BANTAYAN, Philippines — Like most Catholics around the globe, folks in Bantayan town in Bantayan Island, Cebu observe the Holy Week in solemnity, contrary to a popular misconception that locals here celebrate it like it’s a fiesta.
This year, the local government and church officials welcomed more devotees, who joined and witnessed their liturgical activities, particularly the processions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
With no more COVID-19 restrictions, they anticipated a ‘sea of devotees’ at the Bantayan Public Plaza, which sits right in front of the centuries-old Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol.
The processions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday showed the hardships and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ had endured for the salvation of humankind.
The Holy Thursday procession depicted the first chapters of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Like a pop-up storybook that came to life, locals in Bantayan town narrate the Passion through images placed on pasos, the term used to describe shoulder-born carriages.
According to the municipal government of Bantayan, around 20,000 individuals joined the procession on Holy Thursday.
Fortunately, there were no untoward incidents reported.
When Good Friday arrived, the crowd in Bantayan Public Plaza would grow triple or quadruple. Bantayan’s Santo Entierro procession is one of largest and most popular Lenten activities in Cebu, drawing the faithful not only from the island province but also from other parts of the country.
The Santo Entierro procession follows the events right after the Passion, in which Christ’s crucifixion is presented through life-size statues. But the highlight in this religious event is no other than the Santo Entierro itself — a carrozza carrying the image of the dead Christ, bathed in an all-white glow and decked with all-white flowers.
An estimated 200,000 individuals were said to have participated in the Santo Entierro procession in Bantayan on Good Friday.