I watch as they walk the street with masks, shirts, bags, anything that covers their faces.
I watch as some fumble to lift their masks to puff on their cigarettes.. others you can see the way they walk... they have chosen another to get them through this march... the signs of substance abuse highs cling to them as the red clings to their strips of clothing.
Yet others walk simply and determined. Each swing carries force, steady. No words come from their mouths, no shouts or buzzed laughters. They don't look to their barkada to egg them on... the simply walk straight ahead, they march alone.
These are the ones that cause me to wonder the most. They are not here for a group challenge, they are not here to prove how tough and manly they are, they are not here for a challenge or show... they are serious. They believe they need to do this as a part of Christ's price that was paid. They believe in doing this they are showing their devotion.
Do they truly believe this is necessary?
I watch as they sling the sticks to their backs, those next to me jump when they get bloody water slung their way. I slowly wipe one of my Bethia sister's arms, as she looks shocked at the drop of red.
They keep coming, hundreds, all masked, all with sticks tied to a rope that they sling over and over to their back. The blood runs and is washed, with water being thrown on the participants, into the streets.
The children run between the men... in the streets wet with the bloody water.
This is the Penatensya, a Catholic tradition here in the Philippines.
"We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." - Romans 6:9-11
~ To God Be the Glory!