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‘The Pieta’ keeps family together

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag April 15,2017 - 10:18 PM

A silhouette of a cross where Jesus Christ was cruisified. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

The Pieta is shown amid a backdrop of a setting sun in Bantayan town. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Keeping the family tradition during the Holy Week holds their family together.

During the Holy Week, the heirs of Perfecto Mabugat Sr. and Amalia Juarez are reunited in Barangay Poblacion, Bantayan town in northern Cebu to prepare their carroza or the carriage of “The Pieta” for the Good Friday procession.

This is not just an ordinary life-size image of “The Pieta,” or the image of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus Christ, for the family because this has been with them for generations.

Marinela Gabat, 71, one of the children of Vicente J. Mabugat who is the fifth child of eight children of Perfecto and Amalia, recounts how the sacred image came into the family.

Vicente’s siblings are Mercedes, Jose, Ramon, Perfecto Jr., Querubin, Azucena, Venus, Sol and Jupiter.

“When naghihingalo na si Lolo Marcelino (Perfecto’s father), binilin niya sa son niya na wag pabayaan ang siblings niya from the second wife (with more than nine children),” Gabat told Cebu Daily News.

Perfecto’s children were also made to choose what to have as their inheritance — a hacienda in Tiglawigan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental or The Pieta.

But Mercedes, the eldest daughter of Perfecto, chose the Pieta.

“Sabi ni lolo (Perfecto), maraming kapatid and kailangan nila ang livelihood nila so binigay ang hacienda sa kanila. That’s how we started to possess the Pieta,” Gabat told Cebu Daily News.

The icon of the dead Jesus Christ was known to come from Spain.

“But the Blessed Mother, hindi napasama. I don’t know because this came from Tiglawigan. Nandoon kasi ang hacienda,” she added.

When the image of the dead Jesus Christ was transferred in Bantayan town, the family decided to have an icon of Virgin Mary made by Severino “Ma Binoy” Carabio.

As The Pieta has been taken care of by Gabat’s generation, they are now teaching their next generation on how to keep it.

“We are not giving up the Pieta. We are keeping it in the family. We prepare early enough for the caro and all the members of family are hands on under supervision of elders,” she told Cebu Daily News.

The old icons have a special standing cabinet in their house to keep it safe.

These icons are also cleansed with the use of cottons and soaked in coconut water since it is pure.

After cleansing the icons, the used cottons are buried under the fence of their house as they considered it as sacred. They also placed violet chrysanthemums at the carroza.

Gabat explained that these flowers after procession are taken by mostly fishermen which served as “good luck” charms for them.

“We keep the family tradition because that is the reason why we are together. We always come together because of The Pieta. It holds our family together,” the 71-year old told Cebu Daily News.

She said that their family members come home from Canada, California, Manila and Cebu City for the Holy Week to prepare the Pieta.

Aside from the Pieta, the family has also observed other traditions, like not to eat meat during the Holy Week.

But people who eat meat during Holy Week are only the guests in the town and not the families.

A papal indult or a special dispensation for the consumption of meat on Lent was issued for Bantayan Island around 1800s.

This was issued by Pope Leo XII after superstititous fishermen would refuse to launch to the sea during Holy Week.

Gabat said for their family they prepared fish, bam-i without meat, shellfish, shrimps and salad without meat.

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TAGS: Bantayan, Bantayan Island, Cebu, Holy Week, Poblacion, Santa Fe

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