Filipinos tradition of Holy Week in the Philippines

Quiapo Church, officially known as Minor Basil...
An article by the Department of Tourism
Lent in the Philippines is usually observed through weekly fastings and abstinence, penitence as well as the traditional passion plays or senakulo, panata, via crucis, visita iglesia, and the pabasa in most barangays or villages in every town and city. At its culmination, there are unusual and diverse events which Filipinos prepare among themselves for their communities and their visitors that make Semana Santa or Holy Week piously meaningful and truly memorable.
“In spite of its solemnity, Lent and its peak of Holy Week are special occasions for Filipinos to pray, bond with loved ones and visitors as well as relax from the daily grind. The week-long religious observance is also a time to meld with our diverse cultural heritage by participating in different Lenten activities in our hometowns and then escaping to our summer getaways,” says Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.
The miraculous image of Jesus the Black Nazarene at the Basilica Minore in Quiapo, Manila leads the Philippine Christendom during Holy Week as it will be brought out of its shrine for a procession in the district on Good Friday. This is one of only two times in a year—the other event is during its January 9 feast day—when the life-size mahogany-colored image is taken out of the church for a grand but solemn procession participated in by hundreds of thousands of devotees. The more than four-centuries-old image of Jesus Christ depicted under the weight of the Holy Cross was brought to Manila on board a galleon from Acapulco, Mexico.
While the observance of Lent is nationwide, the commemoration of the passion and death of Christ, popularly known as the Senakulo, is specially staged at the plaza in Malibay, Pasay City and in Barangay San Dionisio in ParaƱaque City in Metro Manila.
The provinces in the Southern Tagalog region have many traditional events during Holy Week. Unique lenten commemoration in towns and cities can be experienced during the Penetensiyahan in Rosario and Pabasa ng Pasyon in San Juan both towns in Batangas; the Cenaculo in Cainta, the Giwang-Giwang and the Salubong in the “Artists’ Village” town of Angono all in Rizal province.
The Turumba Festival in the town of Pakil in Laguna has the largest religious activities, which begin on the Friday before Palm Sunday and every nine days thereafter. Then, the feast proceeds to the nine days in May and June until it ends on Pentecost Sunday in September amidst local pageantry. These seven fiestas, or lupi, venerate the seven sorrows of Our Lady of Turumba through native music during a sober dancing procession among the townsfolk.
The island-province of Marinduque’s colorful Moriones festival is depicted by players masked as soldiers and garbed in biblical Roman costumes performing around the picturesque towns of Boac, Gasan, and Mogpog. It culminates with the beheading of Longinus, the centurion who pierced the side of the crucified Jesus. The street festival converts these towns as virtual stages with the story of Longinus unfolding before the local people and visitors.
On Maunday Thursday and Good Friday, a group of men in Tanay and Taytay in Rizal province gather, feast, and meditate overnight around the parish church to await the statue of Santo Entierro (wooden image of the dead Christ) for the Subok Festival. Different objects like handkerchiefs, bronze medals, and small pieces of paper inscribed with Latin phrases are inserted into the robe, under the feet, and in the hands of the dead Christ. During the procession of the Santo Entierro, these men link hands and encircle the blessed image. The objects are then retrieved after the procession and considered as talisman, which the men test among themselves for effectiveness using different deadly weapons.
Pampanga is world famous for the religious flagellants who whip their bare backs as a sign of penitence for their sins while parading the streets of the City of San Fernando.  There are live reenactments of the crucifixion in Barangays San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando and Lourdes Northwest in Angeles City. In the towns of Betis, Guagua, Bacolor, Sasmuan, and Macalacat in Pampanga; Baliuag and Paombong in Bulacan; and Castillejos in Zambales, several lavishly decorated floats are part of the Prusisyon carrying the images of Mater Dolorosa (Our Lady of Sorrows) and other religious characters depicting Christ’s suffering and preceded by local singers and musicians. The pilgrims join the Penetencia at Ermita Hill in Casiguran and Baler in Aurora.  Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte has the Katkat Sakripisyo.
Not every town and city is solemn during Holy Week, however. Suroy sa Surigao turns this city and the towns in the Caraga region into sightseeing and water-sports destinations. Digos City in Davao del Sur mobilizes employees of different government offices in the orientation of trekkers and mountaineers to the country’s highest peak, Mt. Apo. Through their ethnic culture, indigenous people in Magpet, Cotabato celebrate the Pak’kaat Kal’lo  as  well as  in Mt. Province and Ifugao with their Tungoh ad Hunduan, Changyasan and Gotad ad Hingyon Festivals for their bountiful harvest.