March 13, 2017

Expats’ Guide: What to Expect on Holy Week​ in the Philippines

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  • Expats’ Guide: What to Expect on Holy Week​ in the Philippines
  • Holy Week is the annual Christian tradition in commemoration of Jesus’ death and his resurrection. It is part of the Lent which starts on Palm Sunday and includes the Christian observances and solemn holidays of Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It ends on Easter Sundays where people would celebrate His rise from the dead.

    The Holy Week in the Philippines is usually around March or April and Filipinos are gearing up for their respective itineraries. Some may opt to stay in the comforts of their house, while some go out and enjoy a long vacation ahead.

    Here are a guide on what to expect this coming Holy Week.

    1. Long Holiday

    Every Holy Week, the government declares holidays at certain dates within the Holy Week to give time for devotees on their traditional beliefs and activities during this time of the year.



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    2. Families going on Visita Iglesia

    It has been a yearly tradition for many families in the country to go on a Visita Iglesia during Holy Week.  Families hop from one church to another to revive their spiritual beliefs, and discover and witness the rich history of the places as well.

    Aside from Visita Iglesia, another religious tradition includes The Pasyon or Reading of the Passion of Christ. One would sometimes hear a dominating voice of a woman in the neighborhood singing hymns and songs during the entire Holy Week.


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    3. People on Penitence

    It will also be that time of the year when people go on penitence for the sins they have committed. A popular place where people have their penitence is in San Fernando, Pampanga, where a number of people reenact the carrying of the Cross up to the crucifixion of Jesus.



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    4. Closed Establishments

    Expect that a number of commercial establishments will be closed for a day or two, or they will cut operating hours from Maundy Thursday to Black Friday.

    However, some still opts to open, especially the restaurants which offers vegan food or sea food for customers who are fasting or in abstinence.



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    5. Heavy Traffic

    Due to the long holiday, people would oftentimes go to their provinces to make use of their vacation to spend time with their loved ones. As a result, bus companies would add additional trips over their usual number of trips in a day due to the flock of people going outside Metro Manila. Usual heavy traffic will be experienced on Maundy Thursday, where most offices are closed, and on Easter Sunday where they are about to return from a weeklong vacation.


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    Article by Gelyka Ruth R. Dumaraos


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