It is in the gathering of the faithful in the night before the procession,
I see thousands of people reaching their hands out to touch the statue of Virgin Mary.
There are mothers, fathers and their children too
Many have come from afar. Like me, I do not belong here.
I am just passing through.
In fact, I am here in the city of Manila in the Philippines.
Just wandering around the night market and quite by chance come upon
this magnifient cathedral built by the Spanish during colonial times.
Seeing the tears flowing down the cheeks of hundreds move one to tears as well.
I do not know why, though not much of a follower myself,
I just break down and cry.
A lady beside me says people come here tonight for their blessings
People rich or poor, come without pride.
People kneeling to get in to get a glimpse of our holy mother
Such a joyful and wonderful sight.
That reminds me of a holy pilgrimage.
Far may one travel with one aim in mind.
To bow before the holy one despite the distance or the toil.
It could be the journey to Mecca
It could be the one to Santiago De Compostella
Could be the one to the birth place of Christ
Or even the one to the holy river of the Ganges
Whatever are your beliefs
Your blessings would be in abundance
Your prayers would be answered
I dare not doubt that as I watch the faithful here tonight.
I wish I am one.