ELY BLOGS: An 'eyewitness' account of 'The Last Supper'

Ely Buendia (NPPA Images)Ely's family used to host the Senakulo, a recreation of the life of Christ, every year in his dad's hometown of Goa, Camarines Sur. The post that follows, which he wrote in 2007, is Ely's recollection of what happened when he was around seven-years-old.

For those of you who weren’t there when it happened, or were probably too young to remember, here’s an eyewitness account of what "really" happened during 'The Last Supper.'

A few hours after sundown, the guys arrived, sat at the dinner table, ate and then quietly left.  There were no dramatic speeches, no shocking revelations, no confrontations, and no walk-outs.  I don’t recall bread and wine being served, too.

The way I remember it, it was quick, rather rehearsed, very unceremonious.  Years later I would encounter other so-called “accounts” of that historical night and politely chuckle at the wild flights of imagination the authors of those fancy retellings were afflicted with.

I feel it is the right time to set the record straight, so to speak, and finally provide the world with the authoritative, entirely firsthand account.

I know what you’re thinking: “This guy’s totally lost it.  How can he have witnessed the Last Supper when it was clearly an invitation only affair?”

‘I have pictures to prove it’

Au contraire, not only was I invited, it was my family who that prepared the feast.  I even have pictures to prove it.  They’re kinda blurry, though, but you can still make out the trademark long robes and fake-looking beards.

I was a mere child at the time, but the memories are still etched in my brain like some computer’s booting sequence.  By the early afternoon, my uncle the policeman had begun cooking the five or so main dishes that would be served that night.

When you’re a kid, there are really only two things you knew how to do.  Play and eat.  I remember me and my cousins hanging out in the backyard where the food was being prepared in large woks, feeling very excited.  My uncle the policeman was quite well known in town for being an excellent chef.  Sadly, the food was off-limits to our grubby little hands.  It was reserved for THE GUESTS.

We managed to entertain ourselves with a series of boxing matches (refereed by another uncle) and a lively game of “avoid the Frisbee.”  The summer day’s heat was slowly dissipating as our stomachs took a turn for the worse.  They’d better feed us soon or we will stop growing.  I heard an old lady singing a godawful song, signaling that at last, THE GUESTS had arrived.

We all ran back into the house just in time to see them shuffling through the doorway in an orderly fashion.  It turned out that the whole town was invited, too.  Parents with their kids staring through the windows, taking pictures; others going so far as to crowd the whole dining room.

The one pertinent question on my mind was, are we going to feed them too?

The chop suey was in front of 'Jesus'

I must admit I was a bit keen on seeing them in person.  I had only heard about them in school and stuff I read from books.  Actually, I really only knew three of them by name.  Peter, the cockfighting guy, I wasn’t that excited to see although had I known he was going to end up guarding the Gates of Heaven, I might have been more inclined.

Of course, everyone looked out for the bad boy, Judas.  The word on the street was he had a limp, and sure enough, we spotted him right away.  We all gave him hostile looks.  Aside from him, all the apostles looked alike.

Finally, "Jesus" entered.

His hair and beard were a little unkempt, but he walked with the confidence that belied his questionable grooming habits.  There was an audible silence in the room as he took his place at the center of the dinner table, right in front of the chop suey.  He gave a slight nod, and then the twelve men started eating while the onlookers looked on with a mixture of reverence and spiritual hunger.

I could totally relate.  Were we supposed to just stand there and watch these guys eat?  Feeling a bit faint, I went back to the kitchen to find my own personal savior, my Mom, who, bless her heart, secretly stashed away some food for me.  I remember eating like Herod’s men were hot on my tail.

Bad Boy 'Judas,' our Limp Bizkit

When I went back to the dining room, Judas was just about ready to leave.  It is quite possible that they all had telepathic powers since not one word was spoken.  "Limp Bizkit" just stood up and quietly walked out the front door.  Surprisingly, the crowd just let him go even though everyone knew where he was going.

When you’re a kid, you kind of notice these things, but you really don’t want to get mixed up with the business of grownups.

Similarly, "Jesus" and the rest of his disciples left without a word, at which time the room came alive with the clanging of cutlery.  It was the devotees’ turn to eat, and it was good.

For my part, I was conflicted.  Why call it The Last Supper when those guys ate AHEAD of everybody else?

Innocence, lost.

Ely Buendia has written for The Manila Bulletin and Esquire. He is the frontman of the rock band Pupil and co-author of "Against the Light: A Pupil Tour Diary," available now.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this blog.

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