Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Around Bulacan One Black Saturday

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The original plan was to go to Baliwag after the Good Friday procession in Poblacion, San Jose Del Monte given that it starts early, around 5 pm and ends early, usually a quarter before 7 pm. But given the sleepless nights since the Pabasa last Holy Wednesday, we had succumbed to our tiredness and decided to call it a night.

The next morning, a plan to go around Bulacan was quickly hatched. And after a quick breakfast and ensuring that the flowers won't dry under the hot summer sun (covering the arrangement with yards of fabric, moving it under the shade of the Talisay tree etc)we embarked on our "Santo-search" road trip...

First stop was Christ the King Parish in Sapang Palay, still in San Jose Del Monte. The parish priest is a family friend. The Parish will be holding its dedication come third week of April this year.

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Preparations are underway for the Salubong activities at dawn.

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Inside the Church: An intersting Christ the King Mural at the main altar. The image of Christ the King is surrounded by representations of people from all walks of life, laypeople and clergies. There is a stained glass window of San Rafael given that the Parish is located in a baranggay named after the angel. 

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The colorful altar of repose used last Holy Thursday...

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More shots of the Church's interior...

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At the back of the church is a huge covered area where the rite of the burial of Jesus or "Paglilibing" was held. According to one of the organizers, a soon to be ordained priest, the whole Good Friday activity of the Parish lasted roughly 6 hours culminating in the "Paglilibing." "Walang uwian!..." The parishioners stayed all through out the activity. According to my Tito, the way it is celebrated is similar to the Tenebrae wherein once the eleborately carved casket of Jesus is brought in this place, all candles are turned off allowing the area to be engulfed in darkness, ending the "Paglilibing." It's a very dramatic way to end the commemoration of Christ's passion, something I wish we can replicate in our own parish in Poblacion. The image of the Dead Christ or Sto. Entierro was donated by the owner of Marilao's Sta. Maria Magdalena. If I am not mistaken, the Dolorosa was donated by a santo-owner from Marilao as well.

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Mary accompanies her son to the last moment, up to his burial...

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The organizer for the Salubong approached us for help in dressing the Dolorosa for the procession. Ahem...good thing Flickr exists...this is a test of what I have learned so far. The Dolorosa has quite a few clothes to choose from, most of which are "retaso's" or extra cuts of fabrics I assume were donated by parishioners. That's why I decided to place a wimple around the face to add detail to an erstwhile very simple white dress. Not seen in this picture is the huge tear in the Dolorosa's manto. If you have extra dresses for your image, you may want to donate it to this parish. The Dolorosa image stands about a meter tall, but is placed on top of a huge base making it look bigger than its actual size.

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A glimpse of the Glorious Resurrection of Jesus...the Dolorosa all dressed up for the Salubong rites and an image of the Resurrected Christ rising above the Calandra...

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More images of Jesus and angels inside the church.


Next destination was Angat. We were heading for Sta. Rita Parish, and along the way we passed by Sta. Monica Parish (the patron saints of the place mirrors that of Pampanga).
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A very beautiful church, I will write a separate article about this church and its interiors...

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Upon entering the church, I immediately saw this image of Sta. Maria Jacobe. After seeing this, I now wanted to have a knitted sayal for my carroza's as well. My Tito and I were discussing how come the tradition of leaving Holy Week images inside the church died down...I guess for practical reasons...more images means less space for the faithful...(although am not sure if this is only in Bulacan).

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More shots of Sta. Maria Jacobe which I presume is an antique image. 

Sta. Rita Parish

A few miles away is the parish of Sta. Rita. The parish priest is another family friend and he was gracious enough to feed us lunch, salmon with petchay. I don't normally eat rice nowadays but it was sooo good that I had to break my diet rule.
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The church interior, said to be made by a relative of Willie Layug. It has some resemblance to the altar of the shrine of St. Therese here in Antipolo which from what I heard was made by the master sculptor. The picture at the center is an image of Sta. Rita de Cascia, initially I thought it was the Dolorosa since in front of this image is the Sto. Entierro. 

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The calandra still decorated with flowers so somehow I can imagine how it could have looked like during the Good Friday procession last night...

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The Sto. Entierro inside the Parish, wrapped with garlands of sampaguita...

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A very Filipino looking Sto. Rosario sculpted by the relative of Layug, his work also resembles that of Paloy Cagyat of Paete, another master carver.

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Inside the quarters of the Parish Priest is this every expressive image of Sta. Rita in ecstasy (not the drugs of course)...

