Monday, April 10, 2017

Biyernes Santo in Cabatuan: A Day of Religious Sensation

Cabatuan, Iloilo is completely transformed during Holy week. Cabatuananons and visitors, turns out to experience one of its most traditional events to the full. Do not miss the chance to come to Cabatuan at this time of year as visitors share some very special moments in an atmosphere unlike anything you have ever experience during Holy Week.

The town celebrates Holy Week by observing its treasured religious tradition of Pasyon, celebrated as an annual inter-barangay competition every Good Friday.

Pasyon is a narrative book that contains the Life of Jesus Christ with emphasis on His sufferings, death and resurrection and is written in stanzas of five lines of eight syllables. Considered by the faithful as a religious ritual, Pasyon is done by singing in a capella or with the accompaniment of an instrument such as a guitar or a keyboard.

Performers of the rite are seated inside makeshift tents or huts built to hold them. Performers are of various age brackets grouped either in an all-female or a combination of both male and female ensemble all dressed up in traditional Filipino attire.  Performing the Pasyon annually serves as a vow or a Panata for these performers or their families, which in most cases had been passed on from generations back.

Around the Poblacion are Kapiyas or Stations of the Cross. It is another component of Cabatuan’s Lenten tradition competition. Also known as the Way of Sorrows or Via Crucis, series of images that depict Jesus Christ’ final journey to Calvary. All fourteen of them, it starts with Jesus being condemned to death and ends with Jesus being laid in the tomb. All of the figures are made of indigenous materials.

Local devotees travel from station to station, stopping at each to view its life-sized images say a prayer and make reflections.

Religion remains important in the lives of most Filipinos. Although in the recent years, the Filipino youth have become somewhat less religious in certain traditional measures of religious commitment such observing and attending Holy days of obligations.

Lenten traditions are opportunities for everyone to focus on the meaning of true Christian life.  The images that we see and practices that we experience are important reminders that we must keep these religious traditions alive as it is important in teaching the next generation about our shared past. It helps individuals to know more and be closer to their families and places of origin by helping them maintain a sense of connection to their traditions that have been alive for centuries. It makes us understand deeper about our religion and once we have done that, we can follow these traditions for name sake or as our duty.

Cabatuan’s Lenten celebration is special, unique and different. Pasyon in the area is declared to be of tourist interest and once you experience them, you will be longing to return to Cabatuan for Holy Week.

The municipality of Cabatuan is 24.2 kilometers away or a 35 minute drive from the city. With a land area of 8, 248 hectares, the town is politically subdivided into 68 barangays. It is connected to a national highway passing through the towns of Pavia and Sta. Barbara. Four other national roads connect the town to its adjacent municipalities; Alimodian in the south; Maasin in the west; New Lucena in the north-east; and Janiuay in the north where the highway continues northward to Lambunao and Calinog and then to Tapaz, Capiz.

To get to Cabatuan one can take a jeepney or van at the terminal in front of Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mr. Francisco Gonzaga Jr. –Municipal Tourism Officer at 09283649477.

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