I work in the Finance department of a media company, and someone who dabbles in writing of any genre.
Experience the true meaning of Easter
The Philippines is a country where the Catholic faith is predominantly followed by its people, hence Easter is celebrated in a grand way. It's a celebration of the resurrection of Christ and the remembrance of the suffering he endured to save the soul of mankind.
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday which is a 40 days fasting, penance and prayer. It is a custom for Filipinos to attend church with a smudge of ash on their forehead. It is then followed by the Holy week, which is from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday, then Easter Sunday.
During these times, Filipinos solemnly celebrate the occasion. It is a time to reflect and perform the rites in fulfilment of a vow they made to God. Devoted Catholics attend church every day and most fast from eating meat or put themselves on a liquid diet.
A well known practice during the Holy week is when devotees publicly whip their back, some wear crown of thorns on their head while parading on the streets. Others walk on their knees. Some go to the extremes of nailing their hands and feet to a wooden cross, a re-enactment of the suffering of Jesus Christ. Their heads, back and knees drip with blood in the heat. The sight is quite disturbing and not for the faint hearted. This practice has been done for years and is known worldwide.
Tourist flock from all over the world to watch the event. A place called Tondo in Manila is one of the areas where these events take place. Unfortunately some people take advantage of this holy time and the massive crowd to pick your pockets. So keep an eye out on your personal belongings. Outside the capital of Manila, towns called Pampanga and Nueva Ecija are also famous for these events.
Good Friday is the crucifixion and the death of Christ. Holy figures are carried through town on top of a carriage being paraded on the streets. It is the day and also a time to remind oneself that Jesus is dead. Superstitious beliefs said that bad things can happen. So most people opt to stay indoors, and for most of the week, the town is very quiet and businesses are closed.
The resurrection of Christ happens on Easter Sunday. A ceremony in the local church will be held commemorating on how the Virgin Mary met her son Jesus Christ when he came back to life. Petals of flowers are showered on her image, people are jubilant with the belief that the world had been saved.
Filipinos are very passionate about being a catholic. Morals are high, although it does baffle me as to how they rate primetime TV shows. In one particular television show women performed with barely nothing attire and were often gyrating and shaking their breasts. Perhaps it is a slightly prudish insight of myself but it's the kind of show that is rated M. A recent story about a movie star performing in a very sexy gown, which I thought was tasteful, had brought upon an inquiry to check the TV station's ethics when it came to exploiting woman. Hence people stare when I wander through the shops wearing a reasonable short and not too revealing top. I wonder if it's the forgotten teaching of morality, the way woman must dress themselves in public, or merely commercialism at its best.
Nevertheless, Easter is celebrated with respect. As I wander into the House of God, I felt a sense of being that is higher than mankind. The holy image on the wall depict of Jesus Christ on the Cross. A suffering that he endured to save our heart and our soul.
So these Easter, be grateful to our love ones for the love we bestow and they give in return. Be thankful that we have a heart and our soul is kind. A heart that beats for our fellow mankind and feeds our soul in return.
Philippine Airline, Qantas and Jetstar have regular flights to Manila. Airfares ranges from $800 to $1200. Accommodation in Manila varies. You can choose to stay in a Motel and pay by the hour or Hotel from $60 a night. The currency is peso. $1 Aus is equivalent of P40. It does fluctuates daily.