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PIA Press Release
2008/03/23

Pamalandong tradition at Palo, reflecting on the passion and death of Christ through re-enactment

Tacloban City (March 23) -- In the province of Leyte, all roads go to Palo, Leyte every Good Friday, where the faithful go to attend the Pamalandong at the Church yard of Palo Cathedral.

For 34 years, the artistic and religious people of Palo has been staging the re-enactment of the Passion and Death of Christ, in full costumes and props, complete with the centurions, a penitent who plays the role of Christ, the penitents called the Tais-Dupol and a reflection of the 7 Last Words.

The Lenten play which lasts for three hours from 12:00 noon to 3:00 in the afternoon, starts with the capture of Jesus, the carrying of the cross to Calvary (to Pamalandong Hill in Palo) where he was crucified, until his body is taken down from the cross and laid in a sepulcher (inside the Cathedral in the play).

The Pamalandong is a very good vehicle to effectively move the faithful in the province to understand the Passion of Christ, not only because the penitents are wearing the costume of the biblical characters and acting out their parts, but because the dialogue and narration are said in the native dialect, Waray.

The Lenten play is participated by about 50 Penitentes who joined the play as part of their personal vow of penance. The Penitentes was first organized in the 1890s to discouraged the people from joining the increasing number of flagellants.

Leyte's intrinsic penitent ceremonies in the "Tais-Dupol" (penitents are differentiated by their hoods: the "tais" or pointed for the single men, and the "dupol", the married). Unlike other Holy Week rituals in Luzon, the Leyte "Penitentes" shrug off self-mortification (flogging oneself in the bare of one's back).

Needless to say, the Leyte˝os, even in times of piety and observance of holy days, always include the trappings of folk pomp and festival...such as that of the Pamalandong on Good Friday. (PIA 8) [top]

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