Holy Week has always been a big deal for me growing up. Every year, it signaled the start of vacation. It was when tons of relatives would make the trip home from wherever they are and spend a week or two here. My cousins, both first and second degree ones, would be here and we’d spend the entire day playing around the house or be at the beach. At the end of vacation, we’d be all brown and complaining of sunburn, but we all truly didn’t care anyway.
This year, not a lot of relatives came over. I guess real life kept them all busy, and they all had other places to go. It would be nice to get everyone together, see how they’ve changed and meet the new additions to the family.
Summer, specifically Holy Week, is also the time for family reunions. We’ve hosted quite a few in the past, before it was here at home, then later it was at Lolo Vering’s beach. Lola Lilay used to be the keeper of the registry and family tree, and she knew a lot about her ancestors, who married who and so on. This year, Otki and I manned the registration booth. It was interesting to see relatives arrive, people who I never met. It’s also funny when someone you know arrives and when you see them you’d go “Pinsan pala kita!”
I woke up around 3:30 AM to wait for the procession that’ll be passing by our house for the Salubong. It is a pre-dawn re-enactment of Jesus and his mother Mary’s meeting after he was resurrected from the dead. Two groups of people would leave the Church: one for Jesus, one for Mary, and they’d go around the town then head to the plaza, where an angel would descend from heaven (in this case, a high platform) and take the veil of mourning off Mary.
My grandma used to participate in this, and I thought it would be nice to do it again. So I woke up early and waited. Turns out I woke up too early (about an hour ahead of their schedule). Later, as I was drifting off to sleep again, I heard some music playing. I ran outside and waited.
What I remember from my childhood is that the musicians usually come a few minutes before the Mary group, which is the ones the females join. The males join Jesus. However, for some reason the band is with Jesus, which is the one I ended up joining because the Mary group went the other direction and didn’t pass by in front of our house.
It was nice walking around town at 4:30 in the morning. It was cold, and quiet (if you don’t count the noise we made). Many people were also awake, and had candles in their homes as a vigil for Jesus. It was probably the same for the Mary route.
We met at the town plaza, where the priest and the “angels” (little girls in white dresses) were waiting. Once the statues were in place, the “angel” comes down and lifts the veil. Then we sing “Hallelujah” and go to the church for the mass.
It’s very nice to see people still doing this tradition. I’m glad I got to take a few pictures of it.
P.S. Eating nothing but fish and veggies for a week is good in not making me feel bloated.