For the people of Balayan, Batangas, Semana Santa is highlighted by multiple procession of saints and various images of Jesus Christ to imitate what happened to Him during His last days. There are three processions: one each in Holy Wednesday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
|Before the start of the Good Friday procession|
|The Agony in the Garden|
|The Carrying of the Cross|
|St. Mary Magdalene|
*The order of the photos are also the order of the procession. Usually St. Peter goes first. (These are actually pictures from 2011)
The Good Friday procession is about the death of Jesus Christ. The highlight of the procession is the Santo Entierro which depicts Jesus after His death on the cross. This is because traditionally, Good Friday marks the death of Jesus Christ. Here are some photos.
|St. Mary Magdalene|
*Notice how each changed outfits from Holy Wednesday's for the death of Jesus Christ
The last procession is the Easter Sunday procession which is highlighted by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is actually the most choreographed of all the three processions. The witnesses of the resurrection proceed to the west side of Balayan while the resurrected Jesus Christ heads east. The two processions then meet back at the church where it ends with the lifting of the veil from Mary, the Mother of God, by two angels after seeing the resurrected Jesus Christ. A show is put on by two girls dressed as angels sitting on a platform attached to the gates of the church above Mary. The angels start singing Aleluya (O Reyna ng Langit), and at the end of the song, the veil is lifted up signifying her rejoice in seeing her son Jesus resurrected. Photos include the following:
|St. Mary Magdalene|
|Mary, the Mother of God (with the veil)|
|Mary, the Mother of God (without the veil)|
*I always fail to get a close up of the Virgin Mary because the veil is only taken off after the ceremony when she is at the gate facing Jesus (on the other side)
Our family has been involved with the preparations of St. Mary Magdalene for the procession since the time of our grandfather. The image is actually owned by the Lopez Family of Balayan. They are one of the most prestigious families in Balayan whose roots date back on the Spanish era with Don Sixto Lopez, an old affiliate of our national hero Jose Rizal. Our grandfather had worked with them before and now my mother is working with them. Ever since I can remember, we would go to the old Lopez ancenstral house where we will dress up the saint and decorate the carossa. St. Mary Magdalene is actually one of only two saints who are present in all three processions. Therefore, our family would be practically busy with all the preparations all Holy Week long.
|The National Historical Institute Marker in Casa Grande|
|My brother and sister after the Holy Wednesday procession|
|After the Good Friday procession at Casa Grande|
*Casa Grande is the ancestral house of the Lopez Family in Balayan.
|Señor Nazareno at its shrine|
*This is actually the same image used in the Holy Wednesday procession
The celebration of Semana Santa is central to the Catholic religion. Personally, as a Filipino and a Batangueño, it goes beyond religion. It is actually part of tradition, even family tradition. I didn't look at it this way before, even more so in recent times. I looked at it as work, and particularly this year, I wanted to rest. I actually didn't even watch the Wednesday procession. But mom asked me to join the procession on Friday so I had no choice. She told me to join so I wouldn't dissappoint our grandfather. It was kind of a wake up call for me. I realize I've been doing this all my life and even goes back before me to the time of my grandfather. It is something bigger than myself. I must admit I was depressed and I let it take over. It was very selfish and I apologize.
So now I want to pay back by writing this post so people would know about this beautiful tradition. I actually also realized my relatives abroad always look forward for pictures of Semana Santa in which they were also a part of before they migrated there. So I dedicate this post to my family. Everyone will always be remembered during this time as we all celebrate the passion, death, and ressurection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
|With my brother, sister, and 2 cousins (Holy Week, 1998)|