Angono's Holy Week Culture and Traditions
Holy Week- Semana Santa- Mahal na Araw
Angono is famous not only for its artists and musicians but also for its culture and traditions. These traditions can be experienced not only during the feast of St. Clement, the Higantes Festival, the feast of San Isidro or the Christmas season but also during the most solemn period of Lent - The Holy Week.
Palm Sunday in Angono is uniquely celebrated with the tradition of "latag banig". The parishioners of Angono with the parish priest and laymen acting as apostles re-enacting the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem with "palaspas" or creatively arranged coconut leaves on their hands during the procession. "Latag banig" is a unique long time tradition of men spreading mats while women spreading linens over the mats on the street where the priest and "apostles" will pass during the procession. This was practiced by Angono devotees long time ago and was passed on to present generation devotees. There was the elevated stage called "Hosanahan" located at four different points of the procession where children dressed like angels sang Hosanna Filio David. This song was said to be accidentally discovered by National Artist Lucio D. San Pedro which he then re-arranged to be sang during the Palm Sunday celebration in Angono.
Pabasa or recitation of the passion of Christ is also practiced in Angono. Family and relatives who owns the images used during the holyweek procession hold the pabasa at their homes. All the images are also displayed at the St. Clement Parish Church a few days before Palm Sunday for the Pabasang Bayan and Rosario Cantada.
The tradition of Senakulo or stage play of the sufferring, death and resurrection of Christ is held by the Samahang Sacramento at the town plaza every night of the holy week.
A procession was held in the early evening of Holy Wednesday after the celebration of the Holy Mass. The procession was joined by different images of Jesus depicting his sacrifices and sufferings before his crucifixion and resurrection. The Nazareno was the main image of the procession together with the "Inang Awa" the sorrowful image of the blessed Virgin Mary.
Maundy Thursday was celebrated with the Holy Mass in the afternoon wherein the re-enactment of the washing of the feet of the apostles was done by the parish priest and the laymen standing-in as apostles. The solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament was held after the mass going to the creatively designed altar of repose. The priest from the main altar going to the altar of repose walks into the mats and linens spread by the same devotees of the Palm Sunday procession.
Good Friday celebration starts with the Estasyon Mayor or Station of the Cross around the main streets of Angono. The great sprituality of the people of Angono can be witnessed in this expression of faith considering that this was held around four in the morning, after the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at midnight of Maundy Thursday. The reflection of the Seven Last Words or Siete Palabras was held at twelve noon, lay people are invited to share their experiences and reflections on the last words of Christ. The altar was arranged as the Golgota with the crucified image of Christ bowing his head the last time accompanied by the lightning and thunder which was previously created by using the drums as thunder and lighted candles sprinkled with water creating the effect of a lighting.
Black Saturday celebration was held with the Easter Vigil Mass in the evening. The highlight of the celebration is the re-enactment of the resurrection of Christ. The tomb in a hill was set at the left side of the altar. The image of the Risen Christ walks out of the tomb with the rejoicing of Alleluia!
Easter Sunday is the grand celebration of the meeting of Christ and Blessed Virgin Mary at Galilee. Salubong in Angono was celebrated with the Kapitana reciting the "ditso" or poem depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Risen Christ. There is also the unique Angono dance called "bati" by the Kapitana and Tenyenta with the accompaniment of the National Symphonic Band of Angono by the late Maestro Lucio D. San Pedro. Another highlight of the salubong is the creativity and ingenuity of Angono folks in creating the "birds" which actually looks like chickens, and the "puso" where inside it was the little child acting as the angel that will take out the "lambong" of the Virgin Mary. Near the end of the "ditso" by the Kapitana, the "puso" will be opened by the birds hanging at different location of the Galilea. The Galilea in Angono is made of bamboo which was assembled to a square structure and designed with kamuning leaves and colorful flags. At the top-middle portion of this structure is the puso and on each top corner are the birds that will open the puso. The white colored bird which comes in last to open the puso is located outside the structure, on top of a bamboo across the stage where the kapitana and tenyenta is situated.
Angono's holy week celebration is really rich in culture and tradition which survived years and generations. This will be alive and celebrated again and again as a unique means of evangelization and proclaiming Christ to everybody.
St. Clement Parish - Angono, Rizal - Philippines
All for your glory and honor Almighty Father.