Tag Archives: Holy Week Philippines

Zentraveler reflects on Holy Week Bantayan Island 2017!

Bantayan Holy Week

The small tropical island of Bantayan located in northern Cebu province in the Philippines sheds its laid back atmosphere like a snake as more than one hundred thousand people from around the world come to celebrate Holy Week… Which is celebrated from April 13 Maundy Thursday to April 16 Easter Sunday in the year 2017.

Filipinos from every province of the Philippines will trek here by private car, buses, motorcycles, and eventually make the ferry crossing from Hagnaya port to Santa Fe. Bantayan Island is approximately three hours by bus from Cebu plus one and half hour by ferry. From Santa Fe you can take motorized tricycle or jeepney to the town of Bantayan where the religious activities take place.

Most of the accomodations , restaurants and beaches are located in the town of Santa Fe and almost every square inch of its white powdery sand  is covered with people who are here to enjoy the beach, good food and religious activities.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday, then Easter Sunday. It is traditionally a solemn occasion in the Philippines,  a time for serious atonement.

Holy Week Celebration

Holy Week is when many people perform holy rites in fulfillment of a vow they made when they asked God a favor, such as a cure for an illness. Priests and religious statues are dressed in purple to symbolize gloom. Devout Catholics go to church everyday; some fast.

Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, Filipino Catholics bring (palm fronds) to church to be blessed by the priests.  Then they bring the fronds back home with them.

Fountain and Church

For most of the week, especially after Tuesday, the towns are eerily quiet with TV and radio stations going off the air and no loud noises or revelry whatsoever. Catholics stop eating meat, turning to fish, and the more devout ones go on a completely liquid diet. Many businesses are closed, so make sure you have supplies, especially food, stocked up and make your hotel reservations well in advance as the hotel accommodations fill up fast.

The traditional  “reading” or chanting of verses about the suffering of Christ starts on Sunday and ends on Maundy Thursday, which is the day when the washing of the feet is celebrated.

Good Friday  commemorates the crucifixion and death of  Christ. On this day, you will see religious figures being carried through the towns on top of  carriages. The religious images and statues are veiled in black in mourning of the death of Jesus.

The most striking feature of  Holy Week celebrations in the Philippines is the sight of Filipinos publicly whipping themselves. These are reenactments of the torture and death of Jesus. Some Filipinos not only whip their backs into a bloody mess, they also have their feet and hands nailed to a wooden cross. Tourists come from all over the world for the sight in the Manila area. Bantayan Island does not practice this reenactment, but has an impressive parade and reenactment of the Stations of the Cross in Bantayan Town.

Among Filipino superstitions on Good Friday is the prohibition against children playing. This is because they might injure themselves and not have their wounds heal. You will always be reminded that during this time when Jesus is dead, and so everything is awry and bad things are apt to happen.

Black Saturday is when Christ is entombed. Filipinos spend the day preparing for the night vigil leading up to Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. At  four o’clock in the morning, Filipinos do a  ceremony commemorating how the Virgin Mary met her son Jesus who has come back to life. Her image will be brought to the image of the Christ at the local church. Flower petals will be rained down on them.  Everyone is happy that Jesus is alive again and that the world is back right. On Easter day, grocery stores re-open and you can buy food.

In contemporary times, these Philippine traditions are slowly disappearing. Young Filipinos now use the Holy Week to vacation at the beach. Modified from Tagaloglang.com

So there you have it!  If you want to celebrate and enjoy Holy Week you are only approximately five hours by bus and ferry from north terminal Cebu! Pack a big lunch, relax in the sun, go to the beach and swim or island hop, sky dive or have some quiet time to reflect about the real meaning of Holy Week!

QUOTE: Let this season of LENT remind us all that this life we have and the material possessions we hold are just being LENT to us. We’re all passersby. We’re not immigrants here. We’re all pilgrims on the road. We bring nothing when we die. But we can leave behind the love we’ve shared, the hope we have given and the goodness we’ve done. May we all have a meaningful HOLY WEEK. GOD BLESS.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The real meaning of Easter…it’s not rocket science.  It is a religious celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: A collection of inspirational quotes.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Come to Bantayan Island and discover a hidden Paradise.  Grasshopper has been lounging on the beach and has a wonderful golden tan to prove it.  He also never misses going to Mass and says his prayers every night at bedtime.  Who knows maybe Saint Grasshopper is in the cards?

