02 April, 2010

Holy Week in the Philippines

Lenten celebration in the Philippines is a conglomeration of quaint Christian and paganistic practices that are found nowhere else in the world. Some are breathtaking and exciting as they are charming and so distinctively Filipino that they are a source of wonderment for any tourist.

It's a family affair with the cooperation of relatives and neighbors. Others do these twenty four hours daily within the seven days of singing and reading of the Passion and Death taken from the verses of the Bible. Foods and drinks are being served to the singers.

Cast of characters who reenact the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Almost every Baranggay hold one.

They scourge themselves in a somewhat paganistic manner considered medieval by many. This is done by stripping themselves naked from the waist up, walking barefooted under a midday sun and flagging themselves bloody with ropes and broken pieces of glass attached with strings to bamboo sticks. They do this as a means of atonement of their sins. It is a sort of retribution of their offenses and human weaknesses for past favor such as after going through some crisis or danger in their lives. This is commonly practiced in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Rizal and practically all over the Tagalog region. Below are some photos I personally took just this morning.

more photos, click here


In Manila it is a practice of Catholic believers to visit, if possible, 14 churches within Metro Manila representing the fourteen stations of the cross. This year, my family and I were able to visit 7 churches only. Since, I have my two kids with me, I just decided to recite 2 stations in each church.
(1) at Sta. Clara Parish Church     (2) at St. John Bosco     (3) at St. Paul Parish


All radio stations throughout the nation are being sponsored by religious groups to air the reading of the "Siete Palabras" (Seven Last Words). There are series of speakers depicting the life of Jesus Christ and of course in different versions but the same meaning. Aglipayans, Episcopalians and Roman Catholics do this simultaneously.


In Sipalay, Negros Occidental, it is a day for Herbolarios searching for anting-anting in unexplored caves on Good Friday.


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