Pagpalansang sa miaging Biernes Santo

THOUSANDS came to see nails driving through Gilbert Bargayo’s hands and feet that fateful Biernes Santo 2008 and he seemed to be enjoying the attention.

The cross where he hung for some 45 minutes at around 3 pm had a grand view of one side of the Cristo Rey Mountain Park filled with people from all walks of life.

The guy just suffered a bout with chicken pox. The marks all over his body just could not be hidden by the dye his followers painted on him a day before.

"Naayo na man ko," he told me when I arrived at the old Don Bosco Retreat House where the cast and production staff of the Pasyon sa Mantalongon stayed.

Mixed feelings met me when I arrived.

My family — Doris and the kids — were already there ahead. I worried about Bargayo’s state of health. I thought about the threat posed by local and family politics in Mantalongon. The retreat house gave me a sense of deja vu after returning 30 years after my senior high school retreat that every Bosconian in Cebu experience.

The nailing at the Cristo Rey Mountain Park was actually my idea.

Joe Canton, a family friend, had just assumed the post as administrator of the property owned by his family — the Almagros of Dalaguete. Over breakfast and some hot instant 3-in-1 coffee mix last December 2007, he asked for ideas on how to draw public attention to the 50-yeat-old park.

Looking at Bargayo on the cross that afternoon, I told myself, "That’s one idea that took off and became reality."


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