3W, TE:

Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany formerly known as as Feast of the Three Kings. Traditionally, it was celebrated Jan.6 to mark the 12 days (12 days of Christmas) that the Three Wise Men travelled to reach the Baby Jesus. Like I mentioned before, I had wanted to take a photo of the belen with the colored lights on. I went there in the morning and I was informed by a manang that they turn the lights on in the evening and that it's the security guard that turns on the lights. Okay, I went back later in the evening before 6pm. and my timing was just right, the mass was to start in 10 minutes. Nopes, the lights weren't turned on. And the guard, well, he was just too busy directing traffic at the church's parking lot and there was no way he'd turn them on right then. Ah well, might as well hear mass I said to myself.

<< RANT ON >>
The belen was at the back inside the church near the entrance. I was near the belen and I can't help notice the way some folks would continually touch the Baby Jesus statue, rub the image's foot and then direct their kids to do the same. (I somehow reflected back on my childhood and wonder whether my parents did this to us.) Now these folks, I can understand that it's their belief and custom but they downright ignore the sign at the belen that says DO NOT TOUCH THE IMAGES. The images are very beautiful and I remember several years ago when the church solicited donations in several occasion to fund the creation of these statues. They're all (including the animals) scaled 1/3 of actual life-size and I'm saddened that some of these folks take that for granted. Like rubbing the images is a given right and to hell if they break any of the statues. I just wished that the church put some kind of enclosure or railing that'll prevent people from getting too near the belen. I'd hate to see these beautifully sculpted objects destroyed due to stubborn churchgoers. Imagine the Baby Jesus with a broken leg or a donkey missing one ear or the cow with a broken horn. One idiot was even drumming on the hidden spotlights' box covers like they were a pair of bongos and unmindful of what damage it'll do to the wiring.
<< RANT OFF >>

Anyway, I heard the Gospel and the Homily (which was good by the way). At the end of the homily, the priest had a bottomline question that asks: Why do we say "Huwag mong gagawin yan, masama iyan, magagalit si Jesus" to kids when they do wrong things, but not to adults? And I ponder, do kids just "lose" Jesus when they grow up? That as adults, there is no longer a Jesus to get mad when adults do wrong? Hmmmm.....

I glanced back at the belen. Still, the belen's colored lights weren't lit. Grrrr. I'm losing my patience. By this time the security guard's done directing traffic so I went outside to request him to please turn on the belen lights telling him that it's the Three Kings anyway, it's the last day of the season, blah, blah, blah and I wanted to take a picture. Gosh, he was more understanding than I thought. I told him that I could wait till the mass is over for me to take pictures. But he said that he'll turn the colored lights on pronto lest he forgets! Bless you, Mr.Guard! He turned them on and I couldn't wait any longer. I mustered enough courage to take pictures of the belen - during the mass. Luckily there weren't people blocking my view. I didn't use flash and the camera was quiet so I hope I wasn't disrespectful to those who were there.

Here are the 3 of the pics that I've taken:

These are the images in the belen, in the order of appearance from left to right:
A cow, Balthasar (standing, offering myrrh), Gaspar (standing, offering frankincense), an ewe, Melchior (kneeling, offering gold), Joseph, a couple of lambs, the Baby Jesus, Mary, and a donkey. This shot was taken during the day when I went there in the morning. Since there are less shadows, some of the faces are discernible. Balthasar's face is very dark because the guy IS black!

Here is the evening shot I took with the colored (mostly blue) lights turned on. The blue lights come from above and gives the impression of bright moonlight/ starlight. Notice the bluish glow at top and back of the images

A closer shot taken in the evening. The "moonlight glow" on the images is more evident here. Notice the level of detail that went through the sculpturing of these statues. Now THAT is a tribute to fine Filipino craftsmanship!

My only regret is that I didn't set the camera setting to fine mode. All the pics above were taken in "1 Megapix" setting when I could've put them at "4 Megapix". Argghhh.. But still, they ARE nice, are they not? Now I don't wanna get into some argument that the Three Kings are fictitious or what. The bible DOES NOT mention their names. Some argue that there were 12 (eastern belief). Some say they were women. Some argue that there is no evidence that the visitors even rode camels. Yeah, they probably rode golf carts.

Why the preoccupation with the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men? Well, it WAS my Christmas piano piece!

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