Just go out into the great wide world! Summer is here! With the temperature boiling in hot hot polluted Manila, what better way to douse out the sizzle than going places: cooling off in Baguio, getting bummed at the thousands of beaches across the country, going at long last to that edge of the earth wonder in some remote barrio in the archipelago or just visit ones roots and get acquainted again with childhood friends and cousins.

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The Santo Sepulcro of Paete in the ritual pagsusuob process

semanasanta_logo.jpg map_quezon_laguna.gif This is the 7th installment of my Semana Santa series where I feature rituals and traditions observed in certain places during this most solemn week in the Catholic calendar. Click on the image at the right to check the rest of the articles.

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The ritual is akin to ancient death rites where the body of the village chief is bathed, smoked and prepared for the afterlife. Paete, a lakeshore town in Laguna is famed for its woodcarving industry even before the Spanish era. The town’s woodcarvers have graced the various grand churches, houses and museums here and abroad.

During Holy Week, the town becomes one of Filipino Catholic folk religion’s pilgrimage areas, although not many know it, with its wooden and jointed image of the Santo Sepulcro undergoing an age old ritual that is pre-Spanish. A ritual that is akin to ancient death rites where the body of the village chief is bathed, smoked and prepared for the afterlife. This only means one thing, before the Spanish colonization, what we know of being practiced by the mountain tribes in the Cordillera before were also practiced in other parts of the archipelago.

The image, believed to have come from Mexico and brought by the Spanish friars in the town, is an amazing piece of work. The entire sculpture is jointed that enables it to be moved like a human being. Even the eyelids can be closed. At the back of its neck is said to be a date inscribed: 1516.

After the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) mass in the morning, the townspeople transports the image of the dead Christ from its altar niche in a procession to the house of Chie Afuang, the current recamadora whose family has been tasked to care for the image for generations. From Sunday to the morning of Wednesday, a vigil is held and the house opens its doors to devotees.

Continue Reading "Paete’s rite of the dead"

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The prompter dictating the lines of the live performers.

semanasanta_logo.jpg map_quezon_laguna.gif This is the 6th installment of my Semana Santa series where I feature rituals and traditions observed in certain places during this most solemn week in the Catholic calendar. Click on the image at the right to check the rest of the articles.

Amidst the backdrop of Makati’s high rise towers, a rich religious tradition has survived. Done yearly at the periphery of the country’s financial district, the almost 80 year old Senakulo (Cenacle) has been played out in the vicinities of what is now Brgy. Pio del Pilar alternating in Evangelista and Washington Sts.

The week prior to Holy Week, the street is blocked, to the chagrin of drivers and commuters, and a big stage is set up. On the eve of Palm Sunday, the passion play begins starting with the Creation story. For the entire week until midnight of Easter Sunday, the Senakulo is played out nightly to local audiences accompanied by a brass band with key scenes of Christ’s life, passion and resurrection.

Check out my Pagtu-o site for additional background info on this spectacular event.

Continue Reading "Senakulo in Makati City"

Infanta is balmy and refreshing with its long coastline and beautiful blue beaches that the long and drawing ride from Makati to Siniloan via Sta. Cruz on public transport, taking almost 6 hours to negotiate is easily forgotten. The familiar smell of the sea and its salty breeze hits you instantly as the jeepney I took wound down to the coast.