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An ivory image of Sta. Rita, although I think this is originally an image of a Dolorosa converted to an image of Sta. Rita. The resplanador is a giveaway, but I may be wrong...

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The parish priest is an avid reader and book collector, this is just one of the books he has...

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The youth of the Parish is very active in all its activities. When we arrived they were rehearsing for the Easter vigil presentations. The birds and angel wings are props to be used in the evening service. This is part of the challenge given to parish priests to make the service livelier given the series of readings read during the vigil.

After lunch, the parish priest called on one of the young volunteers inside the parish to accompany us visit some of the images used in the parish's Good Friday procession.

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Sta. Maria Magdalena, the owner is said to be the main couturier of all the images joining the Holy Week processions of Sta. Rita. Most of the images are again sculpted by the relative of Willie Layug and judging by the similar appearance of the carroza's, I assume these came from one shop or "talyer" as well. It's nice to have consistency in processional images.

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A few houses away is the image of San Pedro.

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Near the parish is the image of Sta. Marta. The image looks different compared to San Pedro and Sta. Maria Magdalena and I think the crown used is not meant for a female saint but for the Blessed Virgin.

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The last image we saw is the Pieta. A very beautiful image on top of an elaborately carved carroza. The owner was kind enough to show pictures of how it looked liked during the Good Friday procession.

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Inside the compound is a small chapel for the image. Unfortunately when they were taking out the image for the Good Friday procession,  a piece of the altar (I guess the lighting) fell off. Lucky for me I guess, because if not, I won't be able to see this image atop the carroza.

Next stop is Bustos...did not see much, I guess most carroza's were already cleaned and kept by this time by their respective owners or are hidden from view since we only passed the main road...highlight of our stop in Bustos is the orphanage we visited dedicated to San Martin de Porres. I will write a separate article about this place, another paradise here on earth.

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A carroza in front of a chapel...not sure for what image though...

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"Ang bilis ng mata ko kapag santo ang usapan," saw this carroza even if only part of it can be viewed from the road...but the carroza is huge...I am nearing Baliway so maybe...as you near Baliwag carroza's get bigger and bigger (I thought...hehehe)...

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The tableau is Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross. Lower right: plastic flowers already taken down from the carroza, ready to be kept for next year's use. At this point I thought it would be nice to have an "SSF" ID which I can present to the owners of the carroza to legitimize why I am barging in their  homes taking pictures of their santos...

And at long last Baliwag...

This is my first time to be in Baliwag. Most of what I know and have seen about Baliwag Holy Week procession is from Flickr or from books...so I was really excited to be here. Unfortunately as with other towns I have been during this day, by this time most owners have already completed disassembling the carroza's and the images. I was hoping to see a number of carroza's inside the church of San Agustin but this is Baliwag...how can you fit 90+ carroza's inside the church...

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The San Agustin of Bulacan...

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Another beautiful Bulacan church from all sides...Top Right: the parish has its own procession and traffic office, clearly this place loves to hold processions. Marikina should consider setting up one...hehehe

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More pictures inside the church compound...looking for santos's and thier carroza's...where are they?

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Flowers for the Easter Vigil...

A church worker advised us to drop by the house of the Tenco's, a few blocks away from the Parish and we just did that. I am not leaving Baliwag empty handed!!! Upon arriving at the house, got a bit lost  since we were looking for a Dr. Gonzales which turned out to be the name of the street not the person, we found the house unmistakably because of the many religious images and ornate sculptures scattered throughout. Across the house is a huge covered area where the images are kept. Security was tight but I was able to enter after much pleading (the SSF ID can really come in handy in moments like this)...thank you! Like I said I am not leaving Baliway empty handed!!! Upon entering the area, even though it is an open area the scent of Tea Rose envelopes the whole place. Its as if a huge bottle of Tea Rose was left open, that's how fragrant all the carroza's were...The first carroza I saw was of Sta. Maria Magdalena...I was speechless, the overall package is breathtaking. Note that she is not even wearing an embroidered dress.

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Sta. Maria Magdalena on her carroza triunfal...small bells decorate the whole carroza, I can just imagine how it sounded beautifully as the carroza was moving...

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Another view of the image...

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They just finished preparing the image for the Salubong procession, fortunately the ladder they used was left besides the carroza so I had the chance to climb up and see it up close. Beautiful...beautiful...beautiful...that's all I can think of...note the silver (plated) angels and angel wings...

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View from above...this is how it feels to look down from where the santo is...

