The Holy Week for us, Filipino Catholics, is a huge event. Traditions of our prayers and beliefs come alive in the preparation of our commemoration of Jesus Christ - not on how he died actually, but how he lived.
Lenten Season starts on Ash Wednesday, you'll see people with a cross drawn on their foreheads and praying fervently in chapels and churches.
During this 40-day period of the Season of Lent, we also do fasting and abstinence - not only in the form of food by tradition, like avoiding meat, eggs and dairy products, but also perhaps the bad habits of people nowadays.
Holy Week - the last week of Lent, starts on Palm Sunday wherein we wave out weaved coconut leaves decorated with flowers or ribbons, or commonly known as Palaspas.
Maundy Thursday was very interesting for me, a lot of people walking in groups, and no one's taking a bus or jeep like some kind of a strike is actually a pilgrimage - a very long and spiritual journey of those who will visit churches as part of their Visita Iglesia.
Even though I came from a Catholic school, and I remembered all of this, including our mandatory alay-lakad to Antipolo church before, I thought it was only part of a religious course so that we can pass the test. I never knew it can be so interesting and worthwhile for me. And even if you're not a devoted pilgrim, you can see that a lot of people are doing it for a change or perhaps wishes, and mostly for them to enjoy it with their friends, family and loved ones.
There's also the Good Friday - the 3PM silence - it's the first time that the streets of Manila doesn't have kids playing around or music blaring from their stereos. Afterwards, a Procession will take place wherein a lot of people with their candles, rosaries and prayer books while carrying Jesus Christ.
I also witnessed the Salubong Procession awhile ago, wherein Mama Mary and Jesus Christ will meet again. The crowd was thicker than before, and this time, it was quite a celebration of drums and music rather than silence.
I don't know if you can call it a 'moving' or 'life-changing' experience for me, but for now, I have faith - and not because I chose it when I need it - it's because I know that He's there for us, no matter what, and for whoever we are right now. :)
All photos shot by me, more can be found at http://sanctus.multiply.com/