The fiestas and events on this special page is just a small selection of what is happening during this Holy Week and Easter time in the Philippines. Almost every city or town or barangay has its own festivities.
Re-enactment of the last days of the life of Christ can be seen all over the country. Real crucifixions in a few places. Check my post Crucifixions San Fernando Pampanga.
SUNDUAN HA CARIGARA
March – April (Easter Sunday) / Carigara, Leyte
The event takes place on Easter Sunday, meaning it is a movable feast (it occurs on March or April). As part of the event involves the commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, the atmosphere is that of joyous celebrations, notably that of the boat parade, which also depicts the history of Carigara.
The celebration consists of cultural, social, and religious activities, a float parade and contests depicting the rich history of Carigara with Cockfighting, songs, dances and drama contests.
March – April (Black Saturday/ Easter Sunday) / Angono, Rizal
The salubong dramatizes the meeting of the Virgin and the Risen Christ.
A stage is set in an open plaza. A curious dance of the tinyenta (a female lieutenant dressed in a sky blue gown) who waved a short flag started the Easter presentation. This was then followed by the kapitana (female captain dressed in a colorful, ruffle-riched gown) declaiming a very long poem in rich Tagalog about the fulfillment of Christ’s promise.
Upon reaching the climax of the poem, birds of colored paper and bamboo swoop down from the corners of the four-posted structure called ‘galilea’ to open a heart hanging at the center that conceals the girl dressed as a little angel. We were impressed by the little angel (girl) not only for spending hours suspended by rope inside the hollow heart but also for singing the Latin Antiphon “Regina Coeli Laetare” (Queen of Heaven, Rejoice).
The angel is then lowered towards the image of Mary below. She then slowly removed the black veil from the Virgin to signify that Her Son had already risen from the dead.
The salubong in Angono ends with the release of multi-colored balloons and another dance of exaltation from the kapitana.
The picture shows: the ‘Angel’ removing the black veil covering the image of the Virgin Mary during the Salubong.
March – April / Plaza Moriones, Intramuros, Manila
Where the last days of the life of Christ are shown in a play.
Holy Week and Easter
March / April / Carigara, Leyte
Black Saturday. Yesterday Christ died to rise again tomorrow. But today Christ is dead.
On this day of sorrow, Carigara annually stages a real bullfight, for the contestants are not men versus bulls, but bulls versus other bulls. The venue is a table land in Barangay Camansi. A carabao is pitted against another carabao which lock horns and push against each other until one gives way and run, with the winner in pursuit. It is going on like this for years.
However, there have been changes in the practice over the years. The carabao fights are now interspaced with a fight of two male horses which is more violent as they kick and bite each other. What is interesting is that a mare has to be present in order that the male horses will fight. The finale for the days sports fest is a cockfight “carambola” where 10 or more cocks are let loose simultaneously in a makeshift arena. The winner of course is the cock left standing at the end of the melee.
LENTEN FESTIVAL OF HERBAL PREPARATION
March – April (Black Saturday) / San Antonio, Siquijor
Herbal Preparation is done during Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Herbalist from all over the Philippines meets in the town of San Antonio where medical potions are prepared utilizing ancient traditional methods in a ritual known as “Tang-Alap”. It is believed by many that during the time between Good Friday and Easter there are many evil entities not of this world wandering around. The concoctions prepared on Black Saturday are said to not only possess restorative medicinal powers but also are able to ward off evil spirits and sorcery.
Read a good story and see more pictures about this at: My SariSari store by Sidney Snoeck
PAGTALTAL SA GUIMARAS
March – April 18 (Good Friday) / Jordan, Guimaras
An annual re-enactment of the story of salvation, comparable to Germany’s religious Oberrammergau Drama.
Join the Pagtaltal sa Guimaras and witness the devotion of Guimarasnons through a street play presentation of the life of Christ. The Pagtaltal is a major event in Guimaras that continually attracts local and foreign tourists because of the passionate portrayal of Christ’s tribulations.
CUTUD LENTEN RITES
March – April (Good Friday ) / San Fernando City, Pampanga
The San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites is a Holy Week re-enactment of Christ’s Passion and Death, which takes place in Barangay San Pedro Cutud, City of San Fernando, Pampanga in the Philippines.
This festival is famous all over the world because of the actual nailing of at least three penitents to a wooden cross atop the makeshift Calvary. Other penitents flagellate themselves using bamboo sticks tied to a rope.
Check also my post Crucifixions in San Fernando Pampanga.
PAMALANDONG HA PALO
March – April (Good Friday) / Palo, Leyte
A quaint Good Friday local custom is the gathering for the leaves of the mock forest where the three crosses stand by the people believing they will bring luck, cure illness and other attributes. This is followed by the procession that includes all the biblical characters.
PASKO SA KASAKIT (SEMANA SANTA SA BANTAYAN)
March – April (Holy Thursday/ Good Friday) / Bantayan, Cebu
A unique mixture of solemn religious rites and local celebration in Bantayan Island. The Holy Week Processions of Bantayan feature Tableaux that are similar to the Tournament of Roses Parade. They are unique because of the carnival like decoration on the floats used by the images and tableaux.
March – April (Holy Week) / Marinduque
Morion means “mask” or “visor,” a part of the medieval Roman armor, which covers the face. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus. Morions roam the streets in town from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday scaring the kids, or engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Saint Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye. The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-colored tunics. The towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage.
SEMANA SANTA AT IGUIG CALVARY HILLS
March – April (Holy Week) / Iguig, Cagayan
Traditional presentation of the passion and death of Christ on an 11-hectare rolling terrain of the larger-than-life size 14 Stations of the Cross.
March – April (Holy Week) / Camiguin
Panaad in Camiguin can be likened to “Panata” events throughout the country. The Camiguin version, however, takes the Holy Week to a personal level. Panaad is a pilgrimage, by foot, around the island. The walk usually starts in Benoni, Mahinog and covers 64 km circumference of the island.
It has become a custom to set a personal goal, referred to as “saad,” prior to setting on the walk. Serious participants often have a future goal to drive them to continue on the pilgrimage. It usually includes passing the board exam, completing a project, changing for the better and even considering marriage. The idea of the journey is that if you can conquer the hardships of the 64 km walk, you can conquer any hardships that may come to succeed on your “saad.”
March – April (Holy Week) / Cebu City, Cebu
During this festival in Cebu, several key events of the life of Jesus Christ are re-enacted, including the Triumphant Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, acted out with an entry at the San Nicolas Church patio. Several street dramas take place portraying Jesus Christ’s passion from his arrest until his resurrection.
PANA-AD SA LOBOC
March – April (Holy Week) / Loboc, Bohol
In observance of the Holy Week, the Lobocanons read the “Pasyon” and do a penitential procession through the way of the cross that culminates at the place called “Cruz Daku”, a huge cross 80 feet in height which is on top of the higest hill where one can view the neighboring towns including the city.
Pana-ad sa Loboc has been an annual practice among the natives of the locality. Swarms of local and foreign tourists join the Lobocanos in observing it each summer, sometimes in the month of March sometimes in April—depending on the Vatican’s announcement of the Lenten Season. Pana-ad sa Loboc is the most intense observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Bohol.
Other pages with festivals are:
☆ Chinese New Year ☆
☆ March ☆ April ☆
☆ Holy Week and Easter ☆
☆ May ☆ June ☆ July ☆
☆ August ☆ September ☆
☆ October ☆ November ☆ December ☆
☆ Christmas and New Year ☆