Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Maleldo - Holy Week in San Fernando

April 6, 2012 - Holy Week
"Maleldo  - A Spiritual Journey, a Continuing Tradition of Faith"

This is a re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion, that has been practiced each year in the City of San Fernando, originated in 1955 with the staging of the "Via Crucis" (Way of the Cross).  Volunteers first preformed during Holy Week 57 years ago in the Barangay San Pedro Cutud.  he people had time on their hands since working during those holy days was taboo.

It was in 1962 that the barangay witnessed the first actual crucifixion during the play. (This is a shortened version of the Passion Play.) A resident of a nearby town and a quack doctor dreamt that he would become a religious leader  and a full-fledged healer.  He wanted to realize his dream so he volunteered to be crucified as a sacrifice.

 Since that year not a years has passed without an actual crucifixion taking place during the reenactment that has now been joined by many penitents as a "panata" or vow of sacrifice.

This has caught national interest and subsequently became an international tourist attraction.    On Good Friday each year, the City of San Fernando, particularly in barangay San Pedro Cutud, thousands flock to witness the world-renowned crucifixion that is re-enacted on a man made hill.
(Information taken from the pamphlet handed out at the site of the crucifixion.)

We enlisted our friend Ronnie to take us see the play and crucifixion.  As we drove to San Fernando, we saw many of the 'penitents' carrying crosses in the street.  Some have razor cuts on their back for each of their sins.  Then they take a whip type thing and swing it to hit their backs.  This sometimes splatters blood on those watching the process and even on cars driving down the street.  They also cover their faces so that they are not recognizable.

We were surprised when and it was we drove by the mall it was closed along with most all businesses . .. and they don't even close on Christmas here.

Wade had one of his old business cards in his wallet and was able to get a press pass allowing him to get up close to where the action was taking place.  He met others from the press from all over the world.  I met a couple of guys - one from the  Th Pennsylvania USA and one from Spain.  There truly were thousands of people there. 

If you get squeamish seeing blood, you may not want to look at the following pictures.  It wasn't really a spiritual experience for me, but as they were nailing the person playing Jesus Christ on the cross and raising the cross up, the song, 'Behold the Great Redeemer Died' kept going through my head;  "While guilty men his pains deride, they pieced his hands and feet and side, And with insulting scoffs and scorns, They crown his head with plaited thorns."  Seeing a visual of this event made me think of how my Savior died for me, the pain he went through and the humiliation he went through.

Be aware that some of the following pictures may be a little graphic for some 
The 'penitents' process through the streets
More 'penitents' process through the streets
These are the guys who have cuts are on their backs and then walk along whipping themselves
People watching the procession past their homes - they are also selling items to those who pass by.
Here you can see how the whipping makes the cuts on their backs bleed.
The military was there to make sure things didn't get out of hand
My new hat to help keep the hot sun off of me!

Elder Jewkes getting his 'press' pass
Elder Jewkes with his press pass and camera!
Elder Jewkes & Ronnie . . . our friend and guide for the day!

The 3 crosses on the man made 'Golgotha"
Some of the spectators

Spectators from the press venue

Spectators where  Ronnie and I watched the 'play' -  lots of people!

Some of the 'penitents' making their way up the hill to the crosses

Bowing at the crosses . . . they feel this is a way to be repentant of their sins

This is one of the actors who will be nailed to the cross later in the day. He is showing the crowd the nails that will be used that ar being soaked in alcohol.
Going before Pilate for the sentence
The person playing the part of Jesus Christ (laying on the ground) being kicked and scourged

Getting ready to be crucified
Hammering the nails in his hands . . . see the expression on his face

Raising the cross
You can actually see the nails in his hands
The three hanging on the crosses.  The two on the sides are tied to the cross with straps.  The person portraying Christ only hangs for about 10 minutes and is then taken down.  There are sever others who are crucified as the afternoon goes on. 
Elder Jewkes had been in the press area where there was no shade and he didn't have any water with him.  He came down and met Ronnie and I and was having a slight heat stroke.  We helped him to this area and started pouring water on his head and getting him water (and coke) to drink.  (I had already drank 3-4 bottles of water by this time myself - it was HOT!)  The man standing is an investigator that had met us at church who came over to help.
Wade stating to feel a little better and cooling off!

