Well folks, looks like you are stuck with some more of my inane drivel, rain havng very much stopped play here.  It is not so much raining cats and dogs as chucking a complete bloody menagerie from the Heavens.  I'll swear I just saw an armadillo bounce off the concrete but it was immediately washed away by the floodwater that now seems to be engulfing Negros.  When I'm in Europe, I always seem to forget just how hard it can rain in the tropics and we are being "treated" to an absolutely prime example here tonight.  Best, I think, if I duck down here and try to gainfully employ myself by boring you.

The ice-cream man.
Let's start with a completely random image here.  This poor little sod pedals his bike up and down the National Hghway every day in punishing heat playing probably the most irritating two bar jingle I have ever heard.  I am quite convinced that continuous playing of that to prisoners of war would be contrary to the Geneva Convention.  In fairness to him, he does have some very tasty ice cream.

The masses at prayer,
In my attempt to keep things chronological and not miss anything, we have come now to Holy Week, or Semana Santa as it is known here, another nod to the Spanish colonial influence.  As in the Orthodox Church, Easter is a much bigger deal than Christmas and it is absolutely huge here in the Philippines where the Roman Catholic Church claims more than 80% of the population.  Most of the remaining 20% are Muslims, mostly centred in Mindanao just South of here.  I have met guys who have travelled there and tell me it is possibly the most beautiful place on Earth but it is also a place of kidnappings and bombings.  I lived in Belfast in the 1970's and have had more than my fair share of bombs, so I'll give it a miss for now, much as I would love to go.  Abu Sayyaf will just have to wait.

Now I have more reason than most to dislike religious intolerance and I would never tell anyone how to worship but I saw an interesting thing on CNN here today which is featuring the Philippines for a week.  Immediately after intervieweing a young woman who had just gven birth to her ninth child in what can only be described as very primitive hospital conditions, we had the thoughts of a senior member of the CBC (Catholic Bishops Conference). Interviewed in his lavishly decorated Church he was equating contraception to abortion and assuring us that the introduction of the controversial RH (Reproductive Health) Bill would lead to the moral bankruptcy of the country.  Basically the RH Bill, which is effectively dead in the water anyway due to Church influence, wants to make contraception widely avilable in a country with about 100 million people and one of the highest birthrates in Asia.  Of course, contraception is available if you can afford it so the rich are OK but what of the poor?  Well, they just go to Church and pay the priest to baptise the umpteenth unwanted child.  Such is life here.  I shall let the reader decide where the morality lies.

The image above is of the masses wrshipping on Easter Sunday in Valencia.  There were so many people that they were standing in the street listening to the service relayed on loudspeakers.

Stations of the Cross.
Not wishing to hang about and intrude, I took off to the country and was struck by the number of things like this that I saw.  Basically every village and hamlet erects the stations of the cross around the place and the people walk around them making their religious devotions. 
Some are quite simple like this and others very ornate.  It is an interesting thing to see.

I think I will leave it here as I want to make a seperate post about the wonderful day we had out in Tambobo Bay.

Stay tuned.

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