Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting to know the flora of Zambales

Under the canopy of mahogany, aguho, and other trees in the Hiyas ng Kalikasan Center grow kuribetbet (inset) a.k.a. pandakaki.

We helped ran two environment-oriented youth events on 25-28 April, 2011 and we came out of it envisioning a botanical inquiry project for high school students all over the province that may lead to a network of town herbariums showcasing the diverse flora--native, indigenous, endemic and introduced--found in Zambales.  A pilot project may be initiated by the high school participants from San Narciso and Botolan towns who were taught "collection and preparation [of plant specimens] prior to botanical identification" by an expert, Dr. Edwin Tadiosa of the Botany Division of National Museum.

The twin events were both set at the one-hectare tree farm in San Vicente in San Narciso town, aptly called Hiyas ng Kalikasan Center, owned by Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and his wife LaRainne.

The first had some 90 elementary schoolchildren from the 17 barangays of San Narciso in a one-day Likhaan para sa Kalikasan (Children’s Nature and Art Workshop) on 25th April.  While they did not go through Dr Tadiosa's brief course, they had practical exercises to make them more conscious of and caring for their natural environment.  They met with conservation activists who ran the pawikan (sea turtles) hatchery and preservation station in nearby Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA).  They also learned about raising worms to produce organic fertilizers. They gathered leaves, fruits and seeds of the flora growing in the farm, identified them with their local names, and listed the benefits that can be derived from them that they learned from their parents and relatives.  We were surprised hearing from them of the medical uses of  some plant parts that we've not known before. 

The second event had 30 students from San Narciso and Botolan public and private high schools  in a three-day stay-in Growing in Grace and Leading in Wisdom Youth Camp. Although primarily a leadership training for student council members, their course modules were tuned to environmental issues.  Their nature tripping included an early morning hike to the pawikan hatchery station, vermiculture for organic gardening, and the collection and preparation of botanical specimens from the farm under the guidance of Dr. Tadiosa.  

Dr Edwin Tadiosa, botanist from the National Museum, demonstrated and guided students in the collection and preparation of plant specimens.
In his presentation, Dr Tadiosa touched on some flora that are native to Zambales. Their scientific names speak of their provenance:  Cycas zambalensis Matulid & Agoo (2005), Ardisia zambalensis Merr. (1915), Bulbophyllum zambalense Ames, Rubus zambalensis Elmer (1908), Astronia zambalensis Elmer, Elaeocarpus zambalensis Elmer (1934), and Evodia zambalensis Elmer (1934).  

We looked up these native Zambales flora in The Plant List created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden.  All their scientific names except that of the Astronia and the Evodia are listed as "accepted".  The two are "unresolved".

The Cycas was the subject of our earlier blog on the Palm Sunday fronds of the people of San Antonio town.  Dr Domingo Madulid, who co-discovered it in 2005, says it is a threatened species. 

We learned that the Bulbophyllum is an orchid, and there are some 1,955 accepted species names some of which like the zambalense are also Philippine natives-- bataanense, maquilinguense, pampangense, surigaense, zamboangense, among others named after their places of discovery.

We saw pictures of three other Ardisias in Dr Madulid's A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants.  We presume that the zambalense would have similarities with its cousins confertiflora from Batanes Island ("small, light pink to violet" flowers), crenata ("alternate, dark green and leathery" leaves) and pyramidalis ("round, red turning black" fruits) found in Philippine gardens.

There's just Rubus spp in Dr Madulid's book, which he describes as"small shrubs ... with prickly stems and twigs ... white, pink or red [flowers], usually in clusters ... fruits [that] are usually red or orange berries."  There are 23 species in the Philippines, he says, and 15 are endemic to the country.  

We hope to find something pictorial on these Zambales species esp. the Astronia, the Elaeocarpus and the Evodia (would this be similar to the imported suaveolens?).

Our encounters with Dr Madulid and Dr Tadiosa made us take a second look at the flora living in our neighborhood.

Fruits of the apatot or noni plant in our backyard by the beach.

There are, for example, several apatot (Ilokano name) trees growing by the fence of our beach house, and they're all bearing fruits. Many don't know it but this is the source of the Noni juice that was the rage of quite recent times.  Dr Madulid said they are either the Morinda citrifolia Linn. (usually found in the forest) or Morinda bracteata (found by the beach).  We brought a fruit-laden branch to the botanical workshop, and Dr Tadiosa confirmed our plant is a bracteata.  

