Pious parishioners, people of piety. That’s what I found while having my Holy Week vacation in Anda, Bohol. And it is something that gladdens the heart. But Bohol is known as the province of religious people. It is not only the source of faith antiques done in folkstyle, or the province with many beautiful churches replete with stunning ceiling paintings.
Anda is 100 KM east of Tagbilaran. It has stunning white sand beaches and after going around and photographing at what the town has to offer for tourists, and bathing again at its waters, the spirit has to be enriched.
It was already Good Friday and after a swim at Bitoon White Beach and a dip at Combento Cave Pool, I visited the Sto. Nino Church of this town. The edifice is old. While building started during the Spanish colonial era, specifically after the founding of the town in 1885, it was only finished in 1926.
The facade is simple except for a central portico that includes the belfry, an American period architecture. But once you’re inside the church, you’ll be in awe of its splendid ceiling paintings done by the Cebuano Ray Francia, the same painter who did other Bohol churches.
As it was already past 4PM and the Sieta Palabras was already done, people spilled outside the church and into the church grounds and plaza for the mass. Some seemed to be there, for the sake of being there. But I entered in the hope of taking some images.
When I entered the church, it was just so full of people and most were already lining up to kiss the crucifix. This is a ritual among Catholics and is done past 3 PM, the traditional time of death of the Christ. It is to pay homage to His passion and death.
It was hot and humid and I was busy shooting at the line of people at both sides. I was barefoot as the priest told the parishioners to remove one’s shoes when going to kiss the crucifix. But people didn’t mind me and the priest just let me be.
Past 5 PM and the parishioners already were assembled outside the church. Four carrozas, mostly small sized images on carts were already in line. At a cue, the sacristans leading the congregation lighted their candles and led the procession.
For such a remote place, a far flung area, never have I seen so many women wearing veils, a practice that is slowly becoming lost in most cities. And because of the number of people, it seems the whole of Anda’s Catholics converged at the church for the lenten rituals.
This was recorded using SoundCloud in Ipad Mini during the procession.
The strains of the passion song filled the air, rosaries said and other prayers. As the procession wound its way around the quite streets of the town, darkness fell.
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My great thanx to Mayor Angelina Simacio for hosting me in Anda, Bohol and to Kathy Pitlo for guiding me around the municipality.