Throwback Thursday: Holy Week in Pinas

Good Friday na pala bukas.

My last Holy Week in the Philippines was back in March 2013 pa. We were home for our annual vacation and I was fortunate to witness Mahal na Araw again.

Here are the things I miss about spending holy week back home…

  1. Palaspas. Making different forms of palaspas (from buko leaves) then having them blessed by our parish priest on Palm Sunday.
  2. Pasyon or Pabasa. Listening to the elders sing or read the Pasyon (Pabasa) nonstop from Holy Monday until Good Friday. To those who are unaware of the Pabasa tradition, click here.
  3. Visita Iglesia. I and my cousins would visit all the churches surrounding our barangay then we would read pasyon and get free merienda. hehe.
  4. Penitensya. In Tarlac, we call people who do their penitensya ‘salibatbat’. I remember when we were kids, padamihan kami ng makikitang salibatbat. Everytime a salibatbat would pass by, us kids would run out of our house and walk with them to church.

A ‘salibatbat’ with prickly wounds on his back walking barefoot under extreme heat


Some of these men have been doing the same thing for many years. It’s called panata.


Some people walk for several kilometers while carrying/dragging a heavy cross.

5. Kaba or Kabahan. I don’t know if this is unique to our place but every family in our barangay are grouped together and assigned to prepare meals that would be served either for breakfast (disyuno), lunch, or dinner. Our family and other relatives would usually be assigned for dinner and I remember Nanay cooking sotanghon, tinola, ginisang munggo (balatong), or menudo. This year, she cooked Lomi daw according to Che 🙂

The meals by the way should be enough to feed everyone. Kabahan is like a boodle fight setup in a make-shift tent (kubol). Usually, they would let the children eat first, then the elders, then the teens and adults. It was always a chaos pero masaya.


Ian with my cousins. It was his first time to experience kabahan and I think he was culture shocked. haha


Good ol’ barrio tradition.

6. Good Friday Traditions. When we were kids, Tatay would prohibit us from going out, playing, or climbing trees on Good Friday because ‘mabbyernes santo daw kami’. Bawal din kumain ng meat, or magsuot ng red, etc. He would also make sure that no one takes a bath after 3 pm. So ang ending, Black Saturday na kami nakakaligo! haha.

7. Prusisyon. When Nanay was younger, we would join the Good Friday procession. While walking, we solemnly pray while the elders sing ‘Ave Maria’ in the background.

8. Sabado de Gloria/ Black Saturday. For our family, this day meant outing/ swimming! Every Sabado de Gloria, our family would always have trips to pangasinan beaches or any resorts nearby.


Hay, nakakamiss! 😦


Austria kids


Holy week 2013 with family 🙂

9. Easter Sunday. Of course the most celebrated day is Easter Sunday or Linggo ng Pagkabuhay. As a child, I never experienced any Easter egg hunts. But I remember Tatay & Nanay telling us stories about ‘salubong’. We also have barbeque in the evening to celebrate the day.

Hay, nakakamiss mag Holy Week sa Pilipinas. I miss the summer heat, the togetherness, but most specially, I miss seeing our old religious traditions come to life 🙂

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