If there's one thing we haven't forgotten since boyhood is this verse we sang out loud when people tended to be selfish with a few coins to spare for our Christmas caroling.  It's about gifting them with apatot leaves, and if they get offended, why they should come down so we can pummel them with our bare fists!  We dared them with --

Bulong ti apatot / Paskua yo nga naimot / Umulog ti makarurod / Ta narnaran mi ti dandanog!  (Leaves of apatot / gifts for selfish ones / Come down if you're angry / And we'll pounced on you!

There are plenty of kuribetbet (Ilokano) in our town, and we remember this to be the most popular shrub during Christmas time.  It has plenty of branches, and that makes it best for Christmas trees.  This is the pandakaki in other parts of the country, the Tabernaemontana pandacaqui Moir, which is in the list of Philippine folkloric medicinal plants.  

We told the high school participants about the science research project of a high school girl from the Ilocos on the use of the pandakaki as a source of organic pesticide against some rice worms.  She'd been seeing her grandfather pounding leaves, soaking them in water and spraying the concoction on the rice plants, and she thought of giving the practice a scientific framework.  She won a grand award for it at the International Science & Engineering Fair in the US four years ago.

Banaba trees are a-bloom in our town.

It's summer and the banaba trees lining the rural roads in our town are blooming profusely. The high school students tarried a bit on their way to the sea turtle hatchery to have their picture taken against a backdrop of violet banaba flowers.  Of course, this tree--the Lagerstroemia speciosa Linn.--is widely known for its folkloric medicinal value. 

We hope the provincial science coordinator of the Department Education would look at our suggestion of having the high school students start work on an herbariums of Zambales flora.  If we heard it right, the leadership training participants included activities along this line in their action plan for next year.

The organizers of the youth training events--Department of Education, Magsaysay Memorial College, Timpuyog Zambales and Education for Life Foundation--will have green projects of teams from five high schools to follow through during the coming school year:  pawikan protection, vermi-composting, and herbarium initiatives. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cenakulo 2010 from The Centurion Original of Paete, Laguna

The temptation of Christ by the devil in several guises.
It was our first time to watch a cenakulo, the dramatization of the life of Jesus Christ.  We said life because the Martir sa Golgota (Martyr at Golgotha) presented by The Centurion Original every afternoon at the town plaza auditorium of Paete, Laguna started from the annunciation first to Zacarias and Elizabeth and then to Joseph and Maria, and in the first-day performance we saw, the curtain closed at the last supper scene. The passion and death would be the theme of the second-day presentation.

These young girls holding their baby dolls were preparing for the sequence on the killing of the innocents.

This local theater group dates back to November 1975, and we'd like to think that they have been staging the Martir every Holy Week since then.  There could have been several cast changes esp. those who play the lead characters.  It's surprising that most of the players are young, which suggests that the cenakulo will continue to be a living tradition in Paete.   

Script/Sequence guide:  3 sheets for 13 sequences and 22 script pages.
Scriptguide/sequence sheets were posted backstage probably for the narrator, the players and the director. This first 3-page treatment shown in the picture (above) starts with the annunciations to Zacarias and Eliza, and ends with Salome welcoming Herod and Herodias. 

The angel appears to Mary.

Much of the drama was onstage but the chase scenes involving the centurions, the thieves, the capture of John the Baptist spread onto the street fronting the stage.  The chase scenes got to be very physical and a bit violent with some theatrical blood really gushing out.  The spectators loved these scenes laughing at the thieves getting "murdered".

Centurions.  They said their masks are different from those of the Moriones of Marinduque.

Action scenes spilled into the the cordoned part of the street fronting the stage.
Arrest of one of the thieves.

Another chase and arrest.

The devil was portrayed by a gay guy.  We read somewhere that he designed his costume and make-up, and we saw him change his disguise three times while doing the temptation of Christ (see top-most photo).

The following pictures are from the John the Baptist sequences involving Herod, Herodias and Salome.  We think we got distracted that we were not able to shoot the scene where John's head was presented on a plate.

John the Baptist meets Herodias.
John the Baptist is arrested.

The dance of Salome.
And below are the Jesus Christ scenes from the first-day presentation --

"Who wants to cast the first stone? ..."
Washing of the feet of the disciples.
The last supper.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday palaspas of San Antonio, Zambales from the endangered species Cycas zambalensis

Hossana with palaspas of Cycas zambalensis leaves.

It was not in our itinerary this Holy Week to go to San Antonio, Zambales for the Palm Sunday services.  

