Tue, April 6, 2004  2:59 am

20040406035957552_1.jpg Holy Week or Semana Santa starts on Palm Sunday – Bendita sa Lukay. People from all over town would come to church bringing all sorts of palms leaves.

20040406035957552_2.jpgThe mass on Palm Sunday was rather too long because of the reading of the Passion. This was followed by a blessing of palms and procession around the church. A few would faint.

Poblacion residents rarely carried a palm to church, they simply asked from the barrio folks who come to church loaded with lukay.

Religious processions were perhaps the most awaited event during the holy week celebration. The first around-town procession was on Miercoles Santo.

Nearly twenty carrosas would be in the Miercoles Santo Procession – called the Paso.

Most of the carrosas were owned and decorated by town folks – like Berting Enriquez’s who had the Maria Magdalena; Isay Tabla family owned the carrosa with Jesus carrying the cross and beaten by the Judiyos.

That was the one I like most. The Judiyos looked so mean and real.

Manok ni San Pedro

There was another carrosa owned by Berto Gonzales that carried the San Pedro with a sunoy (rooster). San Pedro was the procession’s Grand Marshall, first to come out and served as the lead carrosa.

Following the San Pedro were few of the town’s sabungeros apparently praying for better luck in the coming sabong.

Kids preferred to be in the first carrosa because when it arrived back at the church yard, the last carrosa had not moved yet. Then they could watch the rest of the procession at the side of the street or be gone home.

Little boys and girls were fascinated by the well lighted carrosa of the Maria Dolorosa bedecked with expensive flowers and the band music by the town’s musikero.

For older boys, it was more fascinating to watch the town’s beautiful ladies dressed in their best during procession, as if in competition for the title of best dressed or Danao’s prettiest

Guys would be closely watching in great admiration at these popular town beauties as they graciously walked like fashion models at the procession.

Most popular among procession watchers were the cousins Agnes and Baby Almendras, Rosalinda Tecala, the Osmena twin, Flora and Susing Gomez, the Canga sisters.

Then years later the favorites were Susan Mandolado, Eli, Flora, Marilyn Duterte, Myrna Gorre, Dolores Canga, Leni Castro, Melinda Derecho, etc.

Watching these ladies were more delightful than looking at the carrosa carrying the Maria Dolorosa or the Maria Magdalena, more fascinating than the Santa Veronica holding a cloth impinted with the image Christ.

New Dress for Processions

Most girls in town would always want a new dress to show off at the procession. There was no other occasion they could look pretty and be seen by many.

Thus, we often hear our sisters saying ‘dili ko mokuyog sa prosisyon, kay wa koy bag-o’. Or they would cry non-stop until they get assured they would have a new dress for the holy week.

Mothers would find ways to get money to buy a dress for their daughters so that they could comply with their religious obligations.

Jueves Santo

Jueves Santo was no meat day like the Viernes Santo. It was time to go to Looc for a fresh kinilaw.

This was supposed to be a very holy day. Yet during Jueves santo a lot of people went to the beach for a picnic. Kinilaw, camote, tuba would be plentiful. Despite being little bit tipsy, still we managed to go church in the afternoon.

At the Jueves santo service, the 12 Apostoles made their first appearance for the washing of the feet.

Then there was the procession inside the church of the ‘Santissimo’ or the Holy Eucharist.

Instead of a bell, there was the clack-clack sound of a wood clapper following the Santissimo.

As the priest in Canopy passed, we knelt, bowed our head in great reverence.
After the service came the vigil of the Blessed Sacrament or the visita iglesia lasting until midnight.

Viernes Santo is Benignit Day

If ‘biko’ was for Christmas, it was ‘benignit’ for Viernes Santo. It could also be Mongos day for some.

Viernes Santo was not only a no-meat day, it was also a ‘puasa’ or day of fasting. Yet in most homes there would be a huge pot of mongos linubihan for lunch, then another big pot of benignit made out of camote, banana, landang with coconut milk for snacks.

So instead of fasting on Good Friday we would be overeating mongos and benignit only to complain later of a stomach ache.

Siete Palabra

Church service in Viernes Santo started at noon time. Some people preferred to stay home, tuned-in to DYRC listening to a live broadcast from Cebu Cathedral’s siete palabras or seven last words.

Others would go to the Chruch yard, standing under the blistering heat to hear the town’s great orators speak at the siete palabra, such as Inting Camoro, Jesus Navarro, Pio Roble, Pastor Lawas, etc.

The siete palabra culminated with the reenactment of the piercing of the cruficied Christ with a ‘bankaw’ performed by Tatong Depositario, the town’s meanest looking character dressed as a Roman Centurion.

As the last speaker in a shivering voice announced Christ’ final breath, someone at the back of the crucifix would pull a rope tied to crucified Christ’s head making it bow three times.

At this moment some old women from the barrios would scream and cry in great pity of the dying Christ.
Then they would rush in tears, towards the big crucifix, wiped the feet with a dirty handkerchief, tore leaves or flowers, to take home to be used later as medicine for whatever ailment.

Friday at 6:00 p.m. was another big procession of the “Santo Entierro” (Holy Sepulchere) and the Maria Dolorosa.

The ladies among the town’s social elite would make sure their dress would not be the same as in the Wednesday procession. They would worry that people watching would remember the dress they wore in a previous procession.

At the Viernes Santo procession I would follow the “Santo Entierro” closer to the priest and the singers.

I was known to sing ‘yabag’ but I loved to sing along with perennial Viernes Santo singers – Periang Mata, Kikay Manulat, Citas Villareal, Elsa Mansueto, Beyay and Castor Dagatan.

Accompanying the singers were Pepe Banzon, Jaime Alvez and Cesar Arsenal with their accordions.

There was another procession around town at 10:00 p.m. on Good Friday. At this late evening procession the singers and the accordion would be following the carrosa of the Maria Dolorosa.

Sabado Santo – Sugat

Jesus has not risen yet on Saturday evening, but merry-making started early in Danao to celebrate the resurrection. This was the Sugat. La Esquina at Tupas and Bonifacio Sts. was center of entertainment this Saturday evening.

Two carrosas – one of Mother Mary and the other that of the risen Jesus would be on an early morning procession. These carrosas went on opposite directions which would later meet at exactly the same time at the La Esquina. Thus, the term ‘Sugat’.

Upon arrival, a girl dressed as an angel, tied with a rope would be raised above the stage and over the carrosas singing ‘Regina Coeli Laetare’.

People in Danao loved to see this spectacle taking place at 4:00 a.m. The ‘anghel nga bitayon’ was a very coveted role among young girls.

While waiting for the sugat, there were balitaw and curracha competition to enterain the people.

Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday the 12 Apostoles after a big breakfast in the convento would be sent all over town going house to house to make the annual easter collection.

Going to the beach on Easter Sunday was a good excuse to be away from home when the Apostoles was certain to come knocking the door for church donations.


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