Tag Archives: holy week

Hello, Summer

As a kid, Holy Week is the part of my summer that I look forward to the most. While every year I spent summer in my grandparents’ home in Candelaria, Zambales, Holy Week is especially fun because it’s when my cousins (of varying degrees) would come from all over. We’d have a few days of going to the beach, eating like there’s no tomorrow and playing in the fields all day long. It’s never boring in the province.

However, Good Friday is always the pits. Our grandparents would put a stop to everything fun. No going to the beach (or at least, no swimming). No playing in the fields. We’d ask why and we were told it’s because Jesus died and we should mourn. The more outspoken cousins would say “Eh bakit pa kasi namatay?” while the meeker ones would just follow what Lolo and Lola said.

It’s doubly bad when my birthday falls on Good Friday. My cousins would get their thrills by teasing me about my “bad” birthday. Being “pikon”, I’d easily get mad. However, my parents and grandparents would try to make up for it the next day. One of my titos, who also has the same birthday would join me in my misery.

Holy Week also counts as a reunion week. We usually have two major reunions: One for the Ebalo family, and one for the De La Llana family. Countless reunions were held here at home, with our branch of the family would be the host. My sister and I are usually delegated to man the registration table. Sad to say, I don’t recognize the people I meet, but it’s a pretty good way to get to know them for a bit.

Holy Week in the city
Since my summer is spent in the province, I grew up thinking that the traditions we’d do here were only for the province. It wasn’t until I started spending time in Manila during the Holy Week did I realize that it was also present. I’d see snatches of it in Manila, in Pasig, in Quezon City.

Wednesday night I got to see how Santolan celebrates. A long procession of statues of saints stopped traffic for a good hour or so. There were about thirty four or thirty five of them, each pulled by their respective devotees. The last of which was the local chapter of the Black Nazarene. The statue is carried by the male devotees, all of who were barefoot.
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I am actually quite scared of these statues.

Going home
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As expected the bus station was crowded. Thankfully, even though we had to wait a bit before we could get our tickets, it was organized. The trip took a while though, due to the traffic along NLEX. I slept most of the trip, waking up only to eat.

This cute baby entertained us during the whole trip. He was a smiling, good-natured little boy.
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And my self-imposed Internet exile is a bust, because I needed to be online to work.

Random stuff
Good Friday procession here at home.
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Tomatoes that my Lolo planted.
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My carrot and banana cakes.
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Tomorrow, reunion.

Semana Santa

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!”

Easter Sunday
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.