the rain in spain does not stay mainly in the plain.

5:56 PM

"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain,” sang Eliza Doolittle in the movie My Fair Lady. Repeating that line may have helped Eliza get rid of her cockney accent but it’s hardly the truth.  In fact, Spanish rain mostly falls in the northern mountains.

Caterina, local girl and one of our mag+s hosts, shared us this bit of information on our first day while walking in the drizzle from the convent to the basilica. She said that the Basque country constantly experiences rain. This explains why Loyola and Spain’s northern region remain green and cool even if it’s the middle of summer and the rest of the country is brown and dry.

And on that Sunday morning, just when we decided to head to town, it started to drizzle.

The town was quaint and appeared to still be asleep.  Most of the shops were closed except for a Chinese grocery and a panaderia/ mini-mart. We passed a couple of minutes standing in a little park, staring at apartments and parked cars, all the while getting drenched. Except for the occasional car swooshing by and the cackle of own voices, we couldn’t hear anything but deafening silence.

We footed it back to the basilica, often passed by longer-legged mag+s participants housed on the other side of town. The rain got heavier and caused us to stop at the convent to don some rain gear. Not really a girl scout, I didn’t have an umbrella or a raincoat so the kind nuns at the convent fashioned me a cape from a blue bin liner. Ingenious, those nuns! Wrapped in my makeshift cape, I braved the rain.

The downpour fortunately let up at around 1030 am and Sunday mass commenced a few minutes after. And boy, it wasn’t the usual kind of Eucharistic celebration we have back home.

The mass was two-hours long and about 20 minutes of which were spent staring at a multi-racial procession of Jesuits walking painstakingly slow to the altar. I turned to Father Xave and asked why he didn’t co-celebrate what appeared to be a very important mass. I paraphrase his reply as, “Sasama pa ba ako dyan?”

Fr. Adolfo Nicolas SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (also the former President of the Jesuit Conference of Provincials for Eastern Asia and Oceania, and former director of the EAPI at the Ateneo), celebrated the mass mostly in Spanish. But just when our ears were getting used to the language, it would suddenly change. Without any warning or explanation, a reader or a co-celebrating priest would read to us in French or German, or Polish or Basque or some language I couldn’t name.

Never in my life did I feel more stupid than those two whole hours. (Okay, so maybe that’s not true. I certainly felt more idiotic when I was studying chemistry back in the day.) The misalette-looking copy handed to us didn’t help at all. It could have been in hieroglyphics for all it did for me. I had no idea what we were singing much less what the readings were all about.  And the only reason why I was able to vaguely follow what was happening on stage was that the structure of the mass is universal. (Duh, Concepcion!)

To make matters worse, the sun decided to come out and bore down on us for the entire two hours. So needless to say, I got a pretty serious tan.

I swear, if I didn’t know better, I would blame the crazy weather in Loyola on global warming.

evidently, the rain in spain doesn't really stay in the plain.
a wet sunday morning in the town of loyola
slippery steps of an alley

one of loyola's drinking fountains

 wonder why they blocked off all of the doors.
we found bread, bread, and more bread at a panaderia/ mini-mart. 

here's an authentic spanish casa, villa juanita

 just one of the many houses in loyola.

celina and I pose with couple of loyola's elders

mag+s pilgrims, locals, and tourists alike settle down for the eucharistic celebration 

 some had to stand since there weren't enough seats.

the high priests took their places on stage

mag+s indeed. a member of the film crew climbed on top of a car to get a better angle. 

the three stars and the sun flying high

bro. jun proud to be mag+s

all smiles with the group from cuba

 bumped into bro jayjay, one of the brothers who worked with my college org MUSMOS

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