Looking back over the past five years, the single and most memorable event that occurred in my life was my Haring Bakal initiation in Santander, Cebu. Over several months I visited two masters, who gave me sheets of oraciones to memorize. I used three kinds of oil in separate bottles. I underwent a rigorous grilling, after which a ritual called "pandong" (prayers over one's head) was performed on me. A candle was lit on an altar and its flame was carefully observed. The master then struck me with the blade of a katana the requisite number of times on my stomach and legs. (It hurt; my flesh wasn't slashed but bore welts and bruises for three weeks.) I had four "mutya"s (implants) inserted in my forearms. (That hurt also, and the instruments used were a rusty razor blade and a used matchstick to push the "mutya"s in.) I got terribly sick afterward because I forgot to abstain from using anything of metal for 49 days, and my forearms remained swollen for a month--you can actually see them in some of my Album photos. I was required to wear a "bakus" (belt with pouches and inscriptions) and three kinds of "chalecos" (vests) and keep a blessed coconut on my bedroom altar.
There are many other things related to Haring Bakal, of course, that I do not have the liberty of revealing on this blog.