Macabebe bloodless Lenten tradition

The ‘bloodless’ Lenten tradition in Macabebe, Pampanga earned praises from a parish priest.

Monsignor Mar Ramos of the San Nicolas de Tolentino parish said during the mass before the Holy Friday procession here: “I highly recommend
it. It’s unique in Pampanga.”

He was referring to the “living” statues of Macabebe.

Pampanga — notably in the cities of Angeles and San Fernando – is known to be the country’s center of self-flagellation during Holy
Week. Priests are openly against self-flagellation.

The Holy Friday procession. –Leo Villacarlos

A group called “Everybody’s Club” started a “bloodless” Lenten tradition in Barangay San Isidro here some 60 years ago.

Everybody’s Club has been creating replicas of the Station of the Cross of Jesus Christ since 1956. The club chooses what to replicate among the 14 stations of Jesus yearly. Then it will imitate the scenario of the station chosen and create the costumes for club members imitating Mama Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Roman soldiers, to name a few.

All of the 14 stations of the cross are represented and displayed at vacant lots and façades of houses along major roads in San Isidro and at villages near the municipal hall. The tradition went on for decades but it was during the time of Mayor Annette Flores-Balgan when the Maleldo activity “grew and improved,” said residents.

Macabebe tourism officer Catherine Flores said Balgan had started to support the tradition shortly after she became mayor in 2010. Floressaid the two-term mayor had given financial subsidies to the participating clubs and groups.

She added that the woman mayor had given cash gifts to winners because it was then a competition. Flores said that the municipal government and the clubs decided to forgo the “cash gifts” because “it was supposed to be a religious rite and devotion.” She added that there has been no longer a competition since 2016.

She said that this year they had decided to completely let go of the prices and contests. She added that a subsidy of P6,500 each were
given to the 13 groups-clubs which participated in 2017 Holy Week traditions.

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