Came in ten minutes late at the Raymond Bus Terminal in Manila and missed the 7PM bus, so we had to wait for the next trip. But the next trip is already fully booked as per the reservation officer. but we need to be in Infanta, Quezon by at least 2AM. So we took our chances and rode the 9PM bus. one of us had to sit on the floor near the driver as there really was no seat reserved for us. Luckily the conductor found empty seats as he organized some of the passengers while collecting fare.
We arrived in Infanta, Quezon at about 2:15 AM. Bought some cookies and a chocolate crinkle at a bakeshop and had some coffee at a Big Mak burger stand.
After eating we walked around and looking for penitents until we reached the Infanta Church. We couldn't find any one so we asked around for information and we were directed to a certain street where most of the penitents are coming from.
As we were walking my photography bud saw this lugawan (congee) serving lugaw with kalabaw meat (congee with carabao meet) and since it was still early like the locals said, we decided to eat... again! ( lol )
When we finished our congee we walked around again asking locals some more information about their tradition. They say that the penitents go to the church and then goes to a river or the beach to wash them selves.
At about 3AM right in front of us with our very own eyes, we saw the first few penitents walking from the dark. I was stunned as if I saw a ghost. It was so surreal, I found my self standing unable to think what to do next. Then my friend told me to shoot, I replied "sige ikaw na muna". I was trying to digest the imagery until i finally came to my senses and took my first shot.
|A penitent's saya, panyabat and tucarol|
|A penitent waiting for his back to be cut.|
A man holds a surgical blade that he uses to cut the backs of the penitents. He says that it is his own devotion to cut penitent's backs during the holy week.
Sunlight has broken and they have not stopped still, I can now see better the extent of the damage they have inflicted to them selves.
We decided to follow them and looked at what they would do. While walking we saw other people also headed to the bridge as well.
When we got to the place, we saw them continuing to hit them selves. It was a small barangay road, I asked around and I guess the reason they gather at this place is its proximity to the beach where they will clean them selves.
|A foreigner trying to get a picture of the penitent.|
|A penitent's side that seems to be skinned off already.|
Once again they line up the streets while self flagellating.
|A penitent catching up with his comrades.|
Another person part of this ritual is the one who has the devotion to give lambanog to the penitents. Penitents drink lambanog while self flagellating to make it more tolerable for them.
From time to time they wash their blood drenched panyabats in water, that is why you should keep your distance from them if you don't like your shirts to get bloody like mine.
We decided to leave already and head to another place until we found this small shack where some of the penitents continue to self flagellate.
Finally we decided to leave
We all have our way of saying sorry or asking for forgiveness. Though this is a culture rich event let us not forget that the true penitence happens in our hearts. After all the physical abuse that we did to our self let us stay silent and listen to God.
You can check the rest of the photos HERE or you can go to my site at www.facebook.com/iandpPhotography thanks!
Directions going to infanta
You can take a Raymond bus in Sampaloc, Manila going straight to infanta. The fare is 185 pesos on a regular bus. you can walk around the town center or you may also take a tricycle to the beach which is about half a kilometer from the town center.
You can also check out the beaches of real Quezon while you're at it.