|The precisely “arranged” items for sale|
|The perky teenagers of Cana|
These adorable girls readily posed for me in their most welcoming smiles. I wanted to shoot them for the entire day, if only possible. Pretty aren’t they?
|The Cana Catholic Wedding Church- where Jesus performed His first miracle of changing water into wine|
|The Cana Catholic Wedding Church interior|
|No idea where the military man came from. Definitely not part of any of the tour group.|
|Renewal of the marriage vows at Cana Catholic Wedding Church.|
Where else best, most meaningful to renew a marriage vow than the site of the most popular wedding event in the history of Catholicism.
|Notice how the Indonesian couples (on top row) are in matching outfits|
The Indonesian group joined us for the renewal of marriage vow since they have no priest accompanying them during their pilgrimage. One can hardly tell the difference between the Filipino and Indonesian looks.
|The kids of the Indonesian group. Very much Filipino in all ways possible.|
|The Filipino nun from Iloilo serving in Cana.|
Happy to see a familiar face, which may as well work both ways.
Sorry for the vanity but notice how glowing sister’s face is and how fresh, happy, and peaceful she seems to be– the perks of living a convent life.
|The prettiest nun I have ever seen in my life so far.|
We were told that they were about to close when we arrive so they delayed closing for a while and granted photo ops for the happy tourists. WE WERE AT THE LOCATION OF THE WEDDING AT CANA! Surreal!
The Experience I
After the renewal of marriage vows, the Indonesian couples came to do an interesting tradition outside the chapel. They shared a biscuit (as I see it) and took a bite together. The reason, I don’t know really, but it looked fun! Plus they each had roses from the husbands after the distribution of marriage certificates. Talk about preparation! So the husbands in our group improvised and looked for petals around instead.
|This was me stalking this picture-pretty Indonesian woman. (Notice how the couple pouted alternately at the bottom pictures. )|
She looked quite different from the rest of the Indonesian group, I thought she must be some half-breed of some sort. And the husband must be one rich and powerful business tycoon in Indonesia. : ] They have a pretty daughter. (Thanks mom!)
|Now this was me fascinated with the Fransciscan brother with these girls in tow. Family or friends I suppose (I hope?!).|
|United nations visiting the Church of Cana|
|World currencies, represent!|
I didn’t totally understand how this has become a wishing spot, or how significant this little concrete area was. I just noticed the most varied currency– bearing wishing spot. I should have contributed a Philippine peso to the collection! (I haven’t been using one for the longest time so the thought didn’t come automatically. #DollarsInMyMind)
|Let’s just say this used to be Jesus’ playground|
|Lucky moving bus shot. Haifa is the 3rd largest city in Israel.|
|Prices in Shekels|
|Rimonin Hotel Nazareth- The official tour group hotel in Nazareth, for me at least : ] During buffet meal time, tables are grouped according to nationality|
Amazing how in a buffet, a keen observer can see the outright cultural differences by the food a certain group frequents or flocks in; how they mix and match food, which sauce or bread jam they prefer; the activities and the conversation they indulge in.
The Experience II
After breakfast, with a little time to spare before departure, I saw an internet cubicle just to the corner near the restaurant. As I finally discovered that I won’t be able to access the internet until I secure a password, an old man approached me and started asking me in Italian.
The same moment I was about to say that I do not understand the language, he recognized the confused expression on my face and asked if I speak Italian or English. He then apologized and started telling a story. He asked if I can help him get an information for a particular place he’s been meaning to visit. His son had informed him that he can obtain information by searching it on a computer. Being an old man at 80 something (and can still manage to do a pilgrimage, mind you!), he wasn’t quite familiar with the seeming complexities and power of the internet. I told him it is possible to get the info if only I can connect to the web, for which I eventually apologized since I couldn’t.
He then asked where I’m from before we exchanged good byes. “Oh Philippini!” and looked far away like recalling a good ol’ memory.
It was a happy small talk. Moments like this with strangers, an Italian stranger at that, remind me how similar human beings are, no matter how racially, culturally different. It was a moment of humanity. A feeling of oneness with the universe. Not so different. Not so miles apart. Just one language of human kindness. If we had a photo, I will caption it: Touched by a stranger.
Then off we go to the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, just in close proximity to the hotel.
|Signage in Hebrew. Not the most tourist friendly street of Nazareth, is it?|
|Mary’s Well (lucky capture)|
On the way, the bus passed by Mary’s Well (lucky to capture it)– that
small limestone structure, where Mary used to harvest water from. Their
house must be nearby as houses are near their well in the ancient times.
It still is a source of water for the present locals, they say. Talk
about eternal abundance.
The Church of Annunciation
|Church of Annunciation. Designed by Italian architect Muzio. He conceived a plan of 2 interconnected churches, one above the other, preserving in full the remains of the ancient churches.|
This is where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she will conceive a son who shall be named Jesus, meaning savior.
|Holy Family Mosaic from all over the world|
These are the collection of mosaics bearing the Holy Family, focusing on Mary, sent by different countries all over the world.
|This is the Philippines’ mosaic interpretation of Mary’s annunciation|
|Part of the old cave believed to have been the site of the annunciation|
|One of the many attractions in the tour– the various captivating beauties of stained glasses|
Day 3 was basically a rundown on chapels, ala visita iglesia. The tighter schedule begins the next day!