2 April 2010
N14 86.396 E120 79.011 – Kapitangan
N14 57.380 E120 53.943 – Baliwag
The Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country with a minority of Muslims living in southern Mindanao. The Catholic faith is strong and thriving and Folk Catholicism finds its major outlet during Lent, where traditional Philippine style rituals can be observed in different towns and provinces throughout the country.
In 1997, I produced a video documentary called Kuwaresma, Philippine Lenten Rituals – again for Lory Tan, then head of Bookmark Publishing, now Vice Chairman of WWF Philippines. Kuwaresma or the forty days of Lent culminates during Holy Week, and Good Friday is the highlight of all Lenten celebrations – the day Christ was crucified on the cross.
We have documented the underwater world of the Coral Triangle pretty well during this epic journey. But we are deeply aware that the cultural and religious diversity of the people living on land within this eco-region is a subject we needed to portray equally well. All throughout our expedition, we were almost always in the right place at the right time and Holy Week was the time to be in the Philippines! Culling from our past experiences of this Lenten Season, we revisited prime spots to photograph extraordinary rituals that are unique to the Philippines. Our first stop was Kapitangan, Paombong in Bulacan where three individuals were crucified at noon onwards of Good Friday.
Then towards the late afternoon, we went to a more festive scene of a grand religious procession in Baliwag Bulacan where 86 massive carossas or carriages carrying life size dioramas depicting a scene in the life of Jesus were paraded all over town after sunset. It was monumental!
We could not have done this journey without the wonderful help of my dear friends Joonee Gamboa and Joeprey Mariano. Joonee is a well-known actor in Philippine theater, movies and television. And wherever we went, he was very subtly mobbed. Even in the dark Joonee was recognized!
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