A Travellerspoint blog

April 2010

"Visita Iglesia and Cutud Crucifixion - the Conclusion"

The Cutud, San Fernando City , Pampanga Crucifixion

Same thing with the rest of the churches, we said short prayer before we moved to the next one. The third church was in the nearby town of Guagua. An NHI marker said it was Father Jose Duque who constructed the Church made of stone and bricks in 1620. We proceeded to the town of Sta. Rita, passing the town center of Guagua where we saw for ourselves the on-going construction of the drainage system which was published in a national paper. It became a subject of complaint by the residents because the concrete drainage canals were constructed above the level of their business establishments!

The church of Sta. Rita was closed when we reached there at 10.30 am. The church was the location of the wedding scene of Marimar where I appeared as the father of the groom (played by Marvin Agustin). We moved to the church of Bacolor. This time, two months after the last taping day of the popular “May Bukas Pa”, the parking area was filled with cars. Inside the church, it was like a fiesta, people were busy taking pictures with the several parts of the church like the corridor, the priests room, Santino's room, the altar used as background. I went to residence of the the parish priest – Father Jess Manabat and greeted him. Father Jess gave me an Ube jam (halaya) in a microwavable plastic container. This is his regular “pabaon” to us during our May Bukas Pa taping days.

We next went to the Betis church, but we stopped along the way when we saw a small church which we later learned was Our Lady of Lourdes Church. It was a our sixth church which is recently constructed.

Finally, we visited Betis church, our seventh church. It is very impressive with its wooden floors and a huge main door with carvings. Betis is known for its carved wooden furniture.

It was already a few minutes before 12 noon when we motored to Cutud inSan Fernando City. We arrived at the crucifixion site at 12:10 pm. The place was already crowded with people noticeably, a lot of foreigners were around. The crucifixion hill is elevated, about two meters high. On its left side, a huge tent with markings bearing the name of a local politician on it was already full of local VIPs, on stand by medics, and policemen. On the right side, an elevated scaffolding was set up where cameramen, mostly foreigners had set up their cameras ready to record the crucifixion.

We were positioned at the back side of the crucifixion hill. There were fewer people there. We stayed inside our cars because the heat of the sun and the dust from the ground which is basically lahar sand were very difficult to bear. We waited for two hours. From time to time, there were groups of penitents bloodied from the wounds in their backs who would finally get near the cross as their final point. They would remove the cover of their faces and place it at the foot of the cross. The police would them get near them and convince them to leave the hill and get treatment from the medics at the tent. There was one case where the police had to bring a stretcher to bring the weak penitent to the tent.

The time was 2 pm when men clad in roman soldiers uniform, some on horse back arrived on the crucifixion hill. The man to be nailed positioned himself on the cross. A nail was hammered into his left hand in one strike. Another nail on the right hand, this time in two strikes of the hammer. The Cross was raised, time for the feet to be nailed. One hammer strike each foot. At 2:08 pm the crucifixion was done. We immediately left the place as my family were already very hungry. We drove back to the San Fernando City proper to have our lunch. Unfortunately, the Fisherman's Grill was closed and same with the other restaurants, only Mc Donald and Jollibee were opened. We had our quick lunch at Jollibee.

As we were on our way home, I recalled the question of a free-lance writer who interviewed me while we were in the crucifixion hill in Cutud. He asked me if the reenactment was relevant in the present time. I tried to recall what my answer was: I said, “as a way of reminding us today of how Jesus gave up his life for our sins, for me, the reenactment was relevant. But, of course, we should not wait to see a reenactment for us to realize how Jesus love us”.

As a final note, rather than going to the beach or spending the holy week in Baguio, visita iglesia had become our family practice of observing its holiness. However, it should not in any way be viewed as the only way of becoming good Christians which should be a daily lifestyle rather than a seasonal activity.

Posted by E. Sandalo 16:20 Comments (0)

"Visita Iglesia and Cutud Crucifixion in Pampanga, Phils"

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)....

Posted by E. Sandalo 16:17 Comments (0)

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