A Question Of Morals

The Pope’s high profile visit to the UK, and the enormous amount of commentary and debate surrounding it offer a good opportunity to talk about Catholicism in the Philippines. In particular the common local response I’ve experienced to my own professed agnosticism can be revealing about how ideas of morality can be constructed differently in different belief systems, and this realisation can in turn provide an interesting perspective on the Pope’s mission to the British people. Continue reading “A Question Of Morals”

The (Beauty) Queen and the Cross

A girl playing the role of Queen Helena in a Santacruzan parade for people with disabilities

Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is a month long Catholic festival held in the Philippines in honour of the Virgin Mary, unsurprisingly during the month of May. It culminates in colourful processions called Santacruzan that are held all over the country, from the smallest villages to the largest shopping malls – processions that display an intriguing mix of the traditional, the religious and the modern, particularly in the way they incorporate a figure that has been a vital part in Philippine national identity – the beauty queen. Continue reading “The (Beauty) Queen and the Cross”