Western Visayas

Holy Week in Guimaras: Worship Festival celebrates multi-faith unity

Francis Allan Angelo

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Holy Week in Guimaras: Worship Festival celebrates multi-faith unity

BALAAN BUKID. On this hill, called Holy Mountain by folk in Jordan, the popular Pagtaltal, or reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, reopens to the public after COVID-19 scuttled it for three years

Jordan local government

Various Christian faiths display unity in celebrating the Passion and resurrection of Christ while displaying the diversity of their practices

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – The island province of Guimaras expects a Worship Festival in the summer of 2023 to fuel an economic rebound.

The town of Buenavista will host the multi-faith 10th Worship Festival during Holy Week from April 2-9.

The event’s theme is “Padayon sing may Kabakod tungod sa Pagtu-o” (Faith, Resilience, and Moving Forward).

Guimaras Liaison Officer for tourism and economic affairs, Helen J. Catalbas, said the festival showcases unity across various Christian denominations in commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After over three years of COVID-19 pandemic doldrums, Guimaras is seeing tourists flocking to its lush farms and beach resorts.

The island is just 15 minutes away from Iloilo City by passenger ferry and barge. Visitors can take the passenger ferry from Parola port, Fort San Pedro in the city center, or the barge from Lapuz district.

Balaan Bukid

The Buenavista local government said that respect for the different practices of reflection and celebration during Lent and Easter minimizes conflicts.

“Re-enactment and live musical presentations will promote harmony and holistic development,” the LGU said on Monday, March 27.

The more popular Pagtaltal, or reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ in Balaan Bukid (Holy Mountain) in the capital town of Jordan, reopens to the public after pandemic management restrictions scuttled it for three years.

Pagtaltal resumed in 2022 but only for Guimaras residents because of then-existing mobility curbs.

Participating groups include Mt. Zion Foursquare St. Isidore the Worker Parish Church, Parish of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Guimaras Baptist Churches, God Shepherd Baptist Church, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI)- Parish of the Holy Child, IFI- Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation, and Church of the Foursquare Guimaras Division.

Catalbas, the former regional director of the Department of Tourism in Western Visayas,  said the province expects many devotees of different denominations to visit the town for its unique take on unity in diversity.

Schedule of activities

The festival will feature the following activities:

  • April 2 – Triumphal Entry; Children’s Day Honoring Jesus and St. Isidore Musical Presentation
  • April 3 – Film showing at the Heroes Park
  • April 4 – Experiencing God’s Love, Forgiveness, and Healing; Music for Christ
  • April 5 – God’s Love Musical Presentation
  • April 6 – Experiencing God’s Love, Forgiveness, and Healing; Pagdakop (arrest)/Last Supper at Sto.
  • Rosario Car Park and Heroes Park
  • April 7 – Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) and Siete Palabras (Seven Last Words) at Christ the
  • King, IFI Old Poblacion, IFI Salvacion, Old Poblacion, and Navalas Church
  • April 8 – Film Showing on the Passion of the Christ at Heroes Park
  • April 9 – Pagkita, Pagkayab, and Prosesyon sa Pagkita (different versions of the dawn procession and meeting); Easter Egg Hunting, and Jesus is Alive musical concert

“Our observance of the Holy Week will boost tourism as people from Guimaras and other areas will come here to witness the activities and get a taste of our food and culture. They move around, hold fellowships, and interact, which also benefit local businesses,” Catalbas said.

Acting Buenavista municipal administrator Paul Esmaya said tourists can visit other religious and eco-tourism sites in the town, which include St. Isidore the Worker Parish Church in Navalas, Javellana Church in East Valencia, Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Patroness of Center II in Banban, the Marian Shrine, Calvary Hill, Bukid Kasarig, and Daliran Cave. – Rappler.com

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