All roads will again lead to Pampanga, the bastion of Catholicism that has produced the country’s first priests, first nuns, first cardinal--but then again, also the ground zero of folk Catholicism. This is the province where the charming rituals of Roman Catholic traditions collide with the bloody, violent folk expressions of faith—where one sector of society congregate in churches and another sector in parallel pilgrimage troop to roadside puni (makeshift chapels), each celebrating Semana Santa so contrary to the other you would think you are in two different planets.
There are Kapampangans reliving the Passion of Christ in lofty church music and there are Kapampangans reinterpreting the redemption story in the common folk's version of the Bible, the pasyon. While some queue up to confessionals to atone for their sins, others need to flagellate themselves and carry crosses to earn God's forgiveness. Pomp and pageantry in the churches versus blood and violence in the streets--that's Holy Week in Pampanga for you!
Written by : Robby Tantingco
Photo by : 1st Dakit Cordero in Mabalacat by Ivan Henares
2nd Mamusan krus in Mabalacat by Side Notes, One Media