From Quiapo to Guimaras: The Processions You Can Join During Lent
As a country whose population is covered mostly by Catholics, we are accustomed to following traditions during the Lenten Season. One of the most popular is the Visita Iglesia – a visitation to seven churches as a representation of the seven holy stops Jesus made during his fateful journey to his crucifixion. This tradition is observed right after the mass of the Last Supper during Maundy Thursday.Aside from the Visita Iglesia, Catholics of all ages take to the streets to offer prayers through religious processions in different parts of the country. Commonly characterized by elaborate carrozas carrying Catholic statues in resplendent garb, this tradition can be both grand and solemn. If you want to catch one this Holy Week, whether as spectator or participant, we listed down a few popular ones.
Black Nazarene Procession in Quiapo
The Traslacion every January 9 is not the only time the Black Nazarene leaves the halls of the famous Basilica. Early in the morning of Good Friday, Hijos del Nazareno usher thousands of devotees across the streets of Quiapo.
This procession takes place as a way of commemorating Christ’s journey to Calvary. Just like the one during its feast day, people throw white towels to the image of Christ and fervently pray for their wishes to be heard.
Trivia: The Black Nazarene must be back inside the church before 3 in the afternoon – just before Jesus died on the cross.
Santo Entierro Soledad Procession in Bacolor, Pampanga
A sea of mourners called Pasos clad in black dresses, with black veils over their faces, flock to the town of Bacolor, Pampanga for the magnificent Santo Entierro Soledad procession. Pasos are followed by a display of imageries from the Stations of the Cross. They are carried around by grand carrozas adorned with flowers and bright lights.
The town folk join this solemn parade of religious images accompanied with a sing-song of prayers to commemorate the mourning of the Blessed Mother as she buried her Son.
Trivia: As a sign of respect, no one is allowed to exit the church until the Santo Entierro (dead Christ).
Procession of Saints in Baliuag, Bulacan
Like a fête, this procession in Baliuag is, in all manner of speaking, grand and glorious. Over a hundred carriages line up the streets on Good Friday with life-sized images of those who were present during the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The statues paraded in this occasion are bejeweled in shiny ornaments and covered in silk robes—a stark contrast to the blood-drenched images we usually see during Holy week. The majestic images range from the depictions of suffering and sacrifice of Jesus to His redemption and resurrection.
Moriones Festival Procession in Marinduque
Located in the heart of the Philippines, this quaint island of Marinduque is known for their Moriones Festival. This Holy Week tradition is a re-enactment of the centurions’ search for Longinus – the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Christ’s body while he was on the cross. He was believed to be blind on one side but regained eyesight when a hint of Christ’s blood dropped into his vision-less eye. This event turned him into a devout Christian making his fellow soldiers furious.
These “Morions” crowd the barrios and barangays of Marinduque from Holy Monday until Easter Sunday which is when they finally get hold of Longinus and reenact his beheading.
Trivia: Awards are given at the end of the festivity for the most beautifully-made masks during the week.
Procession of Escudero Family’s religious collection in San Pablo, Laguna
Villa Escudero, a tourist haven in Tiaong, Quezon, is also home to a vast collection of antique figures of religious characters. The assemblage was first acquired by Don Placido Escudero and his wife, Doña Claudia Marasigan, and was passed on to their heirs.
As of today, the family carries on the tradition of joining the annual Lenten procession of their neighboring town, San Pablo, Laguna with an array of wood and ivory-made pieces atop impressive carrozas.
Ang Pagtataltal sa Jordan in Guimaras
This long-running tradition on the southern tip of Cebu is not just a typical procession but a re-enactment of Jesus’s sufferings on his way to Calvary. Devotees and tourists alike walk a distance of around two kilometers to reach the Bala-an Bukid or the Holy Mountain for the ‘crucifixion.’
It ends at the “pagtataltal”, the removal of Jesus’s body from the cross—afterwhich he will lay lifeless in the arms of His mother, Mary.
Lead photo by Denvie Balidoy on Wikimedia Commons