binyag/baptism by Pilar Estrella Huerta
It’s time to check out excerpts from our Binyag issue! Through the Binyag issue, our poets, writers, and artists reflect on rebirth and new life.
Today we are highlighting a piece from Pilar Estrella Huerta.
Binyag is the Tagalog word for baptism, a ritual that transcends cultures and generations as a celebration of rebirth and new life. As MaS continues to evolve as a space for artists, this theme was an invitation for us, our readers, and our contributors to reflect on what it can mean to be cleansed and reborn. Though we don’t always share the same background, our community is connected through our art.
Binyag is still available to read, so please check out our Binyag issue! Show support for our poets, writers, and artists including Pilar in all of their work!
“binyag/baptism” by peluchi huerta The story goes that I was a baby carried into the dawn by my mama and abuelita (my papa’s mother) to their Catholic Church where I was splashed in the name of the cross with Holy Water. Papa couldn’t know because he was a Born-Again Christian, re-birthed from his sins, only to repeat them again later, like when he cheated on my mama with someone from their Born-Again Christian Bible study group. If not for my mama and Tata’s covert operations and faith, I wouldn’t have been able to partake in the Second Communion and feel holy again though looking a little like a child bride (in the pictures, I can barely form my closed lips into a smile.) Now I will get into heaven— I will, won’t I? Nah, probably not since I haven’t taken communion since I was a Catholic in the 4th grade, when my mama stole herself into the night to fly to the United States. I missed Confirmation with the rest of my 6th grade classmates because I was busy being a Born-Again Christian who avoided praying to idols like the Baby Jesus statue in my 6th grade classroom altar. I am what they/Americans call a “lapsed Catholic” though I have to admit the rituals are in my blood, and these are what I miss the most— the practice of being holy & the suspended belief that I am not.
Pilar Estrella Huerta (nickname Peluchi) was born and raised in Metro Manila, Philippines until the age of 14, when they immigrated to Northern California. They received their bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley, with a minor in City & Regional Planning. Currently, Pilar works as a housing & homelessness program analyst for the State of California, and lives in stolen Me-Wuk land, legally known as Sacramento, with their fiancé A, their dog Miley and three cats, Beemo, Billie and Cass. If you like their work, they write book reviews/reflections on IG: find them @pilartyping.
You can read all the pieces from Binyag here.