The Cutud, San Fernando City Crucifixion Reenactment
We were caught in an early morning heavy traffic at the crossing of Quirino Highway and the Tungko-San Jose del Monte Road. The local traffic police managing the traffic must have thought it would be wise not to let the vehicles turn left at the intersection going to Grotto so as to avoid heavy traffic in the Grotto area. However, this resulted to the traffic build up along Quirino Highway.
While we were stalled in the traffic, I remembered the early years after we moved in into our new house in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. It was in the late part of 1980's. Our house is just three kilometers away from the famous Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in barangay Gaya-Gaya. This is a very popular site for people to visit during holy thursdays and good fridays. I used to bring my wife and two little daughters to the Grotto where there is a man-made life size station of the cross. We used to leave the house as early as 6:00 am and walked to Grotto which would take us less than an hour. We would go through praying the station of the cross and would be back home by about 10 am. But since about five years ago when the Catholic church had publicly announced that the masses and other activities in the Grotto are not authorized by the Church, we decided not to visit Grotto anymore.
Last friday, despite the advisory of the church on the activities in the Grotto, the volume of people who visited it must still be large causing the traffic at the intersection. We spent some 30 minutes in the traffic before we were able move towards the Marilao entry of the North Luzon Expressway using the Gumaok – San Jose del Monte road. Just as we were about to reach the Marilao entry, the flow of the vehicular traffic was rerouted because of the large volume of devotees of the Divine Mercy Shrine. At this point, I told my wife that next time, we would avoid this route and instead take either the Balintawak or the Valenzuela entry to the NLEX.
Considering that we left our house at 7:00 am and arrived in San Fernando, Pampanga at 8:35 am, the traffic in Tungko and the rerouting near the Divine Mercy Shrine were indeed causes of delay since I used to travel this distance in 45 minutes during the “May Bukas Pa” tapings.
My eldest daughter who got married last year spent the holy thursday in a resort in San Simon, Pampanga together with the family of her husband Martin. We agreed to meet the young couple at the SM San Fernando at 8 am, but because of the traffic, they waited for us for 35 minutes.
I informed my family of our itinerary: from SM San Fernando, we will visit seven churches: the Parish Churches of Lubao, Sasmuan, Guagua, Sta. Rita, Bacolor, Betis and San Fernando. Then, we should be at the Crucifixion site in Cutud by 12:00 noon as I read it in the newspaper that the crucifixion will be at 12:00 noon.
We were in two cars. As planned, we visited first the San Agustin Parish Church in Lubao. This is the church that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heard mass during her birthday last April 5. It is made of bricks. A National Historical Commission marker said that it was constructed by an Augustinian priest Architect Father Antonio Herrera from 1614 to 1630 out of locally made bricks and sand mixed in egg albumen contributed by the people of Lubao.
After saying a short prayer, we motored to the nearby town of Sasmuan passing through the bangus fish ponds where school of egrets were feeding on the snails. The church has been renovated complete with newly-installed modern tiles. ( to be concluded)....