A Lenten tale of two cities

Have you ever wondered about many Filipinos plan to spend their Holy Week, and how they actually spend it? This story is one I’ve been meaning to write in essay form, or maybe as a full-blown cartoon strip, for maybe a year now.  But with the limited time I can spare today, and not wanting to let the week pass without saying something about the Lenten customs of most of Metro Manila’s middle class, I ended up with this. Part 1 today, Part 2 on Sunday. Enjoy.


Lenten tale of two cities - 1
What maybe half of the Metro Manila middle class was thinking on Tusday night, Apr 15.


Lenten tale of two cities - 2
Reality bites at the NLEX entrance on Wed Apr 16.


Lenten tale of two cities - 3
Night falls, reality bites, and itchy butts start to bother motorists at the NLEX exit.


Lenten tale of two cities - 4
Lenten trek reaches Kennon road. At the BGH hospital slide, dozens of stalled overheated cars catch their breaths by the wayside.


Lenten tale of two cities - 5
The mass exodus of Metro Manila's middle class finally reaches Baguio, where they are welcomed by the regular denizens of Harrison Road.


Lenten tale of two cities - 6
Perhaps 1/3 of Metro Manila's middle class mix it up in the night market with the regular denizens of Harrison Road, whose nightly exhibits of Baguio's best offerings amaze lowlanders and foreigners alike. Millions explore the subtle spirituality and rich cultural tapestry of ukay-ukay.


We stop right here, in deference to Good Friday. See you on Sunday for the conclusion of our short moral tale.



Lenten tale of two cities - 7
A new tradition emerges, with its own shrine devoted to red, ripening fresh strawberries. Let's call it the annual pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Plasticulture.
Tale of two cities - 8
As posted on the ABS-CBN website (so you know we're not making things up), NLEX CCTV captures the nuances of motorists in deep thought, absorbing the meditative spirituality of Black Saturday.


Tale of two cities - 9
And Easter Sunday is a repeat performance along NLEX, SLEX, and all the other tollways that serve as arteries for this annual pilgrimage.


Tale of two cities - 10
All's well that ends well. Metro Manila's car-bound middle class, the social base of mass motorism, is back in the harness, blinders back in position, and none the worse for wear. Or so it seems.


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