The past days witnessed the surge of noise pollution in our streets, homes, and communities. Barking speakers are all around the island running to and fro. Local election fever is even more defined as the candidates vying for local elective positions try their best to impress the local electorate and outdo their opponents by performing creative stunts. Try as they may, however, the local populace seems not impressed. Instead they are shouting: SILENCE!!!

And the more that this ephemeral much demanded “silence” is needed in this time of the Holy Week – the week that changed the world forever. Let’s have silence for a week, will you?

Silence is a value that is much needed nowadays. Sa mga nakaaging panahon, when island of Catanduanes was still young and beautiful, one can experience a genuine and contemplative silence during Holy Week. Kaidtong panahon, sa paglaog kan Semana Santa, poon nin Domingo de Ramos, our communities went into silence. Genuine Silence. Bako tabi na ‘mute’, kundi silensiyong tunay.

Ang mga radio bawal ng patanogon segun sa satuyang mga Lolo or Lola. Kung dai nakatios magpatanog kan radio, dapat so tama sana na kamo lang sa laog kan harong ang maka dangog. Asen ang madadangog sa radyo, iyo solamente ang programa na drama manongod sa buhay, pasyon, asen pagkagadan kan satuyang Kagurangnan na si Hesukristo. Daing ibang programa kundi iyo sana an ang madadangog. Maski ang pagte-ak kan mga pandos-og na kahoy bawal na. Dai na puedeng mag gibo ki mga magagabat na trabaho. Bawal ang pagmartilyo.  

Asen ang mamamatean mong silensio iyong igwa ning kasabay na prayerful attitude. Sarong silensio na may kasabay na paghorop-horop asen pag giromdom sa buhay asen pagsakit kan satuyang Kagurangnan. Sarong silensiong may pighahalat… Silensiyong may pag antisipar… Silensiong pakikidumamay. It’s a sort of contemplative, prayerful, remembering, anticipating silence that is focused on the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. Maski mga kaakian, is aware that the imposed silence on them revolves and is centered on the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. Everyone is aware that this Holy Week is a week to be spent in a reverent silence, in deference to the remembrance and celebration of the passion and death of our Lord. Hence, there is that collective familial and communal celebration of reverent silence. To be followed by a collective hurrah! at the Lord’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Unfortunately, and tragically, such manner and things are considered nowadays to be irrelevant. This kind of silence is no longer present nor being exercised. Worse parents no longer impose nor demand such reverent silence to their children. Tragic. When the world need this kind of silence, the more that it is being forgotten and thrown out of the window in our Catholic homes. This much needed silence is now overwhelmed by the many gadgets that attracts the attention of every member of our Catholic family.  Sad. Tragic.

Silence, that contemplative and reverent silence, is the only way by which we can have a much needed meaningful encounter with the Lord this Holy Week. But it seems our communities, our Catholic communities in this island province have lost it already, forgotten already.

Instead they replaced it with batch and alumni homecoming celebrations. Frolicking in the beaches of the island even during Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday. Trampling one’s feet on the many tourist sites of the island. Island hopping in Caramoan area. And on Easter Sunday they are busy preparing for the send-off of their guests back to Manila.

Worst, they altogether missed the Paschal Vigil on the Holy Saturday Night. Tragic. And they altogether missed to rejoice with Mary Magdalene and the Apostles on the Good News! The Lord is Risen! (SNIPER PATROL BY EUSEBIO “SEVS” VIDAL)