But a week ago, we were visiting Dr Domingo A Madulid, head of the Botany Division of the National Museum, to check if it's possible for him or his staff to teach high school kids how to prepare plant specimens for botanical identification in a youth camp in San Narciso town.

San Antonio faithful wave Cycas fronds for the blessing.

His ears perked up when we told him we're from that place, and pretty soon he was excitedly telling us of the new Philippine species of Cycas (common name, pitogo) that he and Dr Esperanza Maribel G Agoo of De La Salle University discovered in the hilly grassland of barangay Pundakit in San Antonio in 2005. They were working on a research project funded by the Haribon Foundation's Threatened Species Program, De La Salle U and the National Museum.

Of ten species of Cycas in the Philippines (Lindstrom etal, 2008), this one is found only in the "steep and rugged hills in Zambales" and to honor the province, Dr Madulid and Dr Agoo called it Cycas zambalensis

They've tagged it as a “critically endangered species” considering the threat posed by occasional burning of the grassy hillsides to promote new growth for cattle and goat grazing, collection for the horticultural trade, and the use of the fronds for the palaspas of Domingo de Ramos or Palm Sunday (Madulid & Agoo, 2005) at the start of the Holy Week.  

Close-up of palaspas from Cycas zambalensis.

He urged us to attend and photo-document the early morning Palm Sunday services in San Antonio because, he said, almost all the churchgoers will be waving the Cycas fronds during the blessing ceremony. There were indeed just very few who used the artistically constructed palaspas from the young coconut fronds. These were brought down from the hills, a parishioner told me.  We don't know if it's a zambalensis that's standing near the church with several fronds clipped off. 

May not be zambalensis but a chamberlainii or rumphii.

Before the doors of the church opened for the entrance of the parishioner's to the church, we were able to reach the parish priest, Fr Joey Corpuz, and told him about the zambalensis, with emphasis on it's being a threatened species.

We were surprised that Fr Joey found it very appropriate to cite the endangerment of the plant (and he remembered the scientific name to emphasize that it's endemic in their town), which he compared to the seeming disappearance of the live singing of the pasyon tradition because people now are conveniently resorting to recorded versions.

On the bus ride home later in the day, we read in the newspaper that the theme of the Alay Kapwa Lenten action program of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) this year is environment consciousness.

Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez was reported to have said, “Part of the saving act of the Lord is not just the human person but also the work, the whole of creation, and a very important part of creation is of course, ecology."

For the people of San Antonio, to keep their tradition of commemorating the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem, it would be best for them to take measures for the conservation and preservation of Cycas zambalensis.  One way could be to help propagate the species by planting it in their yards or in their farms in the same manner that the imported species Cycas revoluta is used as ornamental plant all over the country.


  •  Madulid, D.A. (1995).  A pictorial cyclopedia of Philippine ornamental plants.  Makati, Metro Manila:Bookmark, Inc.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Holy Week processions of the relics of a 'holy war' in my hometown

    Christ figures from the town's principalia in the 1800s:  Apo Kararag (Praying Lord), Apo Raked (Lord with hands tied) and Apo Paciencia (Patient Lord).

     As a boy, we enjoyed holding on to a rope tied to the lead carroza of the libot (procession) of the nangina nga aldaw (Holy Week) of the Aglipayan church.  We now think helping San Pedro with his large key and his white rooster wend his way around the poblacion was all for show because if the rope slackened in the midst of a noisy banter among us kids, the helmsmen would ask us to stop playing, move faster and pull a little harder.  They held the steering shaft, that’s why. We thought then that carrying lighted candles are only for the women and their little girls, some dressed as angels with cardboard wings of chicken feathers. 

    Tradition has it that the procession of the aglipayanos goes ahead of the romano's.  But there were at least a couple of times when the Catholics jumped ahead thereby causing some nasty exchange of words that was, thanks to the suffering, dying or dead Christ images in procession, drowned out by the sound of bamboo clappers (the bells muffled until the gloria of Black Saturday), the brass bands and the chorus of pasyon singers following their devotional santos.  The two churches were (and still are) neighbors, the doors separated only by the town’s basketball court in our time, and by the municipal auditorium today. 

    Before the liturgical reforms in the latter part of the last century, the Ilocano town of San Narciso, Zambales was witness to two major libot competitions, those of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, as to which procession is longer, a measure it seemed of the following of these churches.  The romanos now have their solo show on Holy Wednesday, and the aglipayanos have kept the Maundy Thursday tradition all their own. The great divide still simmers on Good Fridays though.

