This is part of my Semana Santa series where I feature rituals and traditions observed in certain places during this solemn week in the Catholic calendar. Click on the image at the right to check the rest of the articles.
The Good Friday procession is the climax of the day with the carroza of the Santo Intierro, the image of the dead Christ in state, taking center stage. Most of the people follow it. In the old towns around the country, the image used is one of the oldest and storied. Lucban’s is one. Same thing with the spectacular jointed image in Paete with its mystical rite of the dead.
There is a bit of a curiosity on how Filipinos identify so much on the passion and death of the Christ, especially the latter. Good Friday is the most solemn of all days in the Catholic calendar. It is where spectacular rituals and practices, from the flagellations in Infanta and Angeles, crucifixions, and other esoteric rites. In Siquijor and in a town in Bohol, witchdoctors and healers congregate to gather ingredients for their practices as well as recharge their powers. For them, this is the most effective as the Christ is dead. The piety, the mysticism is so great that the resurrection festivities, the most important, pales in comparison.
Two old towns, Carcar in Cebu and Angeles City in Pampanga have antique Santo Intierro but less the attached rituals and the Good Friday procession is a bit solemn, a far cry from the rowdy and fanatical Lucban procession, especially when it returns to the church.
In Carcar, it has one of the most elegant and massive carroza of the Santo Intierro. The image itself is antique and made of wood, very expressive and well carved.
It has been under the care of Manny Castro of the Balay na Tisa, one of the well preserved ancestral houses in the country. Seeing it, even from a distance, is enough to make you gaze in awe.
The town of Angeles City in Pampanga is another beautiful image with a very expressive face and placed in a smaller carroza. Called the Apung Macacalulu, it has been under the care of the church and carved in 1834. It is a well venerated image with its own devotees who travel to this city for the Good Friday procession.
The Good Friday procession here is quite somber and have a shorter route. There are also several life sized and antique images with most done in the 1830s.
My gratitude to Mayor Ed Pamintuan and First Lady Herminia de Guzman-Pamintuan of Angeles City, Archie Reyes, Angeles City Information Officer as well as foodies and food bloggers Christine Nunag and Wyatt Belmonte for inviting, accommodating and touring me around their city and the province of Pampanga.