Via Crucis: The Highlights of Moriones Festival
Location: Street of Boac, Marinduque
Marinduque Series: Day 2
On the day of Good Friday the highlight of Moriones Festival is being done at the street of Boac, here most people from different places and walks of life gather, lined up and watch the street turn into a big and long stage for “Via Crucis”.
Moriones festival is a week long celebration in the heart of the Philippines in the island of Marinduque. Moriones refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for “Longinus”. Longinus is the Roman Soldier who pierced Jesus on his side with a lance while he was on the cross. Morions is the term for the devotees wearing masked roaming the streets in town from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday scaring kids, or engaging in surprises to draw attention from the crowd. This week long celebration is the re-enactment of the story of Longinus who is said to be the centurion present at the Crucifixion, who testified, “In truth this man was son of God. Longinus is traditionally venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. See Saint Longinus.
This entry is the second to the supposedly 4 Day Marinduque series but due to unavoidable or rather beautiful circumstances we decided to add one more day to our Marinduque Series. Find the related articles below;
Marinduque Series Day 1
Marinduque Series Day 2
Marinduque Series Day 3
Marinduque Series Day 4
- Maniwaya Island
- Poctoy White Beach
Marinduque Series Day 5
Our Itinerary for the 2nd Day is simple.
- Visit Boac Cathedral
- Roam around town
- Watch “Via Crucis”
- Eat anywhere
- Watch the parade at night
Visit to the Historic Boac Cathedral
Straight from Ilaya where we are staying, we head to Boac Cathedral with a travel time of approximately 30-40 minutes. We already had breakfast courtesy of Lheng’s Nanay and our jeepney ride to Boac cathedral is also a courtesy from Lheng’s Uncle Cardo. In short no expenses from Ilaya to Boac. Thanks Lheng!
Boac Cathedral is located on top of a hill overlooking the town of Boac. According to the locals the church serves as a refuge for the indigenous from the attacks of the Moro pirates on 1800 or so. As to the origins and history of the church I would like to refer you to marinduquegov.blogspot for a more concrete explanation of its history.
The marker at the church shows when it was built and some historical facts about the church. As to the patron name “Ina ng Biglang Awa” i find this excerpt from marinduquegov.blogspot informative;
“By 1756 the church was laid out facing east with its rear overlooking the lower town, called labak by the natives. It was to be an enduring structure for worship and for serving as a refuge for the townspeople during piratical attacks rampant in in that era.
Oral tradition survives up to the present day as to how Moro pirates in those days frequently invaded the shores of Boac through the mouth of the river in Brgy. Laylay. The townspeople would take refuge in the fortress of the cathedral and fervently pray for the intercession of their patroness, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception to save them from the attack.”
Standing strong are the massive buttresses at the side of the church providing support to the main structure makes me fascinated by the ingenuity of its engineer. Ten (10) buttresses on each side supports the main structure of the church, made of stones and materials that are not known to me made me feel oblivious of the time.
As much as we would like to see the elaborate design of the church interior the Via Crucis is about to start so we decided to go to the streets of Boac to watch it.
Moriones Festival: Way of the Cross
Lot’s of people were already line up at the street to watch the start of the re-enactment of the Passion of Christ on the road to Golgotha. According to Lheng the devotees who play the role of Jesus Christ came from a long line of family who makes it a tradition every year the same goes with the two thieves.
We had the chance for a close encounter with the Morions so we asked for a picture taking.
I even had the chance to wear the mask. Lucky me!
The devotees playing the role of Jesus Christ and two thieves is not an easy task. All the way from the start they were carrying a cross while a rope is tied unto their waist which is being pulled by the Morions each time they want to. It was like watching the agony of Christ and it pains me to watch it. Imagine you’re carrying a cross while the Morions drag you to your knees at the street not minding where you fall.
We planned to stay in one place to watch the “Via Crucis” but my inner curiosity lead me to follow the one who’s playing the role of Jesus Christ, with my camera on me I was able to go side by side with them. I observe that their are stations of the cross along the street of Boac and this is where the one playing the role of Jesus Christ rest a bit and drink water when his thirsty.
Watching the festival made me realize how faith can really transforms belief into reality. The devotees are very passionate about what they do, with the heavy loads, the intense heat and the continuous whipping of the Morions it seems that they just endure the pain and let their faith guide them. I felt so renewed at that moment.
Here are some more photos of the festival.
I believe this one is Longinus who will play the role of piercing Jesus Christ while he is on the Cross.
Morion removed his mask while resting. Maybe to take respite from the intense heat. This one is my favorite shot.
The final destination is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the two thieves at the hill near the Moriones Arena at the Boac Riverside.
