SAMAL, Bataan: As in every Lenten Season, “Kalbaryo” once again comes alive starting Holy Monday in Bataan province, particularly in the towns of Orani, Samal and Abucay.
The kalbaryo, or a replica of Mount Calvary where the Lord Jesus was crucified and died, are of various designs and sizes. Big or small or whatever design it was crafted, the message is clear – that of the sacrifices of Jesus on the Cross.
Most are made of materials common in the area like bamboo, coconut leaves and other recycled items.
There are usually one or more kalbaryos in almost every village of the three towns.
In the village of Mabatang, Abucay and in Barangay Calaguiman, Samal, 14 kalbaryos serve as 14 Stations of the Cross where participants in the Cenakulo play their part in the street drama performed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Reciting of the Pasyon or Passion of Christ is chanted by a group of devotees or is played through canned music from Holy Monday until before the procession on Good Friday.
On Holy Thursday, penitents called manggagapang lay flat for some minutes on their stomach with both hands stretched on the hot pavement in front of the kalbaryo. Little children following him whip him on the body with banana stalks.
On Good Friday, flagellants called mandurugo strike their bloodied backs with whips studded with broken bottles or razor. The mandurugo kneel for a few minutes before the kalbaryo.
These forms of sacrifices are done in every kalbaryo that the penitents pass by through their journey from town to town which ends by a river or stream where they will have a cleansing ceremony.
Commonly, both are bare from the waist up with small ropes artistically tied around their long pants up to their neck. In the olden times penitents cover their faces with black cloth but many flagellants recently prefer to show their identity.
Another type of penitent is one who carries an oversized wooden crosses on his back during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
In every kalbaryo, refreshments are served free to the penitents and their assistants by some residents who do this as a form of caridad (charity).