It’s now 24 hours since we arrived in Cebu, the city known as the ‘Queen of the South’ and the gateway to the Visayas. Unfortunately I left Mary Ann’s laptop in Manila, so for the time being I’m blogging from my phone, which means no photos.
We left Pampanga yesterday morning for the baptism service of our niece Kate Danielle. The plan was to leave at 8am in order to get to the morning service at Pasay 1st United Methodist Church at 9. Due to various delays it was getting on for 8.40 by the time we left. Fortunately the traffic in Manila was not too bad, and we arrived in time for the scripture readings.
The service was led by Kate Danielle’s grandfather, Revd Fonacier, and was a traditional UMC service with a Filipino twist. The liturgy was in Filipino, the hymns English and the sermon a mixture of both languages. There was a discernable sense of chaos just under the surface. I knew that the invited preacher was unable to attend, as the night before I received a phone call asking if I could preach. As we were still making the slow journey back from Bataan I reluctantly had to decline. Then on the morning the appointed liturgist failed to turn up. I’m afraid that a combination of the Filipino-language liturgy, a hard and narrow pew, a reluctant pianist and a small child distractingly pushing a plastic chair around the church meant that I personally didn’t find it a particularly worshipful experience.
The baptism took place immediately after the main service. Why not in the service? I forgot to ask. There were no less than 20 godparents, which is not uncommon in the Philippines. It has not always been the case, however. Mary Ann and her cousins of her generation had just one or two, so it seems there has been godparent inflation over the years.
After the service we made our way to Paranaque, in the south of Metro Manila, for the reception in the clubhouse of Tribeca, a condominium development where Mary Ann’s cousin is manager. It was a great meal in a very pleasant environment, and the younger members of the family enjoyed a swim in the clubhouse outdoor pool.
We made our way directly from the party to the airport, arriving just in time to check-in. In the event, the plane was delayed taking off, and we were running an hour late when we touched down in Cebu Mactan Airport.
In Cebu we were met by Loida, the mother of our friend Marc Requilme, and Marc and Rhodora’s pretty and perky 8 year old daughter Martina (who we discovered is a miniature version of Rhodora, who is also pretty and perky.)
Mr and Mrs Requilme treated us to an excellent Japanese meal. Afterwards we took the elevator up to the 38th floor of the towering Crown Regency Hotel, where there is a viewing deck and a sort of roller coaster running round the edge. Nat and Dan went on that – I kept my feet on the ground. It was fascinating looking out over nighttime Cebu city, with bats darting about and above us and in the far distance lightning illuminating the clouds.
But by this point I had had enough and was starting to nod off. Time to head back to our hotel and a very welcome bed.