The crowds in the street as we walked back to get our car.
These are some of those who are still making their way to site of the crucifixion
This little lady was peering out her door at the processions as they went by
You can see the splattered blood on our car before Jose washed it.  This happens as you drive by the processions in the streets

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Green Hills Mall . . . .

March 30, 2012

I had a follow up doctor appointment in Manila for my eye surgery.  The Fleming's were free for a few hours so we all went to the Green Hills Mall in Quezon City before heading home..
Green Hills Mall
One of the other senior couples had served a previous mission in Quezon City and had told us about this mall.  This was an experience.  I had heard that pearls were inexpensive . . . that was true.  Elder Jewkes found rows of shoes . . .he was in heaven!
Rows and rows of pearls!!!  I was in Heaven!!
He was a really nice painting of the last supper, but it had Christ with Filipino children instead of his disciples. (I can't get it to turn right so i didn't post it.)
Loved this painting. . . so typical of the Filipinos working in the rice fields!
Elder Jewkes and Sister Fleming looking at the shoes . . .
Rows of Shoes . . .Elder Jewkes was in heaven!!
At the Quezon City St. Luke's Hospital they have a  man who plays a grand piano in the lobby all day.  He doesn't read music but can play most anything requested . . .
Elder Fleming and the "Piano" man

ZLC/DLC ~ New Mission Home . . .

March 27, 2012

We attended the Zone Leader and Distinct Leader Council meeting in Cabanataun.  We were invited to ride to the meeting with the mission President.  It is always a spiritual up lift to meet with the missionaries.  In this council, the missionaries discuss the goals that they set for their zones and districts.  They also tell how those goals will help in meeting the mission goals (or key indicators). 
Elder Jewkes & Elder Cohen chatting after the meeting
On the way home, we drove past the new mission home that is being built in Santa Lucita, close to Tarlac where the new mission office will be.  This move will not take place until the the end of this year after we return home.  To get to Santa Lucita from the north side of the mission, you can not take the expressway . .  there is not an exit for Santa Lucita going south!  (There is one if you are going north on the expressway.)  So the president has found a way to get there . . . taking a dirt road through the sugar can fields. 
Dirt road through the sugar cane fields
More of the dirt road through the cane fields
Back on the paved road to Santa Lucita
The new mission home is on  golf course, but the area only has two or three other homes there.  The new mission home will be beautiful and bigger than the current one.  The mission office will be in the Tarlac Stake Center which is about a 30 minute drive. 
Front view of the new mission home under construction
The front yard of the house looking towards the construction workers home away from home.

Construction workers 'camp'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Couples Rescue Efforts . . . In Pictures . . . Day 2 . . .

Saturday March 2, 2012 ~ Day 2  
What a wonderful two days!!!  Thank you to the Bowcutts for arranging this event for all of us!
Elder Bowcutt in front of the cottage the President stayed in.
President Martino and Elder Roberts cooking breakfast in the cottage

Patti, Elder Jewkes and Elder Bowcutt enjoying breakfast

Patti waiting to pack the care to start another day of visiting
Sister Martino, Patti and Sister Jewkes
Elder & Sister Jewkes
Mango tree in blossom
President and Sister Martino with members in Gabaldon
Mother and daughter members

Family on their motorcycle

President Martino talking to a man who makes wooden beds
The mechanics working on a jeepney
President Martino and Sister Garcia talking to this sister about setting a goal to go to the temple with her family
Sister Martino with a father and his daughter
Patti with this shy little boy

