SLIDESHOW: Senakulo in Cainta

Text and Photos by Jonathan Cellona for

Posted at Apr 20 2014 01:17 AM | Updated as of Apr 26 2014 02:35 AM

Devotees in the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, observe unique traditions in the practice their faith. At no time is this more fervent, and thus display the most peculiar of its forms, than during Holy Week. In many towns across the country, the Senakulo or passion play depicting the last few days in the life of Jesus Christ, takes center stage.

In Cainta, a provincial suburb east of Manila, the Senakulo starts as early as Monday and lasts until Easter Sunday. It is organized, managed, and acted by the townsfolk themselves. The tradition is passed on from one generation to another.

The townsfolk treat the whole activity seriously starting from choosing the right person for the part. Those chosen take their roles to heart. Professional make-up artists are hired to make them look like their character as close as possible. The realistic costumes enhance the whole experience of the play.

The highlight of the whole Senakulo is on Good Friday, where the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ is played on stage in front of a mesmerized crowd.

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