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Tableau: Entry to Jerusalem. The image is relatively smaller compared to the other family owned images but nonetheless beautiful and well kept as the others...

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Tableau: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Sta. Photina...loved the angels around the carroza.

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At long last, I was able to see in personal the highly controversial "Descent of the Jesus from the Cross." This year the images were dressed in European middle ages period costumes complete with the hats and fur details. Looking past the costumes, all the images are well carved.

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Announcing the arrival of...

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It's a huge tableau, I guess all the holy women of Jerusalem are included...I was thinking, I take this images one by one, I can already complete the line up of Paglilibing back in Poblacion, San Jose. 

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Check out the details on Sta. Maria Jacobe's hand...age accurate santos compared to the prevalent younger looking santos...

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Sta. Martha and her bread decorated carroza.

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Another huge tableau is the Agony of the Garden with 3 disciples sleeping amidst Jesus telling them to stay awake. St. Peter sports a wig compared to most images of St. Peter wherein his hair is carved...Parrot not included!

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Like a painting...

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Around the carroza...it takes 30-40 people to pull a carroza this big, most of which are people working for the family. 

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San Juan...I am wondering why it is numbered 35. I can only assume that there is more than 1 image of St. John in the processional line-up or this image may not be participating in the Poblacion procession but in another Parish. I also remembered the St. John of Baliwag featured in the video version of "Cuaresma" it looks different from this one...

I may have only seen a handful of images joining Baliwag's Holy Week procession but I am contented...off to our next destination. We are planning to finish decorating our carroza's by Holy Thursday next year and on Good Friday drop by Baliwag to experience  it 100%!


Was not expecting to see much in Plaridel, we are now heading for Malolos. but lo and behold, parked along the main road is an image of the Alegria. And after shooting the Alegria, saw more carroza's nearby...Jackpot!

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St. James walking towards his carroza...like muppets...the carroza was used by the Dolorosa the other night.

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Alegria marks the spot!

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A blue eyed Dolorosa...

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Perfect Timing...waiting for the breeze to catch the veil...

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San Santiago and Sta. Maria Cleofe

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Sta. Maria Cleofe

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Another tableau of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Sta. Photina

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Ecce Homo

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30 pieces of silver for the head of Jesus...a very Nick Lugue looking creation...

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More last supper pix...another huge carroza...

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Sta. Marta left her stuff...

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No more carroza's in Barasoain...but I saw this bonfire ready to be lit for the Easter Vigil rites...next stop the Tantoco-Reyes residence to view the carroza's of Leo Cloma.

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This is my first time to see this, the Dolorosa being embraced by St. John adds a touch of drama. Really touching to behold...

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Crowning with thorns...

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The Crucified Christ and Sta. Veronica

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Sta. Veronica and tableaus of the Passion...can't take my eyes off the huge eyed soldier at the right side of Christ (top right)...kakatakot! This would have scared me big time if I was a child!

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Can't get over the soldier...his pose, both arms on the side...he is an irritating character!!!

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Desmayado and the Last Supper at the back...

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Desmayado and the Betrayal of Jesus...

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A few houses away...the carroza of the Dolorosa and the 3rd fall of Jesus or "Pagkarapa"...unfortunately the "Pagkarapa" has been disassembled already...

More Santos...failed to notice that this is an Aglipayan church not Roman Catholic...it's not that I am not allowed inside right?...

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Sta. Maria Magdalena

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Sta. Veronica and the Dolorosa

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Sta. Maria Jacobe and San Juan

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Dolorosa and Sta. Maria Jacobe

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Sto. Entierro

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San Pedro and Sto. Entierro

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Resurrected Christ...I assume for the Aglipayan procession...

Last stop for the day...Sta. Maria...

Pictures taken in Jodee's workshop...too bad they also have completed taking down the "Paglilibing" tableau of the family.
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That was it...a 10 hour drive around Bulacan. I wish I could visit more places but clearly a day is not enough. Hoping to see more soon!


  1. Holy Week's over but youre still a fanatical santo adik haha

    that St.Martin de Porres orphanage is really a wonder...you feel like youre in Batanes...

    Bulacan's Holy Week processions are getting longer each year not only in Baliwag and Pulilan but also in adjacent towns like San Rafael,Bustos and San Miguel to name a few...

  2. Hahaha...but wag naman fanatical...masyadong strong...i'd say an enthusiast.

    The orphanage is a slice of heaven here on earth...di mo rin pansin ang init.