.

Do you feel nostalgic now at this throwback?

Recently, we had a revival of this admirable tradition, but with a twist. Angelus is now prayed again everyday. The twist rests that it is played nowadays through the airwaves of the radio. The place has become less serene due to noise coming from both vehicles and peoples. Not to mention our gadgets that never seem to leave from our senses.  Mere sound of the church bells would already be unheard of and unheeded. Hence, radio is the best alternative that everybody could be reached. Another twist is on time-schedule. At present, Angelus is prayed twice during the day – at six in the morning and at six in the evening. It underlines that the beginning and the ending of our day must just end with praying.

While change has been the name of the game nowadays, balance must also be its arbiter. Some things must do change, some very good practices must also remain. Praying the Angelus is one.

What else that must not change?

Currently, it has become somewhat mechanical that before eating meals one takes a photo first. Then selfie next. A groupie later. Time has changed indeed. Previously though, everybody in the table would hold hands, closed their eyes and usually the bunso of the group would lead everybody to say the grace before meals. Without this custom of grace before the meals, the hand of time has indeed changed, backwardly notwithstanding. Without minding where and from whom the food at table came from was the common practice of pagan people, the people who had not known God and had not recognized that every meal is a blessing, a grace.

Likewise, everybody wants to make a positive vibes at the beginning of a new day. Everyone desires that the first thing to do on mornings must be right. Needless to say, there is nothing more positive and more correct to do upon waking up but to hit the floor with your knees and pray. In so doing, such gesture of folding one’s knees expresses thanksgiving and  entrusting everything. Nothing could be more positive and right than that, I suppose. But then again, time has changed. And on the contrary, it is not for what is better. At daybreak, where do we engage our spirits in?  Check Facebook, read Messenger,  scroll Twitter, stalk on Instragam, etc. Chances are that not everything that is there brings good vibes. More  often than not, a negative tone and lousy mood they bring. Would you rather have those news than have the Good News first upon waking up?

We have pointed out only three that must not change through time. There are still a whole lot more that our minds would imagine as still present in our daily living. But why have they gone too soon? Your guess is as good as mine. We could only strike our breast in guilt as we together say our “mea culpas”.

Finally, to where do we really attribute the instant popularity of Batang Puerto Princesa (BPP)? Isn’t it that we do enjoy looking back at our local history and people?  Henceforth, we remark that “ang sarap balikan ang nakaraan”.  Then, for some with a grain of panghihinayang would say “whatever happened to our town?”. Still others would just exclaim “ibalik ang noon”.

Definitely, change we must. And change we do. But in order to be authentic in it, considerably there are things that must not change. They say it in philosophy – the essentials never change. Otherwise, change is useless. Change is fakest (if there such a word).

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