Behind the masks of Marinduque's Moriones Festival

MASKED PENITENTS. Morions during a Good Friday procession in Santa Cruz, Marinduque.

All photos by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

MARINDUQUE, Philippines – Filipinos observe Holy Week through different acts to show repentance. 

In Marinduque, penitents wear morions – or masks depicting the faces of Roman centurions – and march into town as part of their Moriones Festival.

In this Holy Week commemoration of Jesus' passion and death, participants reenact the story of Longinus, the half-blind Roman soldier who was present during Jesus' crucifixion. 

EXPENSIVE. Ordering a Morion mask from local artisans will cost you P5,000 tou0093 P10,000.

Garbed in 10-kilogram costumes of Roman soldiers, the faithful endure the scorching summer heat as they walk around town as part of their penitence.

In 2017, among them was the Diaz family from Barangay Kasily, fondly called "Pamilyang Banal" because all the members of the family are Morions. They started their vow in 2010 after their youngest son, John Cedric, then 7 years old, was healed from a disease that medical doctors could not figure out, and that nearly took his life.

Behind the colorful masks, the Morions fulfill their vows to show their gratitude to God.

'PAMILYANG BANAL.' The Diaz family u2013 Roger and Melady Diaz along with children John Herry, 16, and John Cedric, 15 u2013 prepare their Morion garb inside their home in Barangay Kasily, 10 kilometers away from Santa Cruz town.

MIRACLE SURVIVOR. John Cedric prepares for the Good Friday procession.

DEVOTION. Melady Diaz says that her family has always been healthy ever since they started their vow.

PAINSTAKING. The Diazes have to squeeze themselves in a tricycle and travel 10 kilometers on a rough road for the procession.

PROCESSION. Residents during the Good Friday procession in Santa Cruz, Marinduque.

BRAVING THE HEAT. The Diazes in full Roman soldier garb as they arrive in Santa Cruz town.

JESUS' SACRIFICE. The image of the dead Jesus Christ is paraded on Good Friday.