Holy Week in Alaminos
Holy week in the Philippines is usually spent with an odd mix of solemnity and festivity. In some places, rituals and extreme religious fanaticism are being observed practiced with fervor and enthusiasm.
In some provinces there is pabasa, a weeklong chanting of Christ’s sufferings and crucifixion. Another long time tradition is the penitensiya, usually performed by male adults as they walk along the streets half naked while whipping their bloodied wounded backs.
As we weaved through throngs of vehicles in the North expressway going to Alaminos City on the early morning of Maundy Thursday, groups of penitents welcomed us in the streets of Pampanga and Tarlac.
The blaring sound of women doing the pabasa served as the musical score for these penitents — some of them were carrying a makeshift cross re-enacting Christ’s journey to Calvary.
The sight of the early Maundy Thursday penitents roaming the highways and the scorching heat of the noontime sun is indeed a firm reminder that summer has started.
My annual Maundy Thursday routine is usually Visita Iglesia, a visit to at least seven churches while doing the Stations of the Cross.
This year, as I had already visited almost a hundred churches during my pilgrimage a couple of years ago in Europe. I decided to take a respite and take a moment of reprieve in Hundred Islands.
Preparing for TourGo
Not to be disrespectful of the Holy Week, I have decided to be in Alaminos on Maundy Thursday to prepare for an event at the Lucap Wharf on Saturday and Easter Sunday.
The event is the 3rd Pangasinan Motorcycle Road Show, which RAV Events, our company, had organized with the City of Alaminos.
The city mayor, Arthur Celeste, graciously accommodated us and extended all the amenities possible for the success of the event.
The Mayor’s working committee head, Dr. Emmilou Gellado was as committed to extend the support together with the hardworking Ms. Venus Balgua, who was ever present in every step of the preparation.
The only disappointment was when one has to deal with a tourism officer who is the anti-thesis of the essence of tourism. Understandably, the person could be undergoing some pressure in making the city as profitable as possible, but tourism is not only about profit. It also means good manners and tact both in words and in action.
Hundred Islands is Pangasinan’s gem. It will profit in its own way due to the Mayor’s dedicated effort to create the amenities that is due the tourism standards and requirements.
The person running the tourism office must realize that tourism is not only about profit but the creation of an image that will keep the tourists and guests coming back to a place where they are well taken care of and treated with hospitality and the warmth of a Pangasinense, a unique brand found only in Alaminos.
Mangrove Planting and Boodle Fight
One of the highlights and exciting part of the TourGo event is the mangrove planting at Barangay Bued in Alaminos.
Our Easter was celebrated with mangrove planting in lieu of the Easter egg hunt. Seedlings, like eggs also signify new life and rebirth, thus the mangrove planting.
As some of us may know, mangrove is one of nature’s best contributions to food production. The mangrove serves as the haven for small fishes, which allows them to grow and mature. It is also the place for other marine life and biological nutrients to thrive and grow.
During typhoons, mangroves serve also a protection for the surge. They lessen the impact of the surge.
Our group planted over a hundred mangroves in addition to the mangrove forest in Barangay Bued.
After a backbreaking hike through the mud of the mangrove forest, the group was treated to a feast of native longganiza, milkfish, tomatoes and onion salad, brown rice and steaming coffee rice.
How could we complain? Bucolic life and cuisine is incomparable to city life. Everything is fresh, organic and natural.
Who Da Who?
- Who is this former sexy starlet who got married to a ritzy guy that she could now afford to treat some of the production people to trips abroad? Her generous ways have clinched the careers of her children for a role in the network’s soap.
- This politician is rumored to have sexual escapades with some of our beauty queens and models. The feedback from most of these women was one and the same. “Forgettable! Isa syang maliit na bagay!”
- How true is the rumor that the husband of this ex-beauty queen/actress has come out? Ever since, his sexuality has already been in question. In fact, he has been linked to a politician who is now running for the second highest position.
- Who is this school administrator from one of the universities in Manila who almost failed to become permanent? The reason? She smoked weed prior to her medical examination. She sought the help of a colleague who advised her to take cilium fiber. She got away with it and even got promoted.