Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lent in the Philippines - Moriones Festival in Marinduque

As a kid, I was constantly brought to Marinduque by my grandparents during lent. They were natives of that province and Lent was a special time for the marinduquenos. Until now, Holy Week is a time when the whole of Marinduque sees Roman soldier-attired masked men called the Morion who roam around the city practically the whole day. During the whole week of lent (called Semana Santa or literally translated as Holy Week), processions with the morions and cenaculos are held in practically every town. Cenaculos are stage plays about the life and passion of Christ. There's also the pabasa where people sing about the Passion of Christ.

The Moriones Festival is rather insteresting. It focuses on the life of the Roman soldier Longhinus who confesses that he had seen the risen Christ and announces the message of salvation to everyone. As a consequence, the Morions seek him and in the process captures the man. The highlight of this festival is the "pugutan" or the beheading of Longhinus which is held on Easter Sunday.

This is a really colorful and interesting festival. The sleepy town of Boac, Marinduque's capital, witnesses the influx of tourists which happens only this time of the year. The question is whether Boac is ready to accommodate such volume. The experiences we had before is that due to the volume of tourists, it becomes really hard to travel to Marinduque even when the ship companies increase the number of voyages. Boats even become overloaded sometimes during this time of year. The best way to travel is to go to Marinduque before holy Tuesday and leave before easter sunday or the tuesday or wednesday after easter.

No comments:

My Amazon Store