It is that time of the year once again as the Holy Week is being commemorated by Christians around the world, especially among the Christian faithful in the Philippines, to remember the events in the life of Jesus Christ from his triumphant entry to Jerusalem, celebrating the Last Supper, leading to his passion, death, and resurrection.
While the celebration of Holy Week came from the influence of Spanish Catholicism that was introduced in the country in the 16th century, it has certainly evolved over time as Filipinos, especially the Catholicized ones, not only embraced this celebration but also added their own flavor into it, so to speak. These traditions still remain strong today even in a place as urbanized as Manila, from the pabasas you hear being blared via loudspeakers to the men who cover themselves while beating or whipping themselves.
For many urban denizens, this is also a perfect time to escape the urban jungle for a few days’ worth of a deserved vacation. Many businesses and offices are also closed during these days as well, save for a few like those in the emergency and security services, not to mention those in the outsourcing industry. (which is a good thing in a way since there’s double pay involved)
Even for those who are staying put in the city, the Holy Week is still a yearly moment to savor. More than ever, this is the perfect time to explore the city like never before. With no hassles of crowds and heavy traffic, this is the time to appreciate the sights and sounds of the city in its natural beauty and splendor. Take the time to travel to place you rarely or haven’t visited and savor every detail you can see. Or check out a familiar neighborhood and see it in a different light as you get to appreciate it more. Tour guide and performance artist Carlos Celdran sums it up quite well in this interview:
If you’re a Catholic, you can do a Visita Iglesia and visit the city’s beautiful churches. I do not have to add more to what many have already written as to what churches to visit; do take time though to check out the details of each church and see for yourself what makes them stunning. (My friend wrote about some of the churches you can check out here via Rappler)
In addition, there is also the Walkway at Bonifacio High Street at Bonifacio Global City where you can see the Stations of the Cross done in a different way. The Urban Roamer has written about it years back which you can read up here.
Whatever it is you have planned to do this Holy Week, may this occasion serve as an opportunity to do and have something meaningful in our lives.