IT was the first Friday of August when Roberto and Leticia went to the age-old Quiapo Church to celebrate their 47th anniversary. As usual, the home of the Black Nazarene was crowded by throngs of parishioners and devotees, but this did not pose a threat to the old couple as they were willing to endure any inconvenience so they can reminisce the past and rejoice the significance of the place to them—the place where their perpetual love flourished.

As the two walked toward the entrance, Roberto held his wife’s hand and looked at her as if gazing at the most beautiful star. He would then coil his hands around Leticia’s shoulders, drawing her closer to him so he could gently whisper his vows. Accentuated by the beautifully painted exterior of the church and its exquisite Baroque style, the passion between the couple overpowered the divinity of their surroundings.

The following year’s anniversary was different. It was a gloomy afternoon and the dark clouds shrouded the radiance of the church. Eventually, its glory was taken away by a heavy downpour. Outside, one can hear the melody of requiem vocals reverberating throughout the basilica’s grand structure.

From the entrance, Roberto can be seen sitting next to a woman. A closer look at the old man shows a young lady weeping over the shoulder of her father, whose eyes are locked on a casket on the front aisle. F RYAN PIOLO U. VELUZ

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