01555: Staying in the City During Holy Week

In theory this work week will be rather short. I'll only report for work for three shifts and for Thursday and Friday nights I should be off for the day. Unfortunately life continues on over in the US and so I know I'm going to at least stay up for a conference call on Friday morning and I expect a new major deadline to realize by Friday night. So come Monday, I expect for there to be a fair amount of work waiting for my grand return. Wonderful.

But I'll still make the most of the two days off from work, as much as can be managed. The city will be pretty much shutting down by Thursday morning with the trains shutting down for their annual maintenance and the number of buses and taxis on the street bound to become drastically reduced. More than any religious reasons, I really would prefer to take the holidays since it becomes so difficult to get around without the LRT and the MRT running.

With the rise of call centers and other outsource operations in the country, I find that more and more folks end up staying in the city during the holidays. Active call centers means thousands of employees still reporting for work and thus food services, taxi operators and 24 hour convenience stores find the lure of continued revenue worth the hassle of making people report for work on a holiday and paying additional holiday premiums as needed. The wheels of commerce are forever turning after all.

And in a somewhat related note to yesterday's post, it's not like we have increasing numbers of people opting to dedicate their holidays to religious activities. Before it was expected for most folks to travel back to their home provinces to be with their families and go through all the usual pabasas and Visita Iglesia together. Now people more often than not leave town for leisure purposes or limit their church tours to those within Metro Manila. Times are harder now after all and it's easier to save money by not going too far away from home. These are just some of the economic realities that more and more people need to deal with in these challenging times.

If anything, I find that another unusual indicator of just how the importance of religion is declining is how flexible the department stores and malls are when it comes to their holiday store hours. Before you could pretty much assume that businesses would shut down entirely from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday and only reopen come Easter Sunday. Now you can expect the malls to only close a little early on Maundy Thursday and then open by lunch on Black Saturday. It helps minimize the loss of potential revenue and it gives people still in the city something to do with their, um, extra non-religious time. I feel their great respect for religion in our modern lives so much.

But hey, I can't really complain. Still have accessing to even limited food delivery services is pretty helpful during Holy Week. And the fact that Saturday is essentially a regular day for business will totally support our own little Tabletop Day festivities this Saturday with a few friends. So yay for geekier holidays that still make more sense to me than some religious ones, even if they don't give you the day off.