The parable of flowers in liquor bottles-A A +A
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
PANAGBENGA has put the flowers on limelight. All the mums, roses, anthuriums, some carnations, bursting everlastings and other varieties cluster in huge numbers only this time of the year. The mums and roses easily are infused as tea with the warmth of day and in the flood of spectators. The fragrance spills down Session Road.
Equally abundant home-grown flower vegetables like broccoli and cauliflowers also long to showcase themselves. The shapely "long legs" broccoli wishes that adjoining La Trinidad can make grandiose and edible floats in a vegetable float festival too. It's their time to nutritionally shine, it brags. If this will be the case, a virtual Panagbenga is not far from reality with rich harvests especially with the flower vegetable artichoke and crops from Farmville which has spun a million Filipino farmers of all ages!
In traversing Cordillera mountains, I have encountered both blooming flowers and the flower bloomers. The elegant Benguet lily has retreated to more bushy areas, to age hopefully gracefully, with the dangling old-man's-beard lichens or in nosebleed terms, the famous Usnea barbata of our BS Biology days. Never mind if it's not Benguet territory anymore, the lily professes. Disgruntled with how she is not taken care of, she fumes she can take on any provincial name for survival. The honey overflows come November when the sunflowers show brightest their political color and the bees come voting in fanatical hordes. The bees would have wanted elections to be done in November for the benefit of who they are rooting for. Mount Pulag trails become festooned with orchids, white dendrobiums mostly, and wild buds of all sizes and hues as summer approaches. The canopy is of angiosperms sending fragile white buds on trekkers in Sablan. A yellow orchid drapes my window pane framing the fertile rice fields of Gawana, Barlig in summertime too.
Luis, a flower bloomer and student in the city gets tuition money from growing flowers in Tublay. Recently, the horrifying typhoons have turned parts of their farmland into mudslides though. But he will not abandon this beauty of a family enterprise which he sees too, being a proud Igorot performer, as an enjoyable cultural dance in real life. As a Cordillera Cultural Performing Group talent actively participating in Panagbenga, he is privileged to have performed alongside flowers he has nurtured and he is proud that these flowers bring awe to the crowd. He represents all the hands whom we owe for the flowers which astonish us in the floats and parades. May God bless the flower bloomers more.
Back to more enclosed worlds, I have seen flowers, still ebulliently blooming, inside buildings and structures and placed in "not-so-expected" vessels.
Every day on our way to the call room in the hospital, we pass by an altar at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The Santo Nino, holding party balloons and garbed in a little boy's typical clothes, would be greeting each of us with a smile each morn. However, the Santo Nino advises me that He is not the best thing at that altar. He points, with his gaze, to the green and shapely V.S.O.P. liquor bottles from which sprout iridescent flowers offered to Him.
At the same instant, a scene flashes on my mind. The memory is from one of our medical missions in a far-flung barangay in Bokod, Benguet. In the locality's small cabin-like San Marcos Chapel, a Ginebra gin bottle half-filled with water, takes the spotlight and stands proudly as a vase, next to the wooden crucifix at the altar. The fresh wild flowers and gladiola blooms placed in it appear as alive and fleshy as a newborn's or an infant's cheeks.
Every morning, on our life's way, we get acquainted with many people, including ourselves. You come to understand that there is always something good in you and in all people, even in the most hardened of all. There is always a door for change for us sinners. It is our humility to acknowledge our sins when we set ourselves at the altar of God that makes some flowers bloom in us. It is our acceptance of Him that empties our feelings of "half-emptiness". It is His love that leads us to a renewed life like an infant in the pink of health. He wholeheartedly accepts those who come to Him, nary He refuses. Even if we see ourselves as sinful at times like V.S.O.P. liquor or Ginebra gin bottles, we can always freely decide to be used at the altar of the Lord, anytime we are ready.
From the sky, Panagbenga is simply a tapering vase of flowers on Session Road, no less a most beautiful altar for the Cathedral on top of the hill this coming Lenten season.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 12, 2013.