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Friday, April 14, 2006

Filipino Catholics imbue their Holy Week celebrations with a special kind of fervor. It is a time for spiritual cleansing, religious street theater and processions, penitentes or flagellants and passion plays.

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and culminates on Easter Sunday. On days in between, each region around the country holds its version of the different significant rites. On Holy Wednesday, ceremonies reenacting the washing of the feet of the apostles are held in churches around the country. The devout visit as many as seven churches on Maundy Thursday to mark the Bisita Iglesia or church visitation. Good Friday is a solemn day wherein priests give a sermon on Christ's Seven Last Words after which a late afternoon procession called the Santo Entierro is held honoring the dead Christ depicted in an image usually referred to as the Santo Sepulchro.

Beginning Holy Monday, wooden images of Christ and the saints are paraded through the town's streets to be finally held in the church on Good Friday. Each icon is owned and cared for by a different family.

This year, my friends and I with hubby joined the thousands of devotees and decided to go to Laguna Province. We visited its old churches (most of them built between 1500-1700). Here are pictures of some of the churches we visited.

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