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Observing Holy Week traditions in Metro Manila

Filipino Christians commemorated the Passion of Jesus Christ during the past Holy Week.

Christians in Metro Manila usually spend the week by watching or participating in the following  activities: Penitencia Holy Week is all about commemorating, revisiting, reenacting, and even imitating the acts and events leading up to Jesus Christ’s death. Penitencia, or penitence, is one of the Christian traditions fulfilling this through sharing the sorrow and pain that Jesus Christ has experienced.

Examples of religious penance include fasting, self-mortification, self-flogging, and flagellation. Penitencia in the form of self-flogging can be observed yearly in the city of Navotas.

The practice usually involves lashing their backs with a bulyos or a scourge. Once the skin has swelled up, they cut the skin with a blade, allowing blood to spread throughout their backs. Penitents are usually drunk to numb the pain.

There are also those who prefer to visit churches. Visita Iglesia is the tradition of visiting and praying in at least seven churches throughout Holy Week, preferably on Maundy Thursday. Similar to Simbang Gabi, people participate in this activity in hopes to get their wishes fulfilled after its completion. In the provinces, people walk barefoot and even carry a cross while going from one church to another. This is, of course, not advisable in Metro Manila. Most do it by car or bus. What matters is that it does not undermine the real intention of the trip.

Here are some of the churches you can visit:

● Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene

● Archdiocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament

● Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz

● Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

● Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora de la Consolacio y Correa

● Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora de Guia

● Basilica Menor de Sebastian

● Our Lady of Remedies Parish Senakulo

There are cities in Metro Manila that traditionally hold Senakulo, the story of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This tradition encourages people to reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus for the salvation of mankind. In the NCR, the City of Caloocan annually holds “Senakulo sa Daan,” starting from Barangay 97 and ending at the Caloocan City Hall complex.

The local government of Taguig City has put up a photo exhibit on the traditional Senakulo at the Lake Shore. The City of Mandaluyong will also stage a Sanakulo at Jun Torres Gym starting today (April 5) until Black Saturday (April 8). It will be broadcasted live on their Facebook page as well, on Dulaang Matiaga Cenakulista.

If you prefer watching from the comfort of your home, St. John Bosco Parish of Tondo, Manila, launched one  featuring the youth of their parish. (pia-ncr)

About the Author

Susan De Leon

Assistant Regional Head

National Capital Region

IO 3

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