By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
As Catholic devotees in many barangays around the country went out to fulfill traditional rituals to remember the passion and death Jesus Christ on Good Friday, in Mandaluyong City, a similar gathering stood despite the intense heat to watch people in costumes reenact the scene.
The hundred-meter stretch of P. Gomez Street, from the corner of A. Luna towards Padre Burgos Street in Barangay Poblacion, was filled with spectators with mobile phones ready to capture the street drama.
Teenagers in costumes of Roman soldiers led the procession, followed by three drum players setting the rhythm of the march.
Several devotees dressed as Jesus took turns carrying the heavy cross. The barefooted men acting as Jesus wore make-up on their faces, a curly brown wig, and a red robe.
Meanwhile, several costumed men holding leather belts took turns in whipping “Jesus” who was visibly struggling due to the weight of the cross, falling on the ground a few times.
From nearby, the chant of Pabasa, or the uninterrupted narration of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection – echoed in the air.
When the procession reached the chapel at the corner of P. Gomez and P. Burgos Streets, a reenactment of Jesus’ trial Jesus was staged, complete with actors playing Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea, Barrabas, and the crowd.
Ron Villarico, 43, one of the men who carried the cross, said he started participating in the street play in 2007. After 12 years, he said this had become his annual tradition and he has no plans to stop doing it.