Victorias City was at least thirty minutes by bus from Silay, Bacolod on a well-paved provincial road that made the transit quite comfortable. Outside, the scenery was one expanse of sugar cane and rice plantations. The greenery was unruffled and calmed my nerves working with a steady rhythm of uncertainty and excitement.
When I hailed the bus to a halt, I walked a few steps to ride a tricycle (a motorbike with a passenger’s sidecar) and requested the driver to bring me to the sugar mill. I decided against venturing inside the mill, so I just took shots of this old sugar cane train that was a relic but an impressive reminder of the golden era of sugar refinery in this part of the islands.
Farther on, I remembered having read about a chapel that had an “angry Christ” as mural on its altar. I mentioned it to the driver and immediately, he knew where to go. The Chapel of Saint Joseph the Worker was inside the compound of the Victorias Milling which was erected in 1950. Considering the conservative outlook of the Catholic Church at that time, the painting that was beyond any devotee’s imagination of how Christ looked, probably brought different reactions among the congregation and worse, disappointment or even fear.
The fiery and vibrant colors, the intense and angry eyes, the wide-stretched arms with big open palms are not iconic representations of how Jesus’ kindness is all about. I was distracted by the overall effect of the mural … I dreaded it more than enjoyed the quaintness of the painting. Yet, this attempt at portraying Christ on Judgment Day in a stern and enraged disposition has attracted many travelers from all over.
Heading back to where my diminutive ride was parked, I noticed a disheartening sight. Not far from where I was, I saw a smoke-stack from one of the mills emitting harmful substance into the air. I wondered how long this had been going on and how much particles of pollutants had mixed with the provincial air. Reliving the experience brings the same trepidation in my heart; yet, I know it continues on.
It was a quiet afternoon by myself, conquered my fear of being alone in a strange locale and seeing places I heard about and encountered in my readings. I am thankful to God for the opportunities He blesses me with, allowing me my freedom to enjoy moments of discovery and living the realities that have been mere dreams in the niche of His protection and faithfulness.