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.  Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?




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Zentraveler on Zen Holy Week!

Zen Holy Week

“In Christianity, Holy Week is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. It does not include Easter Sunday.”After Holy Week, comes the glorious day on Sunday…Easter. Christ is Risen!

Bantayan Island Holy Week

“Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. On this Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. For Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving known as Lent. Through spiritual struggle and self-denial, we have prepared ourselves to die spiritually with Christ on Good Friday, the day of His Crucifixion, so that we can rise again with Him in new life on Easter.”

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Regardless of your religious affiliations this is a great time to reflect and enjoy the now! A good question might be what is this Zen stuff all about anyway? A simplistic answer would be to go with the flow of life and try to make things less complicated and be in the now.

A good definition of Zazen (a form of zen) is just be! Zazen is considered the heart of Zen Buddhist practice. The aim of Zazen is just sitting, “opening the hand of thought”, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but gives you the framework you need to simplify your life and get in the now. We all have pasts that can haunt us or taunt us if we let it! This is the best time in your life to forgive and forget and get on with your life by trying to act more like Mother Teresa, who believed it is YOUR responsibility to help make this a better world by eliminating poverty and sickness.

The human population has been blessed with great brains and has every opportunity in the world to use imagination and invention to take us to a higher level of consciousness… which helps the world overall. We have reached the crucial turning point, where we have behaved like conquistadors, vikings, warmongers… ravaging and profiteering from our destructive behavior. We have become polluters,plastic waste distributors, and have destroyed vast areas of our forests and oceans and last but not least, but still on the drawing board…the total annihilation of the world population through nuclear wars and aggressive self-destructive behavior.

We should be in a point in this life where we are sharing our modern technology along with spiritual teachings so we all can get back on track and start living in a better world. The old game didn’t work and its time to take action now… each person doing what they can do to elevate our state of consciousness… evolving us forward in “A New Earth” movement, as is so eloquently written by the modern-day spiritual architect Eckhart Tolle.

Use the Zen Holy Week to enjoy what you like and reflect on how to help our society by practicing simple Zen.

Light your own Zen Candle

We took this opportunity to Zentravel in the Camotes Island province in the Philippines and experience Holy Week down-under, where we toured several caves and saw religious images carved out of stone by nature. We crawled through several tight cave crevices and experienced a pool of pure spring water… large enough to swim in. Being this removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life… it was easy to feel in the moment and yet reflect on our religious past.

Holy Cave Camotes Island

So there you have it! Use this time frame around the traditional Holyweek to go one step beyond and forgive all of your enemies and past screw-ups and move directly into the now… giving just one kind word or deed to everyone you know and soon the roller coaster of destruction stops mid-air reverses directions and we head toward a better world.

This reversal all started with a simple Zen thought! YOU!

Zen Holy Week can be so personal, yet offers a great opportunity to slow down and ask the question what is life all about anyway? When you have that part figured out… you are on your way to a greater YOU and a greater world.

QUOTE: “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” —Lao Tzu

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Holy Week, i.e. the series of pre-Easter festivities commemorating various events of the final days of Christ’s life, probably developed in 4th century Jerusalem, possibly beginning with St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Christians from all over the world would take pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and the Church of Jerusalem provided rites and worship dedicated to reenacting the final events of Christ’s life. The first account we have of such rites is the diary of the pilgrimage of Egeria to Jerusalem around AD 381. Gradually many of these customs and holy days spread to the wider Christian world.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Religious cards and icons.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:You can freely practice all religions without hiding behind warfare and terrorism to get your own way! Why not work toward a better world for all mankind.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under Blogging, Easter Sunday, Good Friday, holy week Philippines, Jesus Christ Resurrection, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday, Uncategorized, Zazen, Zen fables, Zen holy week