My Heart Bleeds Yellow

Our Lady of Peñafrancia
Photo Credit: eazytraveler through flickr.

Originally written and published on September 21, 2015.

     Yesterday, my heart bleeds yellow. It was my birthday, which coincided with the Feast Day of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, patroness of Bicol. Having been born on the feast day of our "beloved" Ina 28 years ago to Bicolano parents, I consider myself a Bicolano through and through, both by blood and by culture. My parents, incidentally, were also married on the same feast day four years before my birth.

       Growing up, I have always been concerned about Bicol Region, oftentimes having in mind that we are among the poorest of regions in the nation, so that when I learned that I myself was born on the feast day of Ina, I was delightfully surprised, eventually uttering to myself, "I never knew that my birthday was that special."

    Yesterday was the last day of the 9-day celebration of the feast day of Ina. Although I am hundreds of miles away as I am reviewing for the Bar, I made it a point to make it special by praying the 9-day novena for 9 straight days. I have one major wish in mind, and that is to pass the Bar... but at the back of my head, I will make this an annual habit from now on. In the next years to come, my prayers will all be about Bicol.

      I long to visit Naga City on its very feast day sometime in the future. When I'm already a lawyer, I will never forget that Ina has been instrumental to attaining my dreams. Seven years ago, I cried when I learned I passed the cpa boards. I remembered having worn yellow on my birthday that time, which was also the 3rd Saturday of September. It was the day of the mock boards too but it was such an unusually difficult day. I won't recount the terrible things that have happened. However, no matter how hard that day was, I decided to keep my faith.

     On one of the exam days, my mother also wore a yellow shirt. I did not tell her to do it and although I was a bit scared that terrible things might happen again, I did not tell her not to wear yellow either. As expected, that day was also unusually difficult. I was not able to sleep the night before so I was worried I might fail the exams... but I told myself, it does not necessarily mean that just because you lack sleep, you will fail. Miracles do abound, as later on, when the results came out, I not only passed, I also got nearly-perfect scores for the subjects I have taken on the day I had no sleep at all.

   When the results came out, my mother bought an orchid somewhere in Batangas. I asked my mother what the color of the orchids will be by the time it grows flowers. She said "yellow." I cried and remembered the sweet name of Ina. The orchids have not grown flowers yet, until today. Maybe it is still awaiting the time when I pass the Bar. But maybe that's just me being a little superstitious. 

    In retrospect, my 28th birthday was the best. Friends gave me surprises. My family was also here in Manila to attend my sister's inducting ceremony as a newly-licensed physician so we also took the opportunity to celebrate my birthday as a family. We had a simple yet scrumptious dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was easy, devoid of any form of stress. I am grateful that Ina has answered one of my wishes, and that is to have a really happy and memorable birthday. I had wished for it because, somehow, my previous birthdays had not been kind to me. Yesterday was an exception. Thank you, Mama Mary!


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