BOCAUE, Bulakan—A fresh new look Pagoda cruised the town’s river during Sunday’s Feast of the Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa which symbolizes healing and a new beginning since the tragedy thirty years ago.
Nearly two hours after a 9:00 a.m. mass at St. Martin of Tours church, devotees and parishioners through a land procession brought the Holy Cross to the Pagoda in Bocaue River area in Barangay Bambang for the water feast and celebration.
When the Cross touches down the Pagoda, it is pulled up by a pulley towards the top of the three levelled structure. It then navigated Bocaue River for about an hour near the town’s bridge in Mac-Arthur highway where hundreds of folks including tourists closely watched and whispered their prayers and wishes.
This year’s pagoda brings a fresh new look because of its green ornamental plants that serve as small walls in all the sides of the ground level. Air passes through and through on the second and third level as there were no huge fixtures except for the brace and the beautifully designed pagoda using semi-cloth-semi polyester materials.
Fr. Mar Ladia, Bocaue parish priest during the July 2nd 30th year commemoration of the mishap where 297 devotees and parishioners were drowned focused on the healing and the recovery. He asked residents not to dwell more on the past but on what devotion to The Holy Cross can do to the people’s present lives.
A group of engineers led by Aristotle Cruz, son of Bulacan Fifth District Representative former Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio Cruz Jr. designed the pagoda. Rep. Cruz, was joined by Board Member Anjo Mendoza and businesswoman Regina Paulenco as this year’s hermano mayors of the feast.
Devotees on board huge and small bancas simultaneously cruised the town’s waters on the sides of the pagoda to honor and continuously seek guidance from the Holy Cross.
Only 200 devotees were allowed to board the pagoda at one given time to ensure the safety of the pagoda.
A nine day evening novena that started on July 1 precedes the Sunday’s Feast. The pagoda sails four times each novena night.
The celebration of the Krus sa Wawa which is traditionally held every first Sunday of July was moved on Sunday, July 9 as the July 2 first Sunday falls exactly on the same date of the fateful Pagoda mishap in 1993 where 297 from the more than 500 devotees died after the overloaded makeshift boats or pagoda capsized.
The pagoda sunk when devotees turn to one side as they avoided lighted kuwitis on that eve of the last night of the novena.
Bocaue employees lit candles and offered flowers during July 2’s evening commemoration novena and prayers wherein a bell in the pagoda was rung every after each of the names of the 297 victims were mentioned.
The story of the Holy Cross in Bocaue river dates back centuries ago when a crucifix was found floating in the town’s waters and saved people from drowning. Since then it was believed to be miraculous. People and devotees from many places come to Bocaue on the Krus sa Wawa Feast Day to pray to the Holy Cross for a miracle to happen in their lives.
Since the fateful event happened 30 years ago, the pagoda never again sail the town’s waters not until 2014.
The Sunday’s feast was the 10th year a pagoda again sailed the Bocaue rivers following the said dark page in the religious history of Bulacan.
Humbleness, love are teaching of the Holy Cross
Fr. Narciso Sampana, Vicar General of the Diocese of Malolos who held the fourth mass during the feast reminded devotees and parishioners that the crucifix or the Holy Cross in the “Krus sa Wawa” being celebrated in the feast is Jesus Christ himself.
“We must celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross as what the bible says that Christ in the crucifix signifies love. He gave his life to us for salvation. There is no other love greater than this. Jesus is also a friend who someone can run to. The crucifix is bear, with no image of Christ because he lives again and he is with us today. Let us be friends with others. If we are being invited, let us come to the invitation. Let us be humble. Let us not be always irritated. Make ourselves approachable just like God who is so easy to go and turn to. Don’t be a conceited person, don’t be grumpy,” (Dapat ipagbunyi ang Krus dahil gaya ng sinasabi sa bibliya, ang sinisimbolo ni Hesus at ang pag-ibig. Wala ng hihgit pa sa love na ito. Kaibigan din si Jesus na nag-alay ng buhay at naligtas. Mensahe ng Krus ay nagsasabi sa atin na nabuhay na mag-muli si Kristo kaya ang Kanyang katawan ay wala na sa Krus. Kasama natin si Kristo. Mag-araal tayo sa Kanya. Siya ay maamo at mababa ang loob, hindi magagalitin, madaling lapitan, katulad ng Diyos madaling lapitan, kasama mo. Kasama natin si Jesus. Buhay siya. Ngayon magsaya tayo at magalak. Tayo man ang anyayahan ng ating kaibigan, lalapit tayo Matuto ka naman sa akin. Mahawa ka naman sa akin. Maamo ka rin sana katulad ni Jesus, hindi nagyayabang, mababang loob. Kasama mo ang Diyos sa lupa maging sa kabilang buhay. Wag masungit. Wag mapagmataas at pinakamaganda sumusunod sa kalooban ng Diyos), he said.
Sampana also said that those in Christ should be jubilant because they succeed in life.