Guest Blogger, Prinsesa Musang

Join me in welcoming this month’s guest blogger, Prinsesa Musang from Prinsesa’s Anatomy. Recently a group of terrific bloggers completed a 30 day blogging journey together and Prinsesa is one of the bloggers. We spent the month learning new things about one another and about ourselves.
Now Prinsesa is giving us a glimpse into life in the Philippines.
Normally religion is not an acceptable topic for a guest post but this is not about religion, it is about how a particular religious celebration is carried out in a certain country. As I always ask of you, please leave a comment for Prinsesa to reply to. Thank you.

A Glimpse On The Holy Week Celebrations In The Philippines

I’d like to begin this guest post by saying how silly I felt trying to come up with a topic to write about. It was like there were a thousand things I wanted to talk about and nothing at the same time. :lol: I mean, pooping in your own blog is one thing, but pooping in another’s, is a whole different story, I found out.

So with that out of the way, I decided to go with the Holy Week celebrations in the Philippines. I know it is kind of gross but it is really curious. My sisters hate the Holy Week celebrations because they are scared of the practices around town. For sure there are different ways different countries celebrate Easter but here it is quite interesting. There are those who normally take vacations and troop to the beach and visit relatives around this time but others do more interesting things.

How interesting? See for yourself:

Is that blood? Yes, yes it is. Are they flagellating themselves until their backs tire of bleeding? Yes, yes, they are. What they use is a set of wooden sticks to hit their backs. A blade is used to cut lengthwise wounds. I have a photo of the actual cutting but I decided not to post it because it may be uncomfortable to some. It depends on the person how many cuts he wants to get: five, seventeen, twenty. Mind you, these are boys my age in the photo. The photo is actually showing my friends doing it. They have been doing this for years. I got the photo from one of them on Facebook.

Does this mean all the people in this country are crazy? Not exactly. This is a choice these boys make and many men do actually, always on Good Friday. All the men I know from the place where I live have done it, young and old: Don Domeng, my uncles, my cousins, my friends. My Man has not participated though. He is not from where I live. The church does not encourage this practice. I think this is more of a cultural thing than a spiritual one. I don’t know though because they are the ones doing it and for certain they have a good reason to do so thinking what it takes!

My friends said they are doing this because of a panata. It means they are trying to do this in exchange of something they are asking for from the heavens. For example, one might decide to do this in firm belief that in exchange, the heavens will keep all his family members healthy. This is how the story goes for many. Naturally, I am not here to judge them but I am not sure how much bargaining works when heaven is the other party. I admire their faith though.

In other parts of the country, there are those who literally volunteer to be crucified. The best part is, I’m not even joking! The most well known place to do this is just outside my province. I have never watched it though. I’m not sure how I feel about it but I’m certain it will be creepy. It takes role playing to a different level, don’t you agree?

This is just one facet of the Holy Week here in the Philippines. There are a whole assortment of other things happening like the pasyon or public reading of the passion of Christ, people walking around town carrying crosses, and women in black walking around in the heat of day barefoot. This is largely a Catholic country but for sure there are many places who are also Catholic but they do not do anything close to what is being practiced here. Oh well, only in the Philippines, I guess!

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  1. #1 by bannatreasures on May 10, 2012 - 2:20 PM

    That’s very interesting..I’m glad you shared this, I’m trying to learn more about other religions, and I would very much like to learn more about Philippines culture! They are very brave for doing this for their beliefs, I think it takes a lot to want to do this sort of thing..

  2. #2 by Tom Baker on May 9, 2012 - 9:40 AM

    Sorry for the late comment Prinsesa but you already know how grateful I am for you agreeing to guest post for me. Thank you again.

  3. #3 by Khristine on May 7, 2012 - 10:37 AM

    Ironically enough, I am from the Philippines too! I grew up there and moved here to America.
    Growing up, I’ve seen crucified volunteers in the news and it has been a tradition rather than entertainment… it is holy week after all.
    I give kudos for their strong faith and for having enough money to repair their hands surgically. For someone who comes back there yearly,
    I bet it costs them a few grand to get their hands repaired again and again. That is some sacrifice. Great post though!

  4. #4 by Sleep and Salami on May 6, 2012 - 5:14 PM

    Really interesting post – I have seen articles on this tradition before but always from an outsider’s perspective :)

    • #5 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 9:18 PM

      i think it is cool but weird at the same time :)

  5. #6 by Micah on May 6, 2012 - 10:42 AM

    I’m from the Philippines too but I haven’t seen this kind of ritual in person maybe because I’m from the city ;) I heard these rituals are popularly done in Pampanga and in some other provinces. I don’t judge people who choose to inflict such pain to themselves because it’s a very personal conviction. I must say that I actually admire them for their courage to do it. I’m such a cry baby I couldn’t imagine myself with even just a tiny prick. I’d cry buckets. Lol. But I agree with you when you say that it’s more of a cultural thing than a spiritual thing. People have just gotten used to doing it and if they think this kind of religious sacrifice makes their lives better or makes them a better person, so be it. Holy Week’s definitely more fun in the Philippines!

    • #7 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 9:19 PM

      i actually thought about using holy week is more fun in the philippines as the title but changed my mind. pampanga is near me but i have not checked out crucifixion. i think that is too much!

  6. #8 by Rose Reynolds on May 5, 2012 - 11:18 PM

    This is the first I have heard of anything like this going on. I’ve heard of the running of the bulls in Spain but nothing like this religious event. A very nice post Prinsesa. Real blood!

    • #9 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 12:35 AM

      many thanks! everything is bloody around this time. because they walk around, the streets get stained, cars that pass by, and people too if you are not careful!

  7. #10 by ambrosiapeyton on May 5, 2012 - 6:48 PM

    Great post PM. It is amazing that you know so many men who have done this.

    • #11 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 12:36 AM

      thanks, it is common around here really. my friends do this, and not just for a year but as an annual thing!

      • #12 by ambrosiapeyton on May 7, 2012 - 8:48 AM

        I cannot imagine what their backs must look like. Ouch.

  8. #13 by Paul Orr(leprachaunz) on May 5, 2012 - 8:51 AM

    It seems crazy, but it is really an incredible act of faith. Thank you.

    • #14 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 12:38 AM

      i feel the same way!

  9. #15 by veehcirra on May 5, 2012 - 3:39 AM

    Looks so painful…it wis great seeing how the Holy Week is celebrated at your place…

    • #16 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 12:40 AM

      i believe it is really painful. i can’t imagine the conviction they have to do something like this.

  10. #17 by prysmatique on May 5, 2012 - 1:56 AM

    Woww that’s ridiculous :O Wow, mad respect to them <3 (I'm sort of drunk right now, I talk gnangsta when I am, seriously)

    • #18 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 12:41 AM

      crazy, right? (how’s the hang over coming along?)

      • #19 by prysmatique on May 6, 2012 - 6:55 PM

        Psh what hangover? I don’t drink enough for that!

        • #20 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 9:20 PM

          cheers to that? :lol:

          • #21 by prysmatique on May 6, 2012 - 9:49 PM

            I guess? I don’t know lol.

  11. #22 by TemptingSweets99 on May 5, 2012 - 12:59 AM

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • #23 by PM on May 6, 2012 - 12:43 AM

      np, thank you for reading. :)

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