    We now look at the libot in a new light:  this is a part of the town’s religious history passing by, and the images are relics of a holy war, the religious schism among the town’s families and clans, after independence in 1898, and the coming of Father Gregorio Aglipay.  Here we speak of the secession of the principal families and their antique images to the Aglipayan church and never returned to the Roman Catholic church, and those that chose to remain romano.

    Records tell us that cabecerias or barangays from the Ilocos, particularly Paoay, Ilocos Norte, were moved by the Spanish authorities to the central plain of Zambales around 1838, forming the four Ilocano barrios (Alusiis, Sindol, Bobolon and Pamasiraoan) of Cabangan town.  A fourth one, San Marcelino, was formed in 1841 and was attached to Uguit town (now Castillejos). In June 1846, the four Cabangan barrios were constituted into a new pueblo called San Narciso.  The barrio San Marcelino was attached to it later in October that same year.

    The parroco de San Sebastian was established in 1849, when all the barrios except Alusiis seceded to form other towns.  Only Alusiis remained as San Narciso. The collection of religious images could have started soon after. The town’s principalia, propertied and educated, could have been asked by the cura parroco Fr Antonio Serrano de Santa Ana of the Recoletos, who stayed there the longest, to commission images, life-size and garbed in rich garments. 

    We can imagine the gentry accepting graciously the responsibility of providing the visual imageries of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the various major and minor characters – santos and santas – who were there as participants or witnesses to that great drama.  There were not many of these antique images.   

    Santa Magdalena (left) did not go back to the Roman Catholic church. Santa Salome (right) chose to stay romano.
    Of the male saints, there were only the San Pedro of the Aquino family and the San Juan of the the Labradors.  Of the women in the passion and death of Christ, there were Santa Veronica of the Farrales family, Santa Magdalena of the Garcia-Aquino families, Santa Salome of the Famitangcos.

    Santa Veronica belonged to Don Ignacio Farrales and his wife.  Their son Cipriano would be the town's gobernadorcillo in 1892.  He would be arrested for sedition and executed with eleven other martyrs in 1898. 

    The mater dolorosa or Santa Maria came from the Dumlao family.  The descendants still keep the tradition of redeeming the mourning veil from the angel who would take it away during the sabet (Tag., salubong) of Easter Sunday. 

    Santa Maria and Santa Veronica has stayed with the Aglipayans.

    The agony of Christ was represented by the Apo Kararag (Lord in prayer), which the Fallorina-Rivera descendants fondly address as Lakay Huerto (old man in the garden); Apo Raked (Lord bound with a rope) of the Fontillas-Farin families; and the seated Apo Paciencia (patient Lord) of the Floresca and Academia families. The Apo Nagbaklay (Lord carrying a cross) was owned by the Posadas family, kin of the family of Juan and Antonio Luna.

    The Apo Natay (Santo Intierro, Dead Lord) is traced back to Capitan Timoteo Fernandez and his wife Isabel Ramos who could have been with the first group of Ilocano migrants to form barrio Alusiis around 1838. 

    Apo Nagbaklay (Lord carrying a cross), and Apo Natay (Dead Lord).
    Capitan Timoteo was a cabeza de barangay in San Narciso from 1848 to 1856.  His sons and grandsons became cabezas too as the town's population grew.  There were 10 barangays when Don Timoteo was a cabeza, his oldest son Mariano took over him in the 1860s, and second oldest Miguel in the 1870s.  During the period 1888-1898, there were already 32 barangays, and Don Timoteo’s youngest & 5th son Segundo and his grandsons Rufino (from Miguel) and Eustaquio (from 4th son Vicente) served as cabezas.

    Don Rufino Fernandez was one of the twelve martyrs of April 1898.

    There can be no doubt that the martyrdom of twelve principales--and there were more who were captured and jailed--fostered antagonism toward the Roman Catholic priestand the anti-church mood blew up to secessionist fervor when Jesuit Fr. Gregorio Aglipay founded Iglesia Filipina Independiente.  

    The anti-friars and anti-romanos, like my grandparents, chopped off the noses of their religious images in their household altar.  Then they shifted their loyalty from the Pope in Rome to Father Aglipay, and set up the independent church in San Narciso.

