My good friend and Dive Master Joel Serena’s invited me to the Baptism of his Second Grandson, Reef Jay Orapa, An unusual name but very fitting because both of his parents are PADI Divers! The Baby is their first child and is about 2 months old and seems to be a nice little guy but I will try to change that if I get the chance so that he keeps his parents Kathleen and Ryan Orapa busy day and night as he gets older
The farther of young Reef is a Police Captain so some of the guests were his Academy Friends and some much Higher Ranking Officers but all were very friendly and fun people! The Mother Kathleen is a research assistant or something with a Pharmaceutical Company and is very lucky as before and after her pregnancy she was allowed to work online from home or in this situation, from her parents house!
The actual Baptism Ceremony took place in our local Catholic Church, St Micheal’s which was jam packed with worshipers it being a Sunday Morning! We waited a outside for a while for the People who attended the Mass to leave and then we could get on with the Business of the day, The Baptism. I was a bit confused as to how it would work because in most countries the Baptism of a child is really a personal event for the friends and family but here in the Philippines Group Baptisms are not unusual and this one was like that with probably 80 babies all getting Baptized in this group! Many families use this method of Baptism in order to save money as the cost of a private ceremony can be quite expensive and not affordable to poor people and the Baptism Certification is very important item especially during school years! The Baptism Certificate is equally as important as the Birth Certificate for some reason!
This type of ceremony was a bit unusual to me as before, I have been to group Baptisms where each family were located one Pew for their immediate family in the Church, the Priest would then walk up the isle of the church blessing each child with the sign of the cross on the forehead as he passed! Once that part of the of the ceremony was over, each family in turn would take their child to the front of the church where the Font was located and the actual Baptism would take place. Prayers would be said and that would be the end of proceedings!
This time, the Font was outside at the back of the main Church and was at the opposite end to the Alter. All the families kind of squeezed together forming a semi circle around the Font! It was quite a squeeze to say the least but everyone got into position as the Priest Arrived! The usual opening prayers were said then the Priest went around the line of babies blessing them in turn with the sign of the cross! After this, each baby was taken to the Font for the main baptism but what made me chuckle a bit about this part of the ceremony was that Holy Water was kept in what looked like to me, a Stainless Steel Tea Pot complete with Spout from where a tiny amount of water was used to anoint each child! During the Baptism at the Font, some of the people with cameras were pushing and leaning on the Priest but he had a mean back elbow to move them back! When the whole group was finished, a short prayer was said, the crowd cheered and the Priest just disappeared into the Church! This whole ceremony took no longer than 30 minutes and 80 or so babies were now officially blessed and named in the sight of God!
After this part of the ceremony was completed most of the families went to the Alter for a bit of posing and getting their pictures taken either by relations or
the Professional Photographers who attend all School and Church Ceremonies looking for business! The actual Baptismal Certificates, which are very important here would be ready for collection the following day!
From the Church we moved onto the venue for the reception at the Sun City Suits, a Popular Hotel along the National Highway in Gen San! This was a very nice venue as the Air-conditioning was nice and cool, the staff were very polite and the food was OK. There were 2 Roast Pigs and several other Popular Local Dishes with Soup, Pudding, Cup Cakes and a Cake but the entire group was less than 50 people so this, as usual was far too much food! The main thing for the men was the Cold Beer which really went down a treat! I will admit that I only ate Roast Pork and Soup, the Pork was solid meat and very tasty.
The Party carried on afterwards at the Grand Parents House but me being a good boy after going to Church that day did as my wife commanded me and we went home after a good very nice day out!