Patron Saint of Philippine Politics

I ran into post about a little known Philippine incorruptible and unrecognized local Saint named Sta. Filomena (Check out the interesting post at FILIPNO eSCRIBBLES on my blogroll) A prayerful young lady who died in her 20’s, she was buried and was found totally preserved when exhumed. Apparently more interesting is the claim that even her eyes

incorruptible

An Incorruptible

were found untouched by decay. Sta. Filomena, already considered an unofficial Saint by many in Binan Laguna and is highly revered due to the many claimed miracles already attributed to her intercession. Unfortunately though the Catholic church has not progressed on canonization many believe to be due to the fact that she is now under the auspices of the Iglesia Filipina Indipendiente or the Aglipayans. The IFI, if you’ve read our history separated from Vatican control to pursue a more nationalistic approach to religion.

It’s sad enough how politics sometimes gets mingled with religion but  it’s even sadder when crime becomes part of it. Case in point: Jesus Malverde aka the Mexican Patron Saint of Narcotics. Yep you’ve got it

Jesus Malverde

Santo Jesus Malverde

right, our cultural cousins in South America have their own Patron Saint for selling mind poppers. Apparently Santo Jesus Malverde in one form or another can be found in the possesion of most South American drug pedlers from the mansion of  Don Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman  in Sinaloa to the little twig hut of Uncle Hector down in Tijuana. St. Malverde is said to protect and bless not only drug barons and pushers but narco-politicians as well (Check out the funny resemblance to a former president…mustache and cowboy hat and all). He is also said to be floating out there keeping an ever-watchful eye out for the poor and the oppressed. 

Mexico and the Philippines are married by vitue of religion, culture, trade and some would even argue in terms of psychology. Raised by Mother Spain, both countries inherited the Latin machismo attitude and the short fuse that comes with it. Tutored by the Catholic faith, Mexicans and Filipinos enjoy similar religious practices and dabble  and enjoy in familiar customs and superstitions. Similar economic situations force populations to immigrate or work abroad to survive. Mahathir of Malaysia was once quoted saying that Filipinos are actually not Asians but rather misplaced South Americans. I must confess that I tend to subscribe to this point of view. Now with a tequila in my right hand and a burrito on my left, I can’t help but wonder if our local politicians deserve to have their own Saint to call out to…or maybe they already have. Some say the sacred name to mutter would be Santo Mike de la Malacanang others claim to petition directly to Santa Gloria de Lubao. Although I highly doubt if they would make it as incorruptibles 🙂

Sympathetic Magic

I just read an article on Bon Beliefs about emotions. What I found quite compelling was how they understood and treated human feelings like love & hate. But before going there, I’d like to give you a quick runabout on what Bon is. Today Bon is commonly associated with Tibetan Buddhism. This may be due to similar traditional practices and cultural aesthetics but Tibetan scholars and records claim that the Bon Spiritual tradition Sympathetic Magicactually pre-dated Buddhism by a thousand years. Some say that Bon actually originated from Iran sprouting from the fertile mind of an obscure fellow named Shenrab before he decided to do a quick stroll to Tibet. Given the history, we could logically say that Bon is uniquely separate from Buddhism in terms of origin but through the years became similar due to philosophical and cultural coitus. Like a longtime couple who broke-up, Bon and Buddhism retained both similarities and animosities they shared through the years. One particular issue is the Buddhist contention on the aspect of Shenrab’s enlightenment status. Their argument is simple: Buddha is enlightened while Shenrab is not. My personal comment is simple as well…”Show me someone who can freak’n prove it.” Will the real illuminated one please stand up? After 4000 years can anyone really tell?

Going back to subject…love, hate and other emotions according to Bon are treated as persons or external forces not as innate human emotions. Baffled? I won’t blame you. I was confused as a seahorse in the mating season when I first read about it. To make things simpler, try this…imagine enjoying an afternoon tea in your room called life. Suddenly someone rings the doorbell, you put the tea away and hesitantly stand up. You wonder who the hell it could be knocking on your door this late in the day. As far as you know you haven’t bumped into any Mormon Brethren or Jehovah’s Witnesses lately. In a vain effort to shoo the unwanted visitor away, you shyly shout “If you’re selling Bibles…I already got one!’” But nobody answers…Annoyingly, you make your way to the door. You gently turn the knob half hoping to see an Avon lady…the door creaks open…there’s nobody there. You look to the left then to the right…not a soul. Your mind gives you a nudge to look down and to your surprise you find a little creature…the kind with big fluffy ears… one with dough eyes…a cute member of the K-9 species…a beagle breed of some sort. Worse of all it has a sign hanging from its neck saying “adopt me please”.

Now you find yourself in a conundrum. Will you keep the mutt? Or will you just shoo or shoot the animal and close the door? Never had a harder choice since the 3rd grade didn’t ya? As innocent and simple a choice it may seem, it’s just the same thing when it comes to emotions. Anger or in this analogy…Love as the beagle might more appropriately symbolize is nothing more than an intruder or a guest depending on how you see it. Emotions according to Bon don’t emanate from you as most western religions and philosophies suggest…therefore you don’t have to carry the guilt of expressing them when they visit you. All you can do is manage them at the door after opening it or deal with them as a visitor after deciding to let them in. At the end it all boils down to choice and management when living with the consequences…without the guilt of course. That’s why I keep my door shut closed, double locked with an external security camera installed…specially at night when crows and monsters abound. Though sometimes I forget to close the windows…where mice and spiders tip toe and crawl in. But what the heck…an occasional afternoon tea time guest won’t hurt you after all…well…sometimes.