    Finally, the migration, so to speak, of the images from the adobe enclave of the San Sebastian church, its façade destroyed by an earthquake many years before, to the new house of faith, which in my mind’s eye, was a structure of unpainted wood, galvanized iron roof, and without any ceiling at all.  All of them moved to this new house except the Santa Salome and the San Juan who remained romano catolico

    Almost the entire principalia and, most probably, all their katalunan (land tenants) formed the Aglipayan core of San Narciso.  Some of the antique images have banata or pieces of agricultural land titled to them by the old owners for their upkeep like new clothes, new lights for the carroza, decorations and expenses for traditions that the descendants have to keep like a small feast when the images return from church after the Easter Sunday mass.  The family tree of the original owners have since grown big that it would take years in rotating the stewardship of the images, and needless to say, the transitory hold on the banata, where some rightful gain may be enjoyed.

     Times have changed.  Many Christian and non-Christian faithfuls now walk the streets of San Narciso.  Roman Catholics cross over to the Aglipayan side during libot time.  Old and young faces, cross-section of several generations, forget about churches.  What matters most to them is that they’re home briefly to pull the carroza of their santo or santa, or light a candle in the procession of this venerated relic of their great-great-grandparents’ rebellion against the church that held them in obedient sway more than a hundred years ago.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Barefooted devotion of the Lucban (Quezon) menfolk to their Santo Señor Sepulcro

    Close-up of the Santo Señor Sepulcro.

    We arrived in Lucban, Quezon before noon of Maundy Thursday last year, and like any backpacker, we sought a convenient landmark to describe our location so that our hosts can give us proper directions to their house in the outskirts of the town.  We were already aching to dip our tired body in the cool spring waters of their pool atop a hill, and their place, they said, would be a 10-minute walk from the roadside on paths winding through rice fields with Mount Banahaw looming clearly from a distance.

    Section of the facade of St Louis of Toulouse church of Lucban.

    Fresh from our sojourn in Paete, Laguna the previous two days, our focus was to look for the Roman Catholic church as this should also be, like any other old Philippine town, in the central plaza.  The antique stone structure of the St Louis of Toulouse church was indeed a block away from where the jeepney we rode from Pagsangjan dropped us, and where we got distracted by a sudden pang for a quick lunch of Lucban's unique pancit habhab.

    The marker said that "[t]he present church was completed in 1738 and the convent in 1743.” The first church was built in 1595, and the second between 1630 and 1640. Our host Jonson would later tell us that Lucban was heavily bombed during the Pacific war.  The church survived but the altar was completely ruined, and it was almost a miracle, he stressed, that the Santo Señor Sepulcro, the image of the Dead Christ, was saved. 

    We passed through these rice fields ( Mt Banahaw in the background) to our hosts' place

    While we relaxed at the poolside, Jonson told us that we must pay a visit to the Señor at the Rañola house, which is just a short walk from the church, right at the corner where we hailed a tricycle to their place.  

    The Señor lying in state at the Rañola house.

    Like any true Lucban citizen, our friend Jonson had all the stories about the Señor ready for the telling. We don't know if it's true but we learned that the Christ image is rich--parcels of land and bank account in its name, and the jewels it wears for the Good Friday procession are kept in a bank vault. But we were in awe of the thick antique golden blanket that we saw covering the body at the Rañolas.

    The Señor in his glass coffin adorned by fresh sampaguita and ilang-ilang flowers.
    Jonson emphasized that Lucban owns the Señor and the Rañola family had been the caretakers ever since the Spanish times (the image dates back to 1840, according to one account). The story was that the wife of the gobernadorcillo was fond of jewelries, and she used the image as payment to a jeweler from Manila. But through the efforts of Don Juan Rañola, the Señor was redeemed and brought back to Lucban.  While the town tried to raise the redemption money, it was not complete; Don Juan put up the rest.

    Part of the procession coming out of the church.
    That Good Friday we walked to the town early in the afternoon to see the poons of the different families mounted on flower-bedecked carrozas all lined up along the main street to be pulled or carried on the shoulders of devotees. All of these passed through the church by the side door and went out through the main door when the procession began. 

    These male devotees carry the andas of their poon.
    The Lucban menfolk--barefoot and mostly in white shirts printed with the Christ head with a crown of thorns--were milling around the Rañola house and the church premises, and getting ready to pull the carroza of the Señor. 

    Lucban menfolk struggle to get to pull the ropes.

    It did not surprise us that some of the male devotees were under the influence of lambanog.  Ever since we arrived, we've been passing by groups of men (and women) on the roadside gathered around and enjoying a jar of this staple drink in many southern Tagalog towns.

