The Philippines is a highly Christian country, with majority of the population being devout Roman Catholics. The celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ during the season of Lent is a significant tradition that Filipinos diligently observe.
This year, Holy Week takes place on the last week of March, starting from Palm Sunday on March 24 up to Easter Sunday on March 31, 2013.
In Cebu, a number of activities are scheduled. Parishes held a “Bendita sa Lukay” and San Nicolas Church commemorated the Triumphant Entry of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday. The “Buhing Kalbaryo,” which is an annual street play portraying the Stations of the Cross will be held on Good Friday. The Passion drama route will start from the San Nicolas Church and end at the Guadalupe Parish Church.
The “Pabasa” is conducted after Palm Sunday and should end by noontime of Good Friday. The traditional chanting of the verses detailing the passion of Christ can last as long as two days. A Mass commemorating Jesus Christ’s last supper with his disciples is celebrated on the afternoon of Maundy Thursday. The mass will also involve a re-enactment of the washing of the feet.
Also performed during the Holy Week is the “Visita Iglesia,” wherein devout Catholics remember the Stations of the Cross by visiting several churches or a single church and praying accordingly.
Easter Sunday is usually observed with a “Sugat” followed by an Easter Mass. The town of Minglanilla has become famous for their “Sugat Kabanhawan” Festival, which they hold annually during Easter Sunday. “The Sugat Capital of the South” re-enacts the warm encounter of the resurrected Jesus Christ with his mother, Mary. Different processions featuring the statue of the Risen Christ and the veiled image of the Via Dolorosa will converge at Minglanilla Central School, where a stage has been set up and children dressed up as angels sing the Easter hymn entitled “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.”
The island of Bantayan, which is a favorite tourist destination, is also a popular choice for local and foreign tourists who wish to witness the “Semana Santa” tradition. In Bantayan, they celebrate the “Pasko Sa Kasakit” featuring a unique mixture of activities, ranging from religious rites with life-sized statues in procession to vibrant fiesta celebrations.
Most parishes in Cebu City and in the towns and municipalities all over the province of Cebu would have their own set of activities scheduled for the Holy Week. For those who wish to celebrate the Lenten Season at the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel in Cebu City, below is the schedule of masses and events:
|Palm Sunday (March 24, 2013)|
|Holy Thursday (March 28, 2013)|
*Chapel is open until 12 midnight
|Good Friday (March 29, 2013)|
|Black Saturday (March 30, 2013)|
|Easter Sunday (March 31, 2013)|