Observance of Holy Week in the Philippines is a centuries old tradition in which Filipinos commemorate the events of the last week of Jesus’ life through various religious customs and practices. Holy Week is the last week of Lent, the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday. In most parts of the Country, jobs and classes are suspended to give the people time to observe services of worship throughout the week and return home to reunite with family and friends.
This week-long spectacle draws thousands of participants in Iloilo as well as interested spectators. Integrated seamlessly during the week is the Semana sang Iloilo kag Guimaras, organized by the local government units of both provinces to promote the observance of the Holy Week and provide visitors various attractions during this significant time of the year.
Holy Week 2009 Schedule in Iloilo and Guimaras
- March 23, 2009 – Opening and launching of Holy Week exhibits at SM City Iloilo
- April 4, 2009 (Saturday) – Palaspas Making Contest (SM City Iloilo). Palaspas is a craft made of coconut palm that is creatively transformed into interesting shapes and forms.
- April 5, 2009 (Palm or Passion Sunday) – Catholics commemorate the triumphal entro of Jesus into Jerusalem by waving the palaspas and proclaiming him as the messianic king. Crowds would usually gather in front of a church. A good option to witness this event is in Molo and Jaro Churches.
- April 3-12, 2009 – Palapak (setting of the image of a saint onto one’s head) at Leganes Church for devotees wanting to be blessed by the healing power of St. Vincent Ferrer.
- April 5-12, 2009 – Retreats at the Trappist Monastery in Guimaras and Gethsemane Retreat House in Leganes
- April 5-12, 2009 – Capiya (Stations of the Cross) Exhibits/Contest in Santa Barbara
- April 6-10, 2009 – Via Cruces (Way of the Cross) at Balaan Bukid. Catholics undergo this Via Cruces to remember the hardships that Jesus experienced. Other sites of the Via Cruces include Agony Hill in Alimodian and Pamulogan Hill in Cabatuan.
- April 9, 2009 (Maundy Thursday) – Last Supper and Washing of Feet. This day marks the start of fasting.
- April 10, 2009 (Good or Holy Friday) - Procession of life-sized images of Christ in all Churches and Pagtaltal sa Guimaras. On this day, the church commemorates Jesus’ arrest, his trial, crucifixion and suffering, death, and burial.
- April 11, 2009 (Black Saturday) – All church activities are suspended on this saturday to respect the time that Jesus rested in the tomb. It is also a time of reflection and waiting for the celebration that comes in the morning.
- April 12, 2009 (Easter Sunday) – Easter Egg Hunting (various localities and in malls in the city), Resplendor or Angels Vow (all churches), Dampog or meeting of Jesus and Mother Mary before ressurection (Leganes), Luces on the Mount (a scenic fireworks display at dawn of easter and will be mounted on top of Balaad Bukid in Guimaras). A good vantage point to watch the Luces on the Mount will be Fort San Pedro.