Wednesday, April 29, 2009

moriones festival 2009 - marinduque

it has been existing for more than 200years now and the masks were at its best. there were hundreds of Morions during the festival.more than 300 Morions or Moryonan as the locals call it, participated in the costume competition this year. they were categorized according to the material used on their vestments.in this post i present Morions using metal plate and leather materials. in my opinion, the best costumes usually came from these categories.the competition was held at the Moriones Arena at the Boac riverbank. a small wooden platform was set infront of the judges and the audience and each participant made their pose to show their costume.i was lucky enough to have a good location right infront of the platform but was out of shade. it was really hot during that time but photographers and tourists didn't want to miss it.Thursday was the highlight of the different competition. they do it before Good Friday, which begins the solemn activities of the town. the same competition also happens simultaneously on other towns of Marinduque like Gasan, Mogpog, Buenavista and Sta. Cruz. we only witnessed the one in Boac.i am quite impressed with how Marinduquenos kept this tradition that it is now world class. if there's one festival in the Philippines that you shouldn't miss, i should say its Moriones Festival.
trip rate:
festival colors: 5.0
festival costumes: 5.0
festival history: 5.0
festival crowd: 4.0
festival beat: 3.0

Monday, April 27, 2009

moriones festival - a brief history

we were roaming around with Roman guards walking in groups coming from different corners. they were dominating the small rustic town of Boac in the island of Marinduque. the Moriones Festival, famous for its colorful masks of Roman soldiers, happens from Holy Monday until the Easter Sunday in the different towns of Marinduque but is largely participated in the towns of Boac, Gasan and Mogpog.it was believed to have originated in the town of Mogpog as early as 1807. until now, most of the masks are still made in this town. the Festival involves the roaming of these Roman soldirers aroud the town to scare the people especially the children as a symbol of their domination.it depicts the story of Longinus, the Roman Soldier with one eye blind, who pierced Jesus' body while crucified on the cross. the blood that spurted out from the body of Christ fell on Longinus' blind eye and was healed. from there, Longinus became a convert and was soon beheaded by the Romans.today, it has already evolved of which part of it is a competition which happens on Holy Thursday. several categories for the different Morion costumes were made to distinguish the quality of each Roman soldier.this year, it was its first time in the town of Boac, that they included a competition of the depiction of the Longinus story through a group presentation, which i'll feature in the coming posts of the Moriones series.during Good Friday, they also have a reenactment of the Crucifixion where some of the Morions played their role. its week long activities, will help you reflect and at the same time appreciate the town's tradition.to many, it seems like a mere competition, but behind every masks, is a devotion of the person to Christ. according to a man whom we met in Gasan, they do it for seven consecutive years to complete their devotion. Moriones Festival is indeed more than just a colorful festival.

Eskapo's Moriones series begins with this post. more more photos of the Moriones Festival in the coming posts.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

boac church marinduque

rising on top of the hill overlooking the town of Boac is its 18th century fortress church.surrounded by thick stone walls as a protection from invaders during the old times. it was believed that a major attack happened to this town but the people were miraculously saved.it is believed that the falg of the Katipunan was blessed in this church which makes it also an important historical landmark.
the church interior, like the one in Liliw, is made up of red bricks. the church has beautiful and elegant wall lights that stands out from other churches that i've visited.the church ceiling has sun-shaped decorations that adds its uniqueness. if you observe it closely, it has an influence of an oriental style decoration.the main door entrance is ornate in nature and is artistically carved on it are the four evangelist with creatures and symbols below them. you can find wooden carvings of all the stations of the cross around the church.
the view from above will make you appreciate the other elements of the church. like the circular hole and windows that displays the church landscape.i believe that the heart of each town is its church and more than just being historical it stands as a fortress to the Christian faith.upcoming post is the Moriones Festival.

trip rate:
church facade: 3.5
church interior: 3.5
church plaza: 3.0
church location: 4.5
historical background: 4.0

Thursday, April 23, 2009

boac marinduque - beautiful rustic town

having no expectations at all of what is in the island of Marinduque, except for the Moriones Festival, we chose the capital town of Boac to be our home for the Holy week.arriving there around three in the morning, gave us the chance to roam around and look for a coffee shop. we found just one shop and luckily, there's coffee. sat down and one by one locals came and started talking to us.they refer to us as from "kabila" or from the other side, which refers to Manila. they were very friendly and even recommended us places to stay. we didn't book at any hotels in advance because we're planning to do homestay.after a conversation over a cup of coffee, we decided to roam around the town and visited the church. we stayed on one of the sheds until the sun came out that displayed the rustic and beautiful town.old houses similar to the ones in Vigan, Silay and Taal still dominates the central area of the town. though some of the structures are already modern, still the town's serenity makes it beautiful.just around the town center, stands the museum which is open during weekdays and it has no entrance fee. you get to see the town's geographical timeline and historical items including some of the old Morion masks.going farther outside the town central, you'll see old houses with intricate pillar and window designs.if there's something that'll make me go back to Marinduque, it will definitely be the central town of Boac. a place where just by walking around its town center is already an activity.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

going to marinduque - a sleepless trip

the last time i spent the Holy Week outside Manila was way back in 2006 when we went to Pangasinan. so this year, as early as January, i already decided to spend it in the island of Marinduque.it was Wednesday afternoon when we traveled to the port of Dalahican in Lucena from Alabang. a three hour bus ride from Metro Manila. upon arriving at the port, people were already lined up to buy tickets for the trip to the island. we expected the crowd since it was peak season. there are three major ports in the island of Marinduque. one in Cawit, one in Buyabod and another in Balanacan. since we are going to the capital town of Boac, we chose to take the trip via Balanacan port since it has the shortest travel time by boat.we took the 11:45pm schedule RORO (roll on roll off boat) M/V Torrijos. we chose the airconditioned accomodation as we were planning to take a good rest. surprisingly, upon reaching the room, it was already full. some were already sitting on top of the cabinets inside the room.we learned that some of the people inside the room has the non-aircon accommodation but decided to take the aircon accommodation instead. making it full. we then asked that ship inspectors that we should have a decent seat since we bought our tickets for that accommodation. but according to them, they cannot do anything. they will just ask the people with a non-aircon ticket to pay an additional payment and it's up for us to just sit anywhere.it was really disappointing as it made no sense of buying an aircon accommodation since in the end anyone can occupy the aircon accommodation seats even without a ticket. so we didn't slept during the three-hour trip. good that the person infront of us chose to talk to us and cheered us up. he said that this problem was already raised several times against the ship's management but problem still reccurs.we arrived at the Balanacan port around 2:30am and took a 40-minute jeepney to the capital town of Boac. Nadz and i decided to do the topload ride and it was one of the best jeepney ride because of the beautiful nightscape of the island as displayed by the beautiful moonlight.

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