Lent season (kwaresma) had just started last Wednesday, started it with ash smudge in foreheads in the shape of cross. Reminding us of Christ’s passion from his suffering to death and resurrection. Lent is a forty days tradition of solemn prayers. Holy Week (Semana Santa) is one of the longest holidays in the Philippines. It started from Palm Sunday, which commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem, to black Saturday, then Easter Sunday.
We Filipinos is very rich in culture and tradition but as time gone by, we slowly forgot those traditions that makes us unique and renowned. Now that we are in the age of modern world where everything is already computerized and very high technology, we forgot the essence that God created us to govern everything that He has created. But instead, we are governed by what man has created.
Part of Filipino culture to take advantage of long holidays during Holy Week. It is one of the best moment to give quality time to family and love ones. But remember that Holy Week is not a vacation holiday but a days of prayer, abstinence, penitence, repentance, fasting and forgiving. Let us remember how Jesus Christ suffer and died to free us from sins. Lets enriched this long traditions so that next generations will see and continue this kind of tradition.What we disregard today might be the lost of tomorrow.
Here are some places to visit to spend Holy Week:
Bathing Ritual in Paete, Laguna
Nestled in the foothills of Sierra Madre by the coast of Laguna de Bay. Famous for woodcarvings where the place was derived “Paet”(chisel). Spectacular celebration of Holy Week in Paete starts on Palm Sunday. On Holy Wednesday the pre-Spanish ritual of the century old wooden image Santo Sepulkro (dead body of Christ) was given a bathing rites after a “pabasa”(a singing of Christ’s life and passion). The body is washed with coconut wine and agua de cologne in the kubol (a kind of tent). The image is smoked with charcoal and incense for exactly five hours. The devotees slide their legs and feet inside the kubol while chanting prayers and devotional supplications.This ritual is not only practiced in Paete but also in other towns in the Philippines but the ritual in Paete is unique.
Marinduque Moriones festival
|Courtesy of visitmarinduque.com|
Marinduque is very popular destination during lent season because of its Moriones Festival. Moriones came from the word “Morion” which means “mask”. Moriones is the reenactment of the story of Longinus, the Roman centurion who was blind in one eye, who pierced Jesus in the cross and believed that was converted to Christian.
Live Crucifixions: San Pedro Cutud, San Fernando, Pampanga
|Courtesy of http://mithunonthe.net|
Witness true re enactment of Christ passion and crucifixions in Cutud, San Fernando. This solemn tradition of Kapampangans is a more than 50 years old. Thousand of spectators gather to witness this event every year. Dozens of hooded flagellants walking around and beating their bloody back with bamboo floggers as a sign of penance. This extreme mortification tradition during Good Friday at Cutud commemorate Jesus sacrifices for us.
Monasterio de Tarlac, Tarlac
The Philippines is very blessed to house the Arqueta encasing the relic of the Cross of Christ . The relic came from the Diocese of Essen, Germany. The relic is enshrined within the Eco-tourism Park of Tarlac. Pilgrims come to the monastery to pray their personal intentions. Also a 30-foot risen Christ facing the valley and mountain ranges in the west can be seen in the monastery.
Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan
It is an exact replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France. It features a mock hill calvary where life-sized statue depicts the passion and death of Jesus Christ. During Lent season Grotto is very crowded. Thousands of devotees come to grotto for their vows and render devotion. As i was staying at Marilao Bulacan i could remember how busy is the streets from Tabing- Ilog, Marilao Bulacan to San Jose del Monte. People of all ages walk on their way to the Grotto as a sign of devotion.
Manila Visita Iglesia
|Photo by: digitalphotographer.com.ph|
Visita Iglesia or Church Visit is one of the religious activity that most Filipino Catholic engage in.In the past years,Visita Iglesia is usually done on Maundy Thursday, but today it is celebrate in any day within the Holy week. In general practice is to visit seven churches and recite the station of the cross while in the church. As there is 14 stations, two stations in every church. Why seven churches? it is an early Christian practice of visiting seven great Basilicas in Rome.
Below are the list of churches you can visit
*Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral)
*Our Lady of Abandoned Parish (Sta. Anna Church)
*Shrine of Our Lady of Correa (San Agustin church)
*Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz (Binondo Church)
*Sta. Cruz parish
*Minor Basilica of San Sebastian
*Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church)
*Our Lady of Remedios Parish (Malate Church)
San Vicente Ferrer (Vito Church) Sagay City
|Courtesy of : pinoychurches.wordpress.com|
Nestled along the coastline of Sagay City facing the Molocaboc Island, Vito Church in Negros Occidental is few of the places to visit during Holy Week. Thousands of pilgrims visited it every lent season to pray and ask for healing. People visited Vito Church specially those who are ill to ask for healing. Religious tradition practiced in Vito is the “palapak” , wherein the statue of St. Vincent Ferrer is slightly pressed on the head of the devotee. Thus the word palapak was taken from “lapak” which means “to step on” in Hiligaynon. Best time to visit the church is first Friday of the month to witness the the religious tradition.