Faith in God is alive in Macabebe: Balgan

MACABEBE, Pampanga – “Faith in God is alive in Macabebe.”

Thus said Mayor Annette Flores Balgan as thousands joined the annual
procession here on Good Friday.

“We really have a strong attachment to our Creator. There are more devotees this year compared to the previous years,” she added.

The well-attended procession which started in front of the San Nicolas De Tolentino Parish on Good Friday. (Leo Villacarlos)

The procession is held simultaneously with the showing of the so-called “living statues” of Macabebe. The Good Friday procession passes by statues played by living people. A group, called “Everybody’s Club”, started a “bloodless” Lenten tradition in Barangay San Isidro some 60 years ago.

Everybody’s Club has been creating replicas of the Station of the Cross since 1956. Every year the club chooses what to replicate among the 14 Stations of the Cross. Then it will plan the scenario of the station chosen and recreate the scene from the actors to their costumes.

Mayor Annette Flores Balgan (third from left) with Councilors (from left) Bogs Bustos, Carling Tragora, Cecilia Rubina, Andrei Polintan, Taburong Yabut and Ran Guintu at the mayor’s office on Good Friday in Macabebe, Pampanga. (Leo Villacarlos)

All the 14 stations were represented and displayed in vacant lots and façade of houses near the municipal hall. The tradition went on for decades, but it was during the time of Balgan when the Maleldo activity “grew and improved,” residents said.

Tourists begin to visit Macabebe on Good Friday to attend the procession and see the living statues.

Macabebe tourism officer Catherine Flores said Balgan openly supported the tradition shortly after she became mayor in 2010. Flores said the three-term mayor had given financial subsidies to the participating clubs and groups. The woman-mayor also gave cash gifts to winners when it was still a competition. Flores said the municipal government and the clubs did not accept the “cash gifts” because “the tradition was supposed to be a practice of religion rites and devotion”.

The religious display was no longer a competition since 2016.She said this
year they had decided to completely let go of the prizes and contests.

A subsidy of P6,500 each was given to the groups-clubs.

The living statues was featured on GMA 7’s  Jessica Soho show on April 14. 

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