(I wrote this for my April 13 column in Sun.Star Cebu)
I remember writing about my Holy Week experience in Bocawe, Barangay Sapangdaku Cebu City and a reader, who apparently has relatives up there, asking me where the hell Bocawe was. Well, Bocawe, after the few families that used to live there left, has already been gobbled up by Sitio Lupa, Barangay Pamutan.
Anyway, back to the reminiscing. Aside from eating kurakol (plant snail) on Maundy Thursday, the one that sticks in my mind was the marathon singing or the pasyon in a house up a slope on Good Friday. Imagine nature’s silence being broken by songs as old as your ancestors. For a lowlander like me, that was strange and fascinating.
Another Holy Week, in Sitio Lubo, Barangay Bonbon. One night, I was in the yard of a house and espied orange lights going to Barangay Buot-Taup. Curious, I asked our host where the people were going. To watch Linambay, she said. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to watch shows like that then.
Years later, when I was already a reporter, I had the urge to write about the Linambay as a Holy Week feature. Nothing came out of the plan, lost as I was later in other concerns. Still, I would say there are practices in Cebu’s hinterlands that have not been taken over by modernity and need to be preserved.
I mean, Holy Week is not only about what we have been harping on, like going to Boracay or, in the case of Cebu, flocking to Bantayan. It is not only about Gilbert Bargayo being nailed to a cross, or the Buhing Kalbaryo in Guadalupe or the Station of the Cross in Banawa. Or the Sugat in Minglanilla.
By the way, it looks like all the buzz about my home place, Camotes, is paying off. My cousin Gaga asked me for more information about the resorts in San Francisco because they planned to go there. One of my bosses in Sun.Star, Orlando Carvajal, said his family would be spending the Holy Week, too, in San Fran.
Well, if you do not like being in a heavily crowded place like Boracay and Bantayan, go to Camotes. There’s no fiesta atmosphere there, only peace and calm conducive to meditation. And the sands in San Fran are as fine and as white as the others, the sea even clearer and purer. Nearby would be my hometowns Poro and Tudela.
As for my family, we’d stick it out here, as usual. There’s the ritual, too: procession on Good Friday in Pardo and station of the cross. Then there’s the Sugat in Minglanilla, that is if we are able to wake up early, and the Kabanhawan festival. Throughout all these, getting lost in the spiritually that Holy Weeks conjure.