Call me strange but old buildings fascinate me. One reason why I am so enamored with the setting of the Harry Potter books. You know, Hogwarts Castle. If someone gave me a centuries-old castle like that, I’d take it without second thoughts and live in it — creaky ancient plumbing and all.
Eerie? Spooky? Freaky? I prefer mysterious, enigmatic and romantic.
I draw the line with old churches, however. While my fascination for old buildings does extend to churches, because most old churches have crypts and, often, graveyards within the grounds, I wouldn’t live in one. No matter how old. No matter how historic. No matter how breathtakingly beautiful.
But I can appreciate them from a rather detached perspective.
So when we passed a couple of old churches in Laguna, one in Pakil and another in Paete, we stopped, entered and took photos. The first was the San Pedro de Alcantara Church in Pakil.
It might appear deserted but it wasn’t.
On Maundy Thursday, it was crowded. And this was quite early — 7.46 in the morning.
Whether the statues were being prepared for a procession or brought to the church after the procession, I do not know. I didn’t bother taking photos of the alter since the statues were covered with purple cloth — a Lenten custom.
Outside the church was the usual collection of hawkers. Hats…
Ornamental wood carvings, mostly with religious motifs… And, believe it or not — toys. Bicycles. And food. And drinks. I don’t know whether you’ve articulated it to yourself before but the moment a church is built, the value of real estate in the surrounding area goes up as, suddenly, the area acquires commercial value. Where people congregate, there’s business to be made.
A couple of minutes later, we were in Paete. The Paete Church is also known as St. James The Apostle Church.
Why the front door has to marred with tarpaulins is beyond me.
I’m pretty sure that the little girl won in some parish-sponsored fund-raising project. Whatever.
If you’re puzzled (I was until I read up) about the presence of the words “El Shaddai” in this figure of Moses with the Ten Commandments, I’m pretty sure that El Shaddai does not refer to the charismatic movement of Eddie Velarde. El Shaddai is Hebrew, one of Judaic names of God and translates to God Almighty.
Why there’s a Philippine flag at the altar, I have no idea. If the yellow flag on the opposite side represents the church, I am guessing that the two flags symbolize separation of church and state. Something that the CBCP ought to remember.
As with most Catholic churches during Lent, the Paete Church was filled with the statues that are featured in the Lenten procession.
Paete is not famous for its wood carvers for nothing. Their craftsmanship shows through in the religious statues.
This last photo of the candles… I always take photos of burning candles when I find myself inside a church. Not for any religious reason but because they remind me of that haunting scene in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame when Esmeralda sings God Help the Outcasts. Haunting scene. Haunting melody. Haunting words that are loaded with meaning. Here, I found it in Youtube.