A less-active mother and her son

President Martino talking to this young man about being baptized

Elder Jewkes was getting tired

Sister Bowcutt on the ground with this sweet little girl who was picking up the green mangos

Sister Martino Talking to another little girl

Elder Jewkes visiting with a little girl

Before we went to Bugnan, Sister Garcia showed us all how to eat Balut.
The egg with the chicken in side is hard boiled.  She picked the top of the shell and suck the juice out of it first
She continued to pull the shell away and eat the inside

She said that it tasted like chicken with egg . . . I couldn't watch her eat it!!
President's reaction to the Balut

Off to the river to cross to Bugnon . . . 
A family taking their gathered fire wood home from the river
Sister Roberts' umbrella died!
President & Sister Martino and Elder Bowcutt with their umbrellas.  We knew we would need them for this trip. They helped to shade us from the hot sun!

Elder Roberts and Elder Jewkes walking to the rafts

A man pulling a raft to the river bank

The rafts are the transportation from one side of the river to the other.  During typhoon season a raft is the only way to get across the river. 
A young boy pulls the raft across the river ~ the river is not high at this time of year.  And yes, the boy does not have clothes on!

Wade enjoying the ride across the river

Sister Roberts takes a trike up the road to the village

Jeepneys are another form of transportation in the village
Patti and I rode a trike from the river ~ my first trike ride  here in the Philippines

Sister Roberts, Sister Garcia and Elder Roberts waiting for everyone in the shade
Community comfort room (out house)

Young boys playing in front of a home in Bugnon
President & Sister Martino with a less-active sister

Marivie, member, Sister Garcia, Sister Roberts, Elder Bowcutt and Elder Roberts

The home of the sister we were visiting.

President & Sister Martino with a member and her daughter

Sisters Garcia, Bowcutt and Martino with their new hats

President and Sister Martino

The senior couples arriving at the Grospe home for lunch

Sister Grospe cooked lunch for us.  It was delicious and authentic Filipino Food!
Sister Grospe putting more food on the table.

Sister Grospe meeting President & Sister Martino

Enjoying lunch  Patti, Sisters Bowcutt, Roberts, Gropse, Martino and Marivie

An electric fan given to the Grospe family from the Angeles Mission.   I'm not sure how long they have owned it ~ but it works!

Resting before our member devotional at the Gropse home
President Martino, Elder Roberts, Elder Bowcutt & Elder Jewkes.  Notice that this home has a dirt floor.  Looking towards where the picture window will someday be.
Rudy Grospe and President Martino

Patti and Marivie became fast friends!

Another home in Bugnon

Another home
Doorway into another home
The power meters

Going to the member devotional

This is how the men dress when they are working outside.  This man is raking the rice while it dries on the cement.  This is actually a basketball court,
Sister Martino getting a power nap while waiting for the member devotional to start.

President Martino introducing the movie "Only a Stonecutter" which was shown at the member devotional.  He was talking to the members about sacrificing to come to church.  It is very expensive for these people to cross the river and then get a ride to the church ~ about 6+ miles.

Sister Grospe with an less-active sister
All of the senior couples (in back) with all of the members that attended the afternoon devotional
 Elder Roberts with a couple of kids watching the movie.  He loves the kids!!

Patti with two of members at the devotional.
We visited this sister earlier in the day.  She brought each of us a shell necklace that she made for us.  What a special gift of love!
Patti with this special sister
Sister Roberts with her necklace
Sister Bowcutt and this sweet sister

Sister Martino with her necklace and the lady who made it
Sister Jewkes with the Grospes

The members all walked back to the river with us to say goodbye.
Patti with Rudy Grospe ~ he carries his bike across the river and then rides it to church each week.
Boarding the raft to go bak to our cars on the other side of the river
Waving goodbye to our new friends

As we crossed the river we waved and called back "Hurrah for Israel"

Patti, Elder & Sister Jewkes riding back across the river

This picture was sent to Patti by one of the members ~ taken by the members as we were pulled back across the river.