Wednesday, March 28, 2012

TALTAL in Barotac Viejo: Embracing the Lenten Season for 37 Years

photo by Norman Posecion (USA-CAP)

Semana Santa is known as the most sacred week of the Christian liturgical year. For many Filipinos, the celebration of Semana Santa can be described as the day to day activity of passing our Catholic faith on to others and observing Lenten habits, customs, and practices of Catholic life.

However, there are towns that celebrate Seaman Santa parades, costumes, dancing, and music that focus on local and cultural history such as the Palm Sunday parade. Catholic Churches are also open for everyone who wants to have a special time of prayer or meditation. Catholics pray the Stations of the Cross. Some observe the foot washing service every Maundy Thursday and the communion in the evening of the same day.

In the province of Iloilo, Taltal is a very important Lenten event and is religiously celebrated by the people of Barotac Viejo. A vow made in 1975 has drawn in many visitors to this town every year to witness the story of Christ's passion. Other than the annual celebration of Patubas Festival, Taltal is a long-standing tradition of the town and is distinct and unique in Iloilo Province.

As a form of art, the Passion has been set to music, used as a drama and as a painting subject.
Popularly, the Passion of Christ begins with the arrest of Jesus Christ, trial and suffering and ends with his execution by crucifixion. Other versions however begin with the events in the Garden of Gethsemane. Some also include the Last Supper, and others begin as early as Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The Passion is a story about injustice, doubt, fear, pain and, ultimately, degrading death. It tells how God experienced these things in the same way as ordinary human beings.

This year marks the 37th production of Taltal where many are expected to attend the whole day presentation on April 6. Since its first staging, Barotacnons has pledge to perform the story of Christ’s Passion every year. No professional actors are hired for the play, which is performed only by those who were born in Barotac Viejo. The play's cast is drawn from all walks of life from within the municipality. Almost a hundred people participate in the production. The play starts in the covered municipal gymnasium and is open for everyone to see. The play is performed in Hiligaynon. The staging of Taltal helps them deepen their self-awareness as Catholics and at the same time gaining more freedom of self-expression.

The local government unit of Barotac Viejo headed by Hon. Niel C. Tupas III and the local parish in the area is inviting everyone to join them as they embrace Semana Santa through Taltal and explore the beauty of the area.

Just 52 kilometers northeast from Iloilo City is Barotac Viejo. It is bounded on the northwest by the Municipality of San Rafael, on the south by the Municipality of Banate and the Visayan Sea, on the east by the Municipality of Lemery and the Province of Capiz and on the west by the Municipality of Passi and San Enrique.

On a day trip, the most popular point of interest when in Barotac Viejo is Sitio Nagpana in Barangay Lipata. It is home to a small Aeta community where the local craftspeople demonstrate their skills in making purses, bags, placemats, bangles, rings made of Nito. Nearby attractions include the Nagpana Falls.

To get to Barotac Viejo, one can take a jeepney or van at Tagbak terminal in jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Hon. Merelyn P. Valdez, SB Member on Tourism or Miss Lory Ann Dumdum, Municipal Tourism Officer at (033)3620160 or 3620312.

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