Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Good Friday Procession in San Pablo City, Laguna

The Good Friday procession in San Pablo City, Laguna is on
e of the key events during the Holy Week, the other being the Salubong on Easter Sunday (which I was not able to document unfortunately). Major thoroughfares were close particularly in the city proper area. And the San Pableños seemed to be in a festive mood despite that it was Biyernes Santo – they covered the streets, put benches in the street centers while the children run to and fro.

The imposing features of the statues in carosas still provoke fear and aw
e amongst the spectators. The glaring eyes of the Romans, the pitiful state of Christ’s body, the sorrowful face of her mother Mary, all seem to still exude mystery. For the grownups like me, it was like revisiting childhood memories again. I can still remember that great white horse manned by a Roman soldier as Christ toiled to carry his cross when I was still a kid. For the young ones, fright and curiosity obviously bloomed from their young minds and hearts.

There were still the usual features of the procession – the permeating scent of incense, the incessant tolling of hand-carried chimes or bells, the monotonous chants, the ubiquitous bands. Taken as a whole it is a testament to the resilience of the Filipino spirit to hold on to long-standing traditions (whether they have rational basis or not is another matter). Thus it is no great surprise that people flock to the city to witness this annual
activity. I was fortunate this time to document at least most of the carosas (after a gruelling wait to fetch the camera I used). And in seeing those photos again, an idea popped inside my mind: to document more formally the origins of this tradition and the ways in which this tradition is being prepared for by the devotees. It may seem a very daunting personal task, but I hope I’d be able to accomplish it this year.

One irksome, if not mildly disgusting observation was the pseudo-participation of some individuals in the procession. I would concede to the fact that children were involved; their parent or guardians may have all been participants too. But to see lovers obviously taking the chance to spend time with each other amidst the praying groups of people; or groups of what looked more to me like gangs who only hunt for aesthetic sceneries to look at is definitely instances worthy of disgust. I am not generalizing those who participated, but in these instances we see illustrations of religious activities being performed devoid of deeper understanding and conviction. I am in any way defending the Roman Catholic faith (I am generally a religion critic); but they would do good to orient those would-be participants on the point of those activities associated with their religion.

* Summer is passing now with its mighty heat but it is still exciting to know that there are still religion- and season-related activities to anticipate. Cheers to free times!

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