MORIONES FESTIVAL and HOLY WEEK
MARINDUQUE ISLAND, PHILIPPINES
Regarding the recent failed coup attempt, Peter in Manila said: "Things are quiet here this morning and pretty well back to normal. To get things into perspective there were 5,000 at a big political rally in Makati Friday afternoon then on Saturday, the next day, 17,000 went to an American wrestling show at the nearby Araneta Coliseum in Pasig. It's really been hard for the opposition lately…"
Festival April 9-15, 2006: Boac and Gasan, Marinduque Island
One of the most colorful festivals celebrated in the island of Marinduque is the Moriones Festival.
Morion means "mask" or "visor," a part of the medieval Roman armor which covers the face. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus.
This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye.Legend has it that Longinus pierced the side of the crucified Christ. The blood that spurted forth touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. This miracle converted Longinus to Christianity and earned the ire of his fellow centurions.
The re-enactment reaches its climax when Longinus is caught and beheaded.Colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-colored tunics characterize the festival. The towns of Boac and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage. A 2000-year-old story running amok in the streets, armies (well, sort of...) and crowds where you literally can't tell one guy from another... How can you turn a BLIND EYE?
Moriones, which translates to "helmets" in Spanish, is a play let enacted on the streets during the Christian Holy Week about the capture and beheading of Longino, a Roman centurion and Christian martyr. The Moriones festival has its roots in the time of Jesus Christ. The costumes are those of Roman soldiers or centurions, and though hundreds of people dress up in such a manner, there is one centurion in particular who is the key to the origins of this festival, Longino. He was the Roman soldier who was blind in one eye and thrust his spear into the crucified Christ's side. But when the blood of Christ touched his eyes, he regained his sight. After this miracle he began professing his faith in Jesus.
The Romans couldn't take this, and so they sent out soldiers to arrest him, for, after all, it was the Romans who allowed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This brave centurion was eventually arrested and beheaded for his "treason." The Philippines, however, knew nothing of this account until the coming of Christianity aboard Spanish galleons. This is presumably how the festival came to the Philippines.
Moreover, the eyes on the masks of participants are exaggerated (Longino's mask has even one closed eye), hinting at the specific miracle that sparked the Moriones festival, which is Longino's regaining of sight. From Holy Monday to Good Friday, male penitents of Marinduque, especially in the towns of Boac, Gasan, Mogpog, and Santa Cruz, wander around the streets wearing folk interpretations of the Roman soldier's costumes topped by moriones (helmets) which are attached to wooden masks painted with growling expressions in enamel. On Good Friday these "soldiers" participate in the kalbaryuhan, the dramatization of the Pasyong Genesis (Passion) in the hut of the pabasa (readings) and the streets of the towns.
FRI APR 07
AUS-SFO UA# 0657 07:25-09:16
SFO-NRT UA# 0837 11:28-14:15+1
gate-upgrade to Business, upper deck
nice shower at NRT RCC lounge
SAT APR 08
NRT-MNL JL# 0745 18:25-21:50
chaotic boarding, not Japanese at allTaxi to Townhouse Hotel
SUN APR 09
MON APR 10
Taxi to Ferry to town of Gasan, Marinduque,
tricycle to KATALA BEACH RESORT in dark.
Katala is run by an Austrian;
website has not been updated in a long time !
it is a fine place to stay, plenty of expats to talk to.
TUE APR 11
All settled in at Katala, took jeepney to Boac today, Chinese lunch, internet is slow.
Roman Soldiers in the streets here waving and clashing their swords. Weird !
WED APR 12
THU APR 13
FRI APR 14
Bloody Flagellantes at church cemetery.
Large Good Friday procession in evening was drenched with a massive downpour;
surely a sign of an unhappy father.
SAT APR 15
To Boac for internet
SUN APR 16
Easter Sunday. Beach Party on Three Kings Island by Bangka
MON APR 17
Gusan to Mindoro island by Ferry,
to Puerto Gallera by Bus.
TUE APR 18
Bangka Ferry to Batangas direct from diving area.
Downtown Manila rock club.
City Garden Makati Hotel $55,
nice rooftop pool.
THU APR 20
Dinner with Peter Smith at Spanish Restaurant in Makati
FRI APR 21
Taxi Makati to NAIA
MNL-NRT JL# 0746 09:10-14:25 op-up to Business
Storm-delayed over NRT, lost E+ seat but got it back on board from purser.
NRT-SFO UA# 0852 16:15-09:22
SFO-AUS UA# 1248 11:10-16:36