Obtained Charms For The Year Of The Dog

It’s Chinese New Year this coming Friday.  To somehow get ready for the upcoming Chinese New Year, I and the 80-year old Nengkoy went to the world’s oldest Chinatown!  Yeah, established in 1594, the Chinese-filled, Chinese-looking and Chinese-smelling Chinatown in Manila is the oldest.

And guess what?  I have been on numerous times to Hong Kong, Taiwan and some portions of mainland China, but this is my first time to visit and traverse the street of Ongpin, the heart and center of Manila’s Chinatown.

my sister say that i look like the owner of the store in this photo. BILI NA! hahaha!
nengkoy while we traverse the old Ongpin Street
will i get rich if i buy and wear all these?

Me, Nengkoy and my sisters proceeded to Chinatown not to greet the folks Kung Hei Fat Choi nor get there to immerse ourselves on some exotic Chinese food.  We went there to optimize the potentials of our good fortune in the coming Year of the Dog.  Believe it or not, we bought ourselves some oriental good luck charms and amulets.

It was such a fun experience when we reached and entered a store that sells various charms and amulets.  A variety of glossy gleaming rocks and a cornucopia of gemstones, trinkets and ornaments that believed to dispel bad luck and will attract fortune, good health, peace of mind and even auspicious love life are all seem present in that store.

I got myself these…

i’m ready to get rich!

The ritual of cleansing the purchased charms and putting a spell on it (as if switching on the potency of the trinkets) before it was handed over to us seem to enhance some authenticity to the powers of our chosen charms.  It also adds up fun and amazement to the rare adventure we had at Ongpin Street.

Some would say that we may have made a fool of ourselves and we let ourselves be duped, tricked or conned by the sellers of these Chinese ornaments.  But I have always believed that there must be something in these knickknacks that seem to influence human fate and providence.  Nothing will be lost anyway if I am to practice or believe in these age-old Chinese tradition.  Yet, what if it works?  Hahaha!

But seriously, ,may it be effective or not, I know deep within my sensibilities that hard work, perseverance, Intelligence of the mind and the brightness of the heart are still the keys to good life and sought after fortune.

Kung Hey Pat Tsoy!

Holy House of Mother Mary in Turkey

Let me start featuring my Turkey solo journey posts not based on chronology of events.  Instead, let me commence by featuring one of the holiest spot in Turkey for the Christian Catholics like me.

I have been to the holy house of Mother Mary.

Hail Mary!

When the tour guide of the tour group I joined announced that the first site to be visited was the Holy House of Mother Mary, I got a bit worried.  I became so nervous and anxious because the guards of this pilgrimage site may see my invisible wicked horns and would not allow me in. Hahaha!

full of grace…
where are the pilgrims?

Anyway, the time of my specific visit to the House of Mother Mary according to our Tour Guide was something bizarre.  According to him, this Catholic pilgrimage site is often visited by hordes of tourists and pilgrims.  But on the particular instance that we visited, only me and my tour mates (a Singaporean couple, a Vienna-based Korean solo traveler and a Chilean lady physicist) were the only people at the site.

The Tour Guide who can’t seem to fathom that there was no people around justified that we must be some very special visitors of the house.  He mentioned that this must be some sort of a gift from the heavens so that our group would be able to deeply marvel and appreciate the beauty and sacredness of the holy site.

beautiful
and i was actually allowed inside the house… taking photos inside though is prohibited
pose muna kahit nakaka-paso!

Except for the Chilean lady physicist everyone in the group were non-practicing Christians.  But I was the only Catholic and was the only one who took the rare opportunity of lighting a candle and writing a note and tied it along with the bunch of other written wishes and prayer intentions on the humongous wall of notes.

When we left, the Tour Guide asked the group if someone wrote on a piece of paper and tied it on the wall of notes.  The Vienna-based Korean pointed at me.  The Tour Guide then told me not to divulge to the group the wish and prayer intentions that I have written on my note so that its realization would not be spoiled.  I then zipped my mouth and kept quiet.

But let me reveal what I have written.

salamat!
Mother Mary must be very busy… that’s a lot!
tied my thank you note…a wish fulfilled…

I actually did not wrote any request or any appeal.  I simply wrote a thank you note gor I consider my Turkey journey a gift from the heavens.  I did not wrote any desired intentions anymore because my being at the House of Mary and in Turkey (for that matter) is already a realization of a ginormous wish.

Heyl Meri!