all of manila is within walking distance from here, a radius of two hundred meters, from the alley of the Mini Stop across Baywatch Tower where i drink coffee and look around to see what's happening on Mabini Street next to Mr Woman nightclub, towards the churchyard and the restaurants around the square where the homeless dwell, then on Del Pilar i return to Sohotel, a short distance where not much happens beside the motion of the rush hour at the junction as cars and jeepneys criss-cross and go away,
i used to go as far as Adriatico for a beer at the Rendez-vous or Erraz with Eric, which is around the next corner behind the church, but not anymore,
i don't remember the last time i had a communion, or that i have knelt in a church, and among the congregation, i was the only foreigner,
walking towards the altar, i sensed staring eyes in my back and from the outer limit of my sight faces turned as if they were swiftly withdrawn,
the priest talked about the saints whose paintings were on the walls, about God and good and evil, but St Marc's and St luck's physical appearance were etched in a mozaique of colorful glasses, an inlaid artisan work as if glued by the dark lines of lead holding it together on the upperside of the big door in half a circle, and the priest talked about them as well,
the locals stood up, sat down, kneeled and crossed their faces with no hesitation or second thought,
some of the faithful passing from del pilar to mabini through the yard, coming through the door stopped by the door and doused the tip of a finger in the holy water, stood there for a minute and walked out,
this morning, a cyclist wearing lycra outfit and a helmet acted in the same manner, going home after his morning exercise behind the yatch club, and doused again his finger and tipped the holy water on his bicycle's seat and handlebars, crossed himself and walked away.
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