Palm Sunday, is a quite dynamic day with thousands people moving to and fro with blessed palms in their hands. Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Friday (Good Friday) and Saturday (Black Saturday) instead are days were souls should not go around. In these days towns are abnormally less crowed while churches are filled to capacity. Holy Week in the Philippines is “visita iglesia” or collecting visits to various churches. A good number of businesses are closed. Of course these are days different from the noisy fiestas (almost every city, town, village and locality in the Philippines has its own festival) where people celebrate the local patron or saint with processions, colorful parades, street dances and every one is more cheerful then never. These are regarded as somber days. So, no parades or fiestas. In the past if you held a feast in your community or in your house, during these days, you would be measured in a very bad manner, because as a Christian you were expected to concentrate only on the events that brought Jesus to the Cross. When we first moved here, 40 years ago, even the TV and radio stations went off of the air, some for the entire Holy Week! Gasoline stations and cinemas were closed. Everything was shut down from Thursday afternoon until morning of Easter Sunday. It was strange not to see young people playing basketball considering that Holy Week is also part of the summer vacation. The only song that you would listen (outside the church) was the ‘Pabasa ng Pasyon” .
But things are changing. Today the big air-conditioned Malls (where, however, holy masses will be celebrated each day of the Holy Week, except in Good Friday) are open for those who happen to be there and more and more people are moving around with their cars or motorcycles looking for places like parks, beaches, resorts, picnic areas, playgrounds or, yes, Malls, where to spend hours in relax. Strangely enough when Easter Sunday will arrive all seem to fall back to the ordinary way of living as nothing had happened and, somber no more, on the same day of the Resurrection television programs will resume their reality TV games, wealthy only of trash.