The Holy Week (Mahal na Araw) and “Alay Lakad” Pilgrims in the Philippines! – Part 2

Good Friday – “Biyernes Santo”
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death, in the Philippines, we also called it Senakulo. It is also the day of fasting, where you can only eat a small regular meal. I grew up with the tradition where we are also are not allowed to take a bath after 3:00pm (15:00) in the afternoon.

Some provinces celebrate this by Crucifying themselves or “Senakulo” – a reenactment of the passion of Christ. Some people disagree about this because Jesus already paid for our sins and these acts might cause them to believe differently

Here’s a sample video of how the Philippine Crucifixions occur:

Mass for the commemoration of Jesus’ Seven Last Words

An Activity after the Seven last word

An Activity after the Seven last word

Holy Saturday – “Sabado de Gloria”, Black Saturday”, “The Great Sabbath” or “Easter Eve”

This is the day where we reminisce over Jesus Christ’s body being laid in the tomb. It’s also the preperation for the Easter Vigil. In Eastern Orthodox culture, it’s called The Great Sabbath because it’s the only day where Jesus Christ rested in a tomb. Holy Saturday lasts until dusk or until the sun goes down and then Easter prayers start. A Blessing of Fire and Water is held at 6:00pm.

Easter Sunday – “Salubong”, “Resurrection Day”, “Linggo ng Pagkabuhay”

At exactly 4:00pm (16:00) a “Salubong” Ceremony is held in Catholic Churches. It’s the central feast for Jesus Christ who lived, died, and then rose again after the 3rd day of his cruxifixion. It’s also the most important mass/liturgy of the year.

See: The Holy Week (Mahal na Araw) and “Alay Lakad” Pilgrims in the Philippines! – Part 1


The Holy Week (Mahal na Araw) and “Alay Lakad” Pilgrims in the Philippines! – Part 1

The Holy Week (Mahal na Araw) and “Alay Lakad” Pilgrims Day!

Holy Week, also known as “Mahal na Araw“, “Semana Santa” and “Cuaresma“, is an annual religious festival in the Philippines. During this holiday, most TV Stations air religious shows, and many of the radio some stations close down.

Since it’s a public Holiday in the Philippines, which means there is no work except for private companies, people take this time as an advantage to go and visit their family, relatives or friends in their provinces. As for me, sometimes I questioned this holiday to myself, “Holy Week, why is it holy? when everyone wants to go on vacation or swimming”. I truly understand these desires by people, but I really hope that they still know what we are celebrating during this event – “Mahal na Araw”.

When I was young, I thought holy week was a week of vacation to visit my relatives in Pampanga. But then later, I realized it was about the Passion of Christ until the day he resurrected.

Lenten Season Schedule

Palm Sunday “Linggo ng Palaspas”

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week, even though the date keeps changing every year. It is the time to reminisce about when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. Filipinos are celebrating this by carrying decorative Palm Fronds.


After they celebrate mass, the “Palaspas” are normally hung on doors or windows. As for me, I put mine on our Door 🙂 My mom told me that Palaspas wards off the evil spirits. Some people make fun of it, like “how about warding off bad humans?” XD

Holy Monday – Wednesday (“Spy Wednesday”)
These days are the preparation and/or processions for the passion of Christ with daily Masses in the Churches. They also call this “Spy Wednesday” because it is also the time where Judas betrayed Jesus Christ for money.

One of the most popular places to witness a procession of the Passion of Christ is in the province of Pampanga.

Maundy (Washing of the Feet) Thursday “Huwebes Santo”
Commerates the Maundy or Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

It is also known as the day of “Visita Iglesia” or “the Church Visit”, where Filipinos visit either one, seven or fourteen churches in total. Normally people visit seven churches to meditate in the way of the cross.

Some people don’t visit different churches, instead they join the Pilgrims “Alay-Lakad” where a church that they are visiting has 14 Stations of the Cross.

My first time to join the Pilgrims was when I was 13 years old, we started to walk in Caloocan, Monumento. The pilgrimage ended at Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, in Bulacan.

The estimated time to go from Caloocan Monumento to Grotto Shrine is about 5-8 hours, depending on how many stop overs you have. My friends and I were able to arrive at the Grotto Church after about 6 hours with 2 stop overs. I wished I had a camera that time to show how many people are helping all over. While walking on the street, so many people offered free water, some even gave us bread. Back during that time the water was safe to drink compared to today, where I rarely see people accept the free water on the streets.

It’s very safe to walk but I still do not recommended people to bring important gadgets. You can’t predict what will happen. Once you reach the Church, you need to wait until someone leaves their spot. Normally, there is no place to sit down, as there are people everywhere. People stay and sleep until the sun rises the next day.

Before the Maundry Thursday

During the Pilgrims (Maundry Thursday)

For more photos of Stations of the Cross/Holy Week in Grotto Shrine Bulacan, please visit this link:

Gone long, back for Holy Week

OMG I guess I don’t have much time to do my blog anymore… I’ve been busy for the last few months, I even forgot to enjoy the little things in my life.

Well, I’ll share some of the things I still remember, last April 21st, I celebrated my Holy Week with my family and my co-worker, who become one of my closest friends. We met at my new place, and went to a church called Grotto Church in Bulacan. We spent a little bit of time there doing chitchat and visiting the church, then later on we went to my place.

Later at night, me, my friend and my family, we returned to Grotto Church walking together with hundreds and hundreds of people. This is how Filipinos celebrate their holidays. It’s a 1 week vacation for everyone, and it’s either they enjoy it through activities like swimming or doing the traditional cultural actions; something we call, “Visita Iglesias”. For more information about Philippines Holy Week, you can visit this url:

Sample Images taken by myself:

Grotto Church in Bulacan

People from Grotto Church

You can also check the images I’ve taken last Holy Week:
My Holy Week Gallery

I will try my best to update more…