Thursday, March 24, 2016
Senakulo | a Lenten Tradition in Marinduque
Senakulo is one of the highlights of the observance of Holy Week in the Philippines. It is a Passion Play that re-enacts the passion of Jesus Christ in a theatrical setting and performed by members of the community. This tradition is well observed in the provinces such as the town of Boac, the capital of the province of Marinduque.
The Senakulo in Boac is held at the Moriones Arena in the evening of Maundy Thursday. It usually starts after dinnertime and is attended by families and residents of the town. People from neighboring towns also travel to Boac to witness the Senakulo. Entrance is free.
Tourists visiting Boac for the annual Moriones Festival also get to witness this Passion Play. Unfortunately, this Roman Catholic tradition is now slowly fading in bigger and urbanized cities around the Philippines.
In the 80's, I used to watch Senakulo with my parents in our barangay, but this tradition has long been gone in cities. There might be Passion Plays held in indoor, air-conditioned theaters, but that can't replace the experience of watching the Senakulo in an open-air setting.
Witnessing a Senakulo again after so many years was a really uplifting experience for me. I am impressed by the amount of work exerted by the community to set up the open-air stage, the costumes and props to make this Senakulo possible.
Most of all, I admire the members of the local community who helped in the production and took part in the Senakulo as actors, volunteering their time and talent in order to keep this Lenten tradition alive.
It is one of the best manifestation of the religiousness of Filipinos, and I hope that Marinduqueños will continue to practice the Senakulo tradition so that future generations of Filipinos can witness it.
If you wish to visit Marinduque for the Moriones Festival, we encourage you to be in Boac as early as Holy Wednesday or Maundy Thursday so you too can also experience the Senakulo.