    The men do not have towels around their neck like in the Nazareno of Quiapo procession but there are handkerchiefs to wipe on the coffin and throw back to the devotees.

    As in any Good Friday procession, the Señor, followed by the Mater Dolorosa (Grieving Mother), comes at the end of  the parade of  carrozas carrying saints who figured in, and scenes culled from, the passion and death of Christ.  We were warned that the Señor would take about five hours to return to the church, long after all the caretakers of the poons have rested and the viewers have taken a break at a pancit habhab stall.
    Lucban menfolk's expression of religious faith.

    The long journey of the Dead Christ through Lucban's procession route was explained by the frenzy of the barefoot male devotees of trying to get to the ropes tied in front and at the back of the carroza.  It seems like a tug-of-war between the front and the back pullers slows down the procession just like that in the jostling and pushing of the male devotees to the Nazareno of Quiapo every January.

    We thought lambanog had nothing to do with the Senor's slow journey.  Whoever went to pull under the influence would have gone home sober and feeling renewed after expressing his religious faith in the traditional Good Friday fashion of the Lucban male.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    The rites of Paete, Laguna for the Senyor Sepulcro (Dead Christ)

    The Senyor Sepulcro after the rite of the dead.

    We arrived too late on Holy Wednesday morning last year when the devotees moved the Senyor Sepulcro (Dead Christ) image from its niche in the antique Roman Catholic church of Paete, Laguna to the house of the Afuang family for their traditional rite of the dead.

    Devotees keep vigil during the smoking of the Senyor.

    When we got to the Afuangs the Senyor was already enclosed in a cubicle covered by several layers of bedsheets.  Gathered around were womenfolk in prayerful vigil.  We were told that they earlier wiped the old image--alleged to be from Mexico with a dark head and disjointed arms and limbs--with a mixture of lambanog (coconut wine) and herbs and had Him seated inside on an armchair.  The air was redolent with incense as the Senyor was being smoked until 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

    Source:  Picpican (2003) credited this picture of the "sinadag/sinangadli funeral practices of Bakun" to the SLU Museum of Arts and Cultures.

    We thought we've read of a similar practice among the Igorots of old in the Cordilleras. "Centuries ago," master photographer Eduardo Masferre (1999) wrote, " the bodies of wealthy people from the area of Kabayan, Benguet, were treated with a herbal mixture and then smoked for as long as three months.  The process effectively mummified the remains, which were then placed in a cave.  The herbal recipe was lost, probably before the turn of the century."

    The women remove the layers of bedsheets they themselves brought.

    What still persists today is the practice of having the "corpse seated on a sangadli [also called sangachil] with low intensity fires around it to dry the body (Picpican, 2003)" among the rich members of some highland tribes. 

    The seated Senyor revealed.
    Strange coincidences but the seating and smoking rites of the dead and the woodcarving tradition of the Paete people and the Cordillera tribes spin some kind of ancient cultural thread between them. 

     We were back to the Afuang house before 3PM.  We were invited either to take a place around the cubicle and insert our feet inside, or join a few folks inside for our personal prayers.  We gave the last one a try, but we sat inside long enough to look at the Senyor through the haze of incense smoke.

    The devotees prepare to dress up the Senyor.

    On the set time, the layers of bedsheets were removed, and the wooden frames of the cubicle dismantled.  The Senyor could have been naked without the white cloth covering the pelvic area and the white scarf wrapped around the head.

    The Senyor dressed up in a white gown.

    He was soon clothed in a white gown, laid on a bed, and a wig put on his head.  His body was then covered by a maroon shroud with embroidered embellishments before the faithful was allowed to pay the traditional homage of kissing the feet or hands or wiping them with their handkerchief.

    Devotees transfer the Senyor to his bed.

    The Senyor would stay in repose at the Afuangs with the devotees keeping vigil until he is carried out in an ornate coffin for the Good Friday procession.

    A devotee praying before the shrouded Senyor.

    We were told that the devote menfolk of Paete would take turns carrying the Senyor and they would walk in measured cadence such that the coffin sways with a rhythm.

    • Masferre, Eduardo. 1999.  A Tribute to the Philippine Cordillera.  Hong Kong: Golden Cup Printing Co., Ltd.  (75)
    • Picpican, Isikias. 2003.  The Igorot mummies: a socio-cultural and historical treatise.  Quezon City: Rex Book Store, Inc.