The final act is the piercing of Jesus Christ on his side while he is on the cross. Longinus is the one eyed Roman soldier who put the fifth holy wounds of Jesus Christ by piercing him the blood flow and spurted unto his eyes and made him experience the miraculous power of Jesus Christ. The blood that spurted from Jesus Christ touches his blind eye and restored his sight. It is said that after the Crucifixion he converted to Christianity.
Though this is the finale of the “Via Crucis” during the night there is another highlight of the Moriones called “Pugutan”. This is where Longinus will be brought to his demise after converting to Christianity. The higher Roman authorities told him to be arrested for his act which leads to his death through “Pugutan”.
This festival is not just for a show it is to remind us how God loves us that he gave his Son to save us from our sins. One word should suffice to summarize God’s message for me, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the only word through which God has responded to evil in the world. I was asked once why do Catholics makes the sign of the cross? Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied with so much love, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is LOVE, MERCY, and FORGIVENESS. This is how he judge us, he sacrifice his own son to show us how he loves us.
Witnessing this festival is one of the Happy moments I will forever cherish.
After marveling our eyes with the colors of the festival we set to eat with our happiness meter filled. First stop, Kusina sa Plaza. This is where we find Lheng waiting for us. Instead of ordering something for lunch Lheng already ordered pizza and give us some. I forgot to mention that while we are on the street of Boac following the Via Crucis my lakwatsa buddy Dean found his college friend from Bukidnon named Eugine “Uyog” he’s now working in Marinduque for a few months already he told us.While we are eating pizza we remembered him and Dean give him a call asking if he would want to have lunch with us, in which he immediately replied Yes.
We waited for Uyog in Kusina sa Plaza but since we’re done with the pizza we decided to stroll around and walk to the “Tiangge” near the Moriones Arena where we bought some souvenir shirt.
Kusina sa Plaza is located at the heart of Boac specifically at Mercado Street. You’ll not miss it once you visited Boac, it is widely known to the locals together with the Good Chow Restaurant located beside Kusina sa Plaza. On the second floor of Kusina sa Plaza you’ll find another good place to eat named Casa de Don Emilio. Here you will need a reservation so our budget friendly travel does not include Casa de Don Emilio.
According to “Uyog”, there’s a restaurant that serves good food yet budget friendly just right below Boac Cathedral. It is called the “Cafe Ma’Mita Restaurant“. It is to be found at the Boac Hotel building, Brgy. San Miguel, Boac. He lead the way and took us to the place. The restaurant serve a smorgasbord of seafood, meat and drinks. I ordered Grilled Tanigue to suffice my cravings for seafood. After eating we stayed a bit and enjoy more of Uyog’s stories. This guy can tell stories, he’ll make you laugh until your stomach hurts. He also paid our lunch (bravo).
We head back to Mercado Street where the Marinduque Museum is also located. But instead of going inside the museum we stayed at the plaza and hear more of Uyog’s funny stories until we starve again. After hours of laughing we decided to eat at Good Chow, ordered the Premium super thin Pizza and it was worth it. One of the yummiest thin pizza I’ve had since… ever. A must try!
Evening comes, the procession started, we are sitting at Good Chow, tired and full so instead of joining the procession we just waited for it to pass by at Casa de Don Emilio. I don’t have good photos during the night so I decided not to post it. The procession is just like any other procession of religious statues with lights all over it. Happy as we are we ended the evening with resolute heart. Thanks Lheng!
You don’t need one if you are to visit on Good Friday or see our simple itinerary at the top.
Where to Eat in Boac
- Kusina sa Plaza, Mercader Street says google map but it is Mercado Street
- Good Chow Restaurant, Mercader Street says google map but it is Mercado Street
- Casa de Don Emilio, Mercader Street says google map but it is Mercado Street
- Cafe Ma’Mita Restaurant, Governor D. Reyes Street
- La Concha, Moderno Street corner del Mundo Street
- BFC (Boac Fried Chicken), Del Mundo Street
These are all walking distance from Boac Town Plaza
Where to Stay
Boac Hotel, Lardizabal Street corner Gov. D. Reyes Street
Address: Deogracias Street cor. Gov. D. Reyes Street
Room Rates: starts at P1000 fan room
For Reservation: 0915 486 7337
Address: along Magsaysay Road in front of wet market
Room Rates: P900 aircon room good for 4 pax
Tahanan sa Isok
Address: Along Magsaysay Road take Canonas Street
Room rates: starts at P1000 or visit their website for more info
For Reservation: (042) 332-1231
Website: Tahanan sa Isok
Address: along Magsaysay Road in front of wet market
Room Rates: Starts at P300 for non-AC, no TV
For Reservation: Contact Mrs. Cristy Del Mundo, Owner – 09195248440
I will update this portion or better yet make an entry of the places to Stay in Marinduque soon.