Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Regions, provinces even towns have varying traditions played during the Lenten Season. Bacoor is only an hour's away (that's without traffic), from Taytay but their Holy Week customs differ. Let me just do some clarifications. The province of Cavite used to be a seat of the Aglipayan Church.

There were more Aglipays than Catholics in the town of Bacoor. The Aglipayan congregation were the cream of the crop in Bacoor. For some reason ( that I know nothing of), the Aglipay church in Bacoor separated into two. Those who were disillusioned transfered to the Catholic church. Now, every time a Catholic event calls for a procession, there are three individual churches involved: Aglipay 1, Aglipay 2 and the Roman Catholic.

I have observed that anywhere in the Philippines, Palm Sunday is celebrated with the procurement of a palaspas, have it blessed then displayed on the walls of houses. Altas, are not evident here but the singing of the Pasyon is in. The pasyon singers are invisible. They are sequestered inside houses. One can just hear the pentatonic whining much like the cantoras and cantors in Taytay because high-tech speakers are directed on unsuspecting neighbors (me!)

The Station of the Cross or Via Dolorosa is very much observed in Cavite. Households are assigned by the parish to put up respective altars depicting the 14 stations. The house to house Stations of the Cross usually starts a week before Lent. The finale would be on Maundy Thursday where the Station of the Cross will be brought on a higher level.... church hopping. I remember my sisters-in-law starting out real early in the morning of Maundy Thursday so they can reach churches as far away as Tagaytay.

There was one Maundy Thursday when I and my girls tagged along. We started late at 8 pm so we were not able to finish all the 14 stations but managed to grab a midnight snack at the Aristocrat. There were tons of people everywhere. My sister-in-law said the 14 th station is always the home church.

There are no senakulos or flagellants in Cavite. The only event on Good Friday are the funeral processions of the three churches; However, Easter Sunday is a totally different genre.

Months, sometimes, years before a particular Easter Sunday or what is commonly in Cavite as Salubong, a set of 3 sagalas , with at least 4 flower girls, each are chosen for the early morning procession. By early, I mean 4:30 am. Salubong is a big event in Bacoor. The three sagalas are known respectively as sargenta (sargeant), tenyenta (lieutenant) and kapitana (captain). My niece-in-law was chosen as a sagala. She started out as a dama, then on to the three ranks.

Being the Kapitana in the Salubong is every Catholic and Aglipay 1 and 2 mothers' and daughters' dream. Gowns are done by designers of caliber. The whole town literally watches this event. The four resident brass bands of Bacoor are at its finest wearing new uniforms but basically still sounding blah! Not a car can pass the main road while the procession is ongoing. The heck with emergencies and ambulances. After the procession, talks on who has the most fantastic or disastrous gown or who is the loveliest or ugliest kapitana or who they think has the cheapest ot most expensive gows and so on.

We Filipinos are so bounded by traditions that sometimes we lose the essence or forget the meaning of Holy Week.

The Lenten Season is, for me, not a time for penance or any outward and loud manifestation of faith. I believe it is a time to ponder on the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Posted by desperateblogger On 3/18/2008 02:54:00 PM 2 comments


  1. One of the things that I miss about living near family is all the holiday traditions. We don't have any kids yet, and sometimes holidays go past un-noticed rather than celebrated. It takes a real effort to honor these holy days.

  2. I've begun to leave all Catholic traditions and practices behind now. The more I try to remember them, the more i'm able to roll my eyes upward at these rituals. I just don't get it anymore. Heck, I even wanted to have a civil marriage instead hehe. I am, of course, a fervent believer of Jesus Christ, and believe in Him with all my heart, i think thats what matters. Hopefully boy and nitz will not read this or else im screwed!

    Yes, you and only you know this, ninang. I havent shared this to your daughter yet :D


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