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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Apalit, Pampanga: Home to a celestial encounter with Apung Iru.

Just before the Sunday sunrays touched my windows and enveloped my weary soul, I had to pull my
body from my bed to prepare for a short trip to Apu Iru in Apalit, Pampanga.  A 5:00 a.m. wake up call was really an effort on my part after resigning to bed around 1:00 a.m.  With a tinge of red horse from an earlier binge, my mind was still half-awake when I almost stepped on my bubbles’ poo.  Good thing my water heater broke down and I had to settle with the “cold” water.  And it proved a refreshing starting point of the day.
We left Manila around 7:15 a.m. A short stop at Chowking (NLEX) for a quick breakfast completed my first part of the day. Ready yet clueless, a good chat with Danny, an unassuming friend who happens to see a glimpse of your past and future, made the trip fleeting. 

A quick right turn before the “old” bridge (the “new” bridge is constructed just beside it) after Calumpit, Bulacan, offers a rustic picture of a rural life.  The river, I didn’t know if it was one of the living witnesses of the believers’ adoration and devotion, lies still and calm.  Picturesque, I almost requested for a quick shot but decided to get enthralled by its beauty instead.
Sunday was a lazy day in that area of Apalit. One can be an indolent spectator of its idleness. But it gave a sweet pinch knowing theirs is a stress-free life.  With the 9:00 a.m. sweltering sun, the ambience beckons summer.  Even the thought of hitting a beach at the end of the road sank.  And before I could go further with my reverie, we already reached Apu Iru’s temple.
Serenity gradually crept into my system when I saw the face of Apu Iru. I read in one of the scripts on the steps – St. Peter. Clueless about his “other” name, I felt an ounce of glee because it is also him who is our patron saint. A linking of two places brought by a single devotion was all I thought during that time.

“The Apung Iru image is associated with the old Arnedo family, having been passed on to Doña Maria Espiritu de Arnedo, wife of Macario Arnedo y Sioco, who brought Apung Iru to Capalangan. To ensure that the cult is perpetuated, a corporation known as St. Peter’s Mission was put up by the Espiritu-Arnedo-Gonzalez-Ballesteros-Sazon families, which designates an official caretaker of the image--a camadero/camadera. Augusto “Toto” Gonzalez III is the current camadero of the precious heirloom santo.” Alex R. Castro

Seng, the caretaker, took time to share with me his experiences with Apu Iru.  He also showed me how Apu Iru helped him walk even though half of his right leg is boneless due to a freak accident his whole family met.  Although, some stories are better read in “komiks”, but at the end of the day, faith still separates the believers from visitors.
Like what other visitors before us did, we also wrote a letter of request (if you have one).  I made a thank you note, instead.  The experience, though not that surreal, is comforting or maybe soothing. Its tranquility relieved me from the stressful life of urban living: a reminiscent of my visits to my grandfather’s house, reassuring.  No wonder he is called Apu Iru (Lolo Pedro).

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"There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!" by Brähmann On a personal note, I don't know Brahmann nor Indra, but the lines speak more than they are read. I gave birth to this travel blog, inspite of the fact that there are zillion of travel blogs out there, to share with you all that we can see the world without spending TOO MUCH. This is my Travel-budget-blog.