Friday, February 3, 2017

Noise: Churches

Everything in the Philippines is loud.  Even the churches.  The Filipino knows nothing about sacred silence.  Everything he does, even the most solemn religious services, are celebrated with loud noise rather than silent prayer and meditation.

This church does not have a building.  They meet at a basketball court.  At 7am they start playing a CD of church bells through a sound system that is hooked up to a loudspeaker which broadcasts this noise all over the countryside.  It can be heard for almost two miles away.  

For nine mornings before Christmas the Filipinos gather together to sing carols, pray to the saints, and hear a sermon which is usually a political tirade and has nothing to do with Baby Jesus.  This too is broadcast all over the countryside starting at 3am and not finishing until 6am.  Instead of a peaceful sleep you are woken suddenly by the warbling voice of a priest singing "Feliz Navidad" and ranting against the government. And there's no road back to dreamland. Even in your own home you aren't safe from Roman Catholic superstition.

Every church building here has a huge loudspeaker on the top of the building or outside somewhere so that the entire surrounding area can hear their devotions.  They broadcast the entire service.  The singing, the preaching, everything. And it's all garbled.  What's being broadcast isn't even intelligible.  

The Filipino love of noise runs deep. Very deep. Soul deep. He cannot keep quiet for a second.  There is so much noise in this country it is unbelievable.  There is no escape from noise here.  Not even at church. And with the loudspeakers broadcasting each service there's no escape from the church either. 

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