Paete Holy Week Procession

FOLKSY PROCESSIONS. A massive crowd waving Palaspas before an image of Jesus on a donkey called the Humenta is the first procession of the Holy Week. This Palm Sunday Procession recalls Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  Important Holy Week processions follows on Holy Wednesday for the Via Crucis, on Maundy Thursday for the procession of the Eucharist to the Altar of the Repose, on Good Friday for the funeral procession with the Santo Entierro and on Easter Sunday for the Salubong with the image of the Risen Christ.

In the woodcarving town of Paete, Laguna, a folksy procession is held on Holy Wednesday that brings us back to our ancestral world.

A FESTIVAL OF CARROZAS. Arriving late in the afternoon, local spectators and some eager tourists have already gathered in front of the Paete Church. A fellow blogger, Sidney Snoek has already found a good spot to take his photos.

Inside the centuries-old church of Paete is a festival of carrozas. The pews were purposely removed to give way to the massive carriages bearing the images of saints, via crucis celebrities and tableau based from Biblical scenes. It is amazing to see how the carrozas were lined up inside the church.

THE ROLE OF THE RECAMADERA. Completely decorated with flowers and fully illuminated, standing out from the carrozas are the statues carved by the town’s artisans. Some images date back to the 1700s. Old or newly carved, the statues were exquisite.

Images are entrusted to the recamadera who is in-charge of the cleaning and the dressing of the statue and its carroza for the procession.  Traditionally, the recamadera was a matriarch who spends for decorations and the feeding and temporary lodging of those who will join the procession.

HEIRLOOMS AND TRADITIONS. All the statues are family heirloom and are safeguarded at all costs. I have learned from locals that to loose one is considered a grievous offense not only to the family’s reputation but to the entire town as well. During World War II, the heads and hands of the statues were taken to the hills to hide them while the enemy torched the entire town to the ground.

According to local tradition, whoever inherits the statue also inherits a rice field, at a very least a hectare in size. A large portion of the income from the field is allocated for the statues maintenance, its dress, accessories, carroza, lights and flowers when it is taken out on the processions. The rest of the money is spent when the owner of the santo must open their house to all devotees of the statue for a whole day of feasting.

PRUSISYON. I was talking to Sidney, when the ancient tower bells began to toll. I went to my position near the church’s entrance while leaving Sidney somewhere in the courtyard. From the church’s double door the first carroza rolled out followed by the next one. Each float bearing saint or scene is introduced by a voice over.

The Holy Wednesday procession presents scenes and characters from the Stations of the Cross. Traditionally, each carroza is accompanied by guilds based on the image’s attribution. For example, the carroza of the Oracion en el Huerto, a scene in Gethsemene is followed by landlords and orchard owners. Accompanying the Nazareno are jeepney drivers and mechanics much like the scene in Quiapo. The Pieta is followed by workers and owners of funeral parlors. While image of San Pedro is followed by sabungeros, the image of Sta. Veronica with the face of Jesus on a piece of cloth is followed by painters and artists.

EPILOGUE. The procession went through its way across the courtyard and then through the narrow streets of the Paete.

In this day and age when commercialism dominates our traditions and fiestas, an event like the Holy Wednesday Procession in Paete brings us back to our ancestral world.

-Holy Monday 2016


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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi po some questions lang po..

    1. complete po ba yung lineup jan sa RC and IFI pg good friday?
    2. from what I learned, may procession po sa IFI pg thursday.. ganun pa rin po ba as of 2016?
    3. same route po ba ang RC and IFI? if yes alin po ang mauuna?

  2. Ganda ng mga statue,sana my tumulong po sakin,plan ko po tlga magpagawa ng santo ko po,pls help.09333333038

  3. some of the statues are almost a hundred years old. have you seen the captions? the year when it was made and the family who owns it?

    • yes we’re learned that some statues are heirloom pieces Minella.

  4. The pictures are great,

    The town of Paete is a nice relaxing town, there are lots of images for holy week and i cant believe the carrosa’s have fitted in the church.

    I wish though that someday they can make arrange the line up of the carrosa inside and outside the church to better appreciate the images. It was hard to scoot into each passage inside the church because it was too crowded.

    • The owners of those images requested the parish that they wanted their images to be place inside the church. They said that it only happens once a year so we granted their request. Regarding your comment “to better appreciate the images”, we launched exhibit of those holy week images 2 weeks before Palm Sunday, if you wanted to see it yourself, you can. Another one is we are having the introducion and we gave some story/ information about those images once the church door opens. It was really amazing and I suggest that you must see it yourself. 😀 Thanks alot, hope you guys enjoy spending Holy Week in Paete! God Bless.

  5. Wonderful images… You have a good eye for composition. I am even more in awe since I found out how you take them. Congrats!
    It was nice to have met you. I wonder how you knew I was Sidney…

    • Thank you Sidney. I received the lead from Tutubi. He texted me that you and Estan will be in Paete. I just made a wild guess that you are Sidney among those tourists around. And another thing is that you have choosen a good spot in the area as if you know how the events will unfold. That made me think your are Sidney of My Sari Sari Store.

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