Monday, April 19, 2010

Close encounter with the Morions

After Tres Reyes Islands, it was time to head to Boac the capital city, to catch some Moriones festival activities, or if not just to see what's going on in the place. Though I highly doubt any activity since it was a Good Friday. Boac is lined by Spanish-style antique houses, small dainty streets, like a movie set.

Things were looking up in Boac, as restaurants like Cafe, Goodchow, Kusina sa Plaza and others were up and running and serving meals to throngs of people! 

Upon arriving in, we had to deal with finding a place to stay. The trike driver was very very helpful (seriously all the locals were friendly and trustworthy, except for some minor misbehaving ones). I stayed in Boac at Cely's Board and Lodging, which was pretty much a room just to leave your bags, but the condition might be better when you're alone.

Good Friday in Boac is the busiest ever! While the entire country is in retreat mode, Boac becomes the place to be. Boac men practicing the pugutan (beheading of Longinus - which is the highlight of Moriones Festival), travelers, and locals alike in restaurants. Ooooh. Starbucks there ain't but I had a decent caramel macchiato the morning after. Sizzling bangus, softdrinks plus some pineapple juice with magic sugar (I assume) the night before. What's interesting was the general populace seemed to be young and vibrant, in their twenties like me, and Boac is a youthful city during Holy Week. Sadly there was some issue on ice shortage. The island has some electricity issues that I'd rather not expound because it didn't matter to me anyway.

Strolling in the night led to discovering rows of ihaw-ihaw and paluto set up with booze, food and meat! Greaaaaat. After all the commune with the beach mode in Gaspar Islet, I get to relax drink beer and eat liempo after 12 midnight because it's Saturday already!Abstinence adios.

In the morning in Boac, the streets are teemed with the larger that life Morions! And they are everywhere! So I shoot em up like I'm a paparazzi, because the morions are the star!

Moriones means Roman centurion masks and the festival takes place in Marinduque during Holy Week and culminates in the re-enactment of the beheading of Longinus. Entire towns are converted into huge stages as the story of Longinus unfolds.

Participants wear colorful costumes (similar to those worn by Roman Legionaires) and masks made from paper mache and painted in lively colors. Other even dress up in the image of various other figures from the Bible.

One of the most colorful festivals celebrated in the island of Marinduque is the Moriones Festival. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus. This week-long celebration starts on Holy Monday and culminates on Easter Sunday when the story of Longinus is reenacted in pantomime. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye. 

Legend has it that Longinus pierced the side of the crucified Christ. The blood that spurted forth touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. This miracle converted Longinus to Christianity and earned the ire of his fellow centurions. The re-enactment reaches its climax when Longinus is caught and beheaded.

The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-colored tunics. The towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage.

(text lifted from this site 

there they are! quick!

Going, going, gone.

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