The Good Friday of San Pablo City
24 April 2011
As a catholic growing up in San Pablo City, the observance of holy week was kinda strict. I remember that we weren’t allowed to watch TV (no cable then and RPN 9 was the most popular station), no radio and salted egg was the usual ulam. One of the main events is the Good Friday procession which brings together more than 100 Carrosas (floats). It was always a big event since the procession always gets good press coverage, such as being the cover story of Panorama (Sunday magazine of Bulletin Today). It is also the occasion for families to gather and witness once a year the grandeur and wealth of family heirloom santos kept in huge warehouses for a year. They are considered heirlooms because they have become family treasures. In the olden days, if you own a Santo and Carosa, your family is considered wealthy, the most prominent family being the Escuderos. For me the best part is going to the plaza and watching every Carrosa arrive, being pushed by the devotees as they find their spot to depict the passion of Christ.
There were a few years in the 90’s that 2 processions were held because the Catholic church and the Escudero group did not agree on which Santo Entierro will be used. There were even years that the Escudero procession was not allowed to enter the Cathedral grounds and get the ceremonial blessings. For me it was ridiculous. I think the Catholic church was worried that few devotees will join their procession if they recognize the procession of the Escuderos.
As early as last week, I made my plans and decided to drive to my hometown. And yes driving to the South on holy week was pure bliss with the new south expressway and few motorist. I invited two friends to join the day trip and both of them have not seen a Friday procession. Me and my friends plus my niece Ella trooped to the plaza as early as 5 in the afternoon to witness the arrival of the Carrosas. The plaza was already crowded and as it get near 6 pm the crowd got thicker.
The Entierro of the Escuderos
The Pieta surrounded by fresh red roses
The preparation and waiting
The last Supper being pushed to its position
The start of the procession
The first Carrosa
This year both Entierros were used with the Church leading the procession. The last time I witnessed the procession was maybe 5 years ago. It was the same procession that I remember from my childhood. I have to admit that the Santos of the Escuderos were the same beautiful Santos I remembered.