We found out that of all the holidays in the Philippines, Easter week is the biggest. The Philippines are about 92% Catholic and so the observance of Holy week is HUGE. Some of the stuff we read about was disturbing. We found out that there is a practice of crucifixion here. Boys or men choose to be crucified in remembrance of Christ. They actually nail them to a cross and hang them for a time. Another practice is self flagellation. It is considered a step in repentance during Holy Week and people will walk around and whip themselves in public with whips, ropes, or chains. I wasn't very excited to expose my kids to these practices. However, a friend recommended that we really ought to go see an Easter procession. They happen at most of the Catholic churches but we were told that there would be a cool one at the Cathedral near Magellans Cross. Megellans Cross is the site where Magellan first planted a cross when he "discovered" the Philippines in the 1500's.
So, we decided to be brave and headed out. We called a taxi to take us from our house to the Cathedral on the island of Cebu.
It's interesting to put our family of 6 and 1 taxi driver in a 5 passenger taxi! :-)
Joshua just ended up on the floor by my feet.
Here is the cross. The actual original cross is encased in this cross that you see to protect it. The scaffolding usually isn't there but repair work is going on.
There are murals of the event painted on the ceiling.
Here's the crew in front of some doors at the Cathedral. This cathedral sustained some damage last fall when the earthquake happened. There is still scaffolding and other repair stuff around.
There is a courtyard with bank after bank of these candle holders. I think for a peso or two, you can buy a candle and light it for someone.
This mural shows the travels of Magellan. From Spain to Mexico to the Philippines.
After Mass, there is a large procession that happens near dusk. The statue of the body of Christ is taken down from the cross and placed in an ornate bed-like thing. This is on a cart that can be pulled and surrounded by fresh flowers. This leads the procession.
Here you can see the statue wrapped in while satin and placed in the "coffin". Following this float are others with statues of the apostles and of Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and others. These are all really ornate floats with real cloth and fresh flowers.
There were probably a dozen or more floats. After these go, people join the procession with hand held candles. We took more pictures on Hannah's camera but we currently have lost her charger and can't download the pics. :-(
Overall it was an interesting day. It was VERY hot in the sun. There were thousands of people gathered for this and so it was crazy. It was kind of disconcerting to try to keep track of us all and not get separated. There were street venders selling a bit of everything! We ate lunch on the street and it was interesting. I had fish that had been fried and cut into cubes. It was served in a cup with a sweet and sour sauce and cut fresh cucumbers on top. It was yummy. Russ had quail eggs which were hard boiled, dipped in batter and deep fried. They were served in a cup with a sauce and cucumbers. The kids voted for something a little less adventuresome: fried chicken and rice and soy sauce. We ended with fresh corn on the cob on a stick (very old and chewy) and fresh pineapple (delicious!) We enjoyed all the adventures and were also relieved to get back in a taxi and come home to our quiet home.