Even those running for national positions in the May elections are taking a break for Holy Week.
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Jejomar Binay will be on the mystic Mt. Banahaw in Quezon province where he will reflect and meditate before returning to rigid campaigning.
According to Joey Salgado, UNA’s campaign communications director and one of Binay’s spokesmen, the Vice President usually treks up the “holy” mountain every Maundy Thursday.
“He has been doing this even before becoming vice president. He visas various pests, lights candles and says prayers,” Salgado told The Manila Times.
Banahaw is a traditional pilgrimage site for many Filipinos and is believed to be a “Holy mountain”, it being a spiritually-charged location.
The mountain and its environs are considered sacred by local residents; the water from its sacred springs are also deemed “holy” for supposedly having beneficial qualities.
Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Duterte will be keeping his yearly ritual of praying, reflecting, and spending time with his family during Holy Week, said his spokesman, Peter Laviña.
“Like most Filipinos, he [Duterte] will spend it privately, rest, prayers and reflections,” Pete Laviña told The Manila Times in a text message.
“He [Duterte] said in jest, magpapako sya sa krus [he will be nailed to the cross].What he meant was to embrace and embody the sufferings of Jesus Christ because this is the same sufferings of many of our people. They are persecuted, neglected, marginalized, lost,” he said.
Similarly, vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will spend Holy Week with his family. He said he is excited because his two sons who are studying in London are coming home.
Marcos said the Holy Week is a good break after six weeks of sorties and bringing his Unity campaign in every nook and corner of the country.
“Just by in incidence two of my sons coming this Thursday and Friday. We will stay together in Manila. We used to be either in Ilocos or in Baguio, but now I am excited to experience traffic-less Manila,” Marcos told reporters.
Two of his children, Joseph Simon, 21, and William Vincent, 19, are now in college in separate schools in London. The senator himself is a product of schools in England.
Marcos is married to Louise Cancho Araneta, a lawyer.
Their eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander, also known as Sandro, 22, is in the country and sometimes pitches in as speaker every time the senator is not available. He works in the Senate office of his father.
Marcos has almost covered the entire Luzon after six weeks of campaigning. He had been in Mindanao and Cebu.
Immediately after Holy Week, he will bring his Unity team to Bulacan, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
A staunch Catholic, Marcos spends a few minutes saying a short prayer inside the church of a city or town he visits like Manaoag Shrine in Pangasinan and the shrine of Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan.
In his Holy Week message, he exhorted Filipinos to reflect.
“Let us celebrate the Holy Week in the spirit of forgiveness, love of family and our fellowmen and unity towards the greater good. May all of us revisit and find meaning in our Lord’s sacrifice and make it our anchor for our own trials and sufferings with the hope that in the end there is joy, resurrection and salvation for each one of us,” Marcos said.
The tandem of Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero will also be taking a break from campaign activities to spend time with their respective families.
According to Poe, she plans to go on a visita iglesia with her family and spend more time reflecting and praying.
Visita iglesia is a Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches and pray the Stations of the Cross. It is done during Maundy Thursday.
Poe said there are a lot of things she wanted to pray for, including the opportunity to serve and help uplift the living condition of the people, particularly the poor